A Quick Guide to Facebook Stories

Facebook Stories are a great opportunity for brands to get in front of their audiences with engaging content and offers. But to make stories work for you, as with everything in marketing you need to create a strategy. One that includes specific goals, what metrics to track and a realistic posting strategy to ensure you can consistently produce creative and personalised content that helps keep your brand top-of-mind.


What are Facebook Stories?

Facebook Stories is a multipurpose content sharing feature allowing users to share photos, videos, animations, polls, text posts and music. Stories have a 24-hour expiration date and are similar to Instagram Stories. For example, like Instagram, comments don’t show in a feed, instead, they are sent directly to Facebook Messenger for brands to respond.


Why Your Business Should Be Using Facebook Stories

One of the reasons why Facebook Stories get so much attention is due to how easy they are to find. Located at the top of a user’s feed, they are on prime real estate. As the first thing your audience sees, you can position your brand directly in front of hungry fans and customers.


Developing a Facebook Stories Strategy

Your stories need to be a part of your social media marketing campaign, and like all campaigns, you need to have a strategy. Here are a few tips for developing your Facebook Stories strategy using the SMART method.

  • Set Clear and Specific Goals

Know what you want to accomplish and make sure your goals are directly related to the most important goal in your business e.g. revenue generation or brand awareness etc.

  • Use Relevant Measurables

Identify the metrics you’ll track and make sure they are relevant and directly related to your bottom-line. For example, if you want to increase sales using video, focus on conversions and not how many comments a video receives.

  • Establish Attainable Deliverables

Ensure you have access to all the resources to help you accomplish your goals. For example, do you know who will be creating your posts? How often will you produce the content?

  • Set Realistic Growth Goals

Focus on smart goals that are based on data. For example, if you know that Boomerang videos stories with call to action buttons generate more clicks than text-based stories, establish exactly what your conversion rate is and experiment to increase it.

  • Develop Time-Specific Campaigns

Determine when you will end your campaign and gather all results to see how effective your efforts were. It’s worth noting that it will take time to get the momentum going so you will need to create content regularly to generate results you can measure.


Facebook Stories Content Options

Users are given five content options. You might not use them all and with time and experimentation you’ll find out which types you prefer using that allow you to create a collection of engaging and useful content for your audience.

Here are the 5 Facebook Stories content options available:

  • Text: Allows you to create a text story by combining text on a background colour of your choice.
  • Selfies: The option to post a selfie along with a filter.
  • Boomerang: All you need do is point and shoot and it does the rest to turn your content into a GIF-like animation.
  • Polls: Polls are a great way for brands to gather feedback related to your brand, products or services.
  • Music: Allows you to search through an extensive list of songs. You’ll be able to find music for anything from a party to something to play along with your story on pets.

How to Create Your First Facebook Story

Creating your Facebook Story may seem a little daunting, but once you’ve got to grips with the features and had a little practice, you will be a master in no time!  Here’s a breakdown of the features and functionality you should be aware of before you take to creating your first story:

  • Gallery Access: Here, you’re able to tap on the gallery icon and get access to all images saved on your phone.
  • Lighting Options: Lighting, along with sound, are the two most important elements when producing great video. Facebook Stories uses a Lightning Bolt to help users pick the right lighting. This indicates whether your flash is on or off.
  • Image and Video Filters: Facebook introduced filters to give users the ability to create an image or video with a certain kind of look and feel. Facebook’s 4 filter options are: No filter, Warm, Glow and Cold.
  • Stickers: A widely used feature, once you’ve taken a picture or recorded a video, you’re able to add a sticker to it. Stickers are also available for use as calls to action.
  • Text:  Facebook Stories includes a text option along with the ability to pick a size, choose a colour, and select a font type. Perfect if you want to add a catchphrase, heading or annotate an image.
  • Freehand Drawing Tool: With this tool you have the option of controlling the thickness of the paintbrush and access to a wide variety of colours.
  • Effects: A collection of skins that you can apply to both images and video stories.
  • Face Filters: Face filters are fun to play with and grab attention.
  • Use Front and/or Rear Camera: A unique feature to Facebook Stories is the ability to switch between front and rear cameras while recording.

When you share a photo or video to your story, it will be available to your selected audience for 24 hours. You can revisit your stories in your story archive.

To share to your story:

  • Go to the Stories section at the top of your News Feed.
  • Click + Add to Story.
  • Type an update or click Photo/Video to add a photo or video from your computer.
  • Next to Your Story, you can click the audience selector (example: Public or Friends) to choose who can see your story.
  • Click Post.

Facebook Stories Analytics

Facebook Stories success can be tracked in two ways:

  • Individual stories: Locate an active story and tap the eye icon in the bottom left-hand corner to see a list of people who have viewed your story.
  • Facebook Stories Insights: Available via desktop, locate your page and click on Insights at the top. In the left column, click Stories and then click “Turn On.”

Access to your Insights will show you a wealth of information such as:

  • Story Items: A thumbnail of what your Page’s story looks like.
  • Unique Story Opens: The number of people who opened your Page’s story.
  • Forward Taps: The number of times someone taps to skip to the next piece of your story.
  • Backward Taps: The number of times someone taps to go back to a previous piece of your story.
  • Forward Swipes: The number of times someone swipes to skip to the next account’s story.
  • Exits: The number of times someone leaves the stories viewer to return to their News Feed.

Quick Content Ideas for Facebook Stories

Facebook Stories are generally easy to create and low budget, here are a selection of content ideas to get you started. As a top tip, to create interesting content, create a storyboard and plan your stories. This should include letting people in your team or company know that you want to record content. Also, consider doing a series of trial runs before posting content. The more you shoot, the easier it will become to generate more content.

  • New Product or Service Launch New product or service launches are a great way to attract customers. When you create yours try to include an offer that customer can capitalize on. 
  • Behind-the-Scenes Footage Its humanising and endearing to show the people behind the scenes in your business, especially when it’s interesting content.
  • Holiday Messages Harness the great opportunity in capitalising on holidays. Don’t just wish people well, take the opportunity to give them a seasonal offer they can’t say no to.
  • Special Events If your business is hosting a special event, make sure you produce content from the event the entire day.
  • Customer Praise Generate social proof by pulling the strong and impactful statements out of your testimonials and customer praise. Try screenshotting the post from a customer then adding your own text and a sticker to personalise and share it with your audience.
  • Competitions Competitions are always a crowd magnet. Make sure you plan ahead and spread the word about your competition before it goes live to keep people excited about it and focus their attention on your brand.
  • New (and Different) Ways to Use Your Product Some of the most useful content comes in the form of how-to videos. Storyboard your ideas to ensure that you present cohesive ideas and address challenges and questions your customers may have. Importantly, ensure that you focus on providing simple and easy-to-understand instructions in a pleasant tone.

Are you wondering about using Facebook Stories for your business? Or have you started using Stories already? Let me know how you are getting on in the comments!

How to Make Your Social Media Presence More Accessible

Little changes equal a big difference in making your social media more accessible for people who are blind and partially sighted. The changes you make don’t need to be drastic, most blind and partially sighted people are likely to have their own ways (such as magnification software or Braille displays) of making social media accessible. So, these tips are really about making a few small changes so that your posts can reach and be enjoyed by everyone.


Add Image Descriptions

Putting alternative text (alt text) on your images describes photos for people who are blind or partially sighted is very important as it allows them to build up a mental picture of what someone who is sighted is seeing. You do not need to describe every single detail of the image; a voiceover reads out your description so you certainly wouldn’t want to create a 1000-word one that’s full of irrelevant information. Just pick out a few key details that accurately but succinctly paint the picture.

How to add image descriptions on different social media platforms:

Facebook:  With Facebook, you need to include a description in the text of your post. Write your post first and then tag the alt text onto the end of the post. It’s common to put your image description in brackets to separate it from the rest of the post.

Instagram: When adding a caption to your image, click on “Advanced settings” and then select “Accessibility”. You’ll then have the option to “Write alt text”.

Twitter:  With Twitter, you can add a separate image description to an image. To do this you will need to activate the ‘Image Descriptions’ feature, which you can find in “Twitter Settings”, under the “Accessibility” tab. You’ll then actually be prompted each time you upload an image to “describe this image”.

It’s worth nothing that Facebook and Instagram have introduced automatic alt-text, a feature that uses artificial intelligence to recognise objects within images and create a description for the image.  There are two things to note on these platforms:

  • Auto-generated alt-text cannot be turned off. Every image you upload will have auto-generated alt-text, making it extremely important that you check the accuracy of the alt-text and edit accordingly. Because of this, you don’t add alt-text on Facebook, you edit the auto-generated alt-text.
  • You can only edit alt-text on a desktop computer or iOS device.

Use CamelCase in Hashtags

Whenever you’re using hashtags, always use CamelCase (capitalise the first letter of every word). Not only does this make it easier for every user to differentiate words, it also assists screen readers in reading the hashtag for those with visual or reading disabilities. For example, #WriteYourHashtagsLikeThis instead of #WRITINGYOURHASHTAGSLIKETHIS or #likethis.


Don’t Go Emoji-Crazy

A screen reader software reads out a description for every single emoji which is used, so be careful with the amount of emojis you include. For example, if someone puts four heart emojis, the software will read out “heart heart heart heart” this wouldn’t be very pleasant to keep hearing, not to mention it would be very annoying if a post was flooded with emojis!


Videos: Do you Audio-Describe or Not?

Videos don’t need to be audio-described, as long as they are audio-led. This means that the audio must be as important as what’s on screen – the video should send the same message, both audibly and visually. If it doesn’t, try to add a description of what happens in the video as part of the caption. To make them fully accessible, videos should have subtitles where possible. There are lots of apps available which make adding subtitles to your videos easy such as Camtasia.


Remember That Disability Representation Matters

Represent people with all kinds of levels of ability, including temporary disabilities like injury or limitations. This applies to all the content you share — photos, videos, written. If you’re a looking for an image, consider using a photo or artwork that includes disabled people. If you can, hire disabled photographers and artists who can best portray what it means to have a disability.


Create Trigger Warnings

With so much violence/upsetting content shared on social media, trigger warnings allow individuals to decide whether they want to interact with posts that could cause emotional or physical distress. Use the word “TRIGGER WARNING” followed by a space before your post, will tell an individual if there will be sensitive topics addressed in the content. You never know the history of others who are reading your posts, and so you might consider warning for things like assault, violence, blood, or any number of other sensitive topics.

Powerful Call to Action Phrases You NEED to Use in Your Social Media Content!

Having thousands Facebook Likes or Instagram followers is great, but it doesn’t mean anything if those followers never take any action. Whether it’s a tweet, blog title or text in your ad, every word you share in an update needs to inspire people to do something beyond just reading it. Words are very powerful and for social media to be a successful addition to your marketing strategy you must learn how to right copy that converts!

What Does a Call to Action Mean?

A call-to-action (CTA) is an image or text that prompts your visitors, leads, and customers to take action. It might be signing up for your email list, buying a product, investing in a service, or following you on social media.

Call-to-Action Statistics

  • Almost 90 percent of website visitors read headlines and CTA copy. Many of them don’t read anything else.
  • Full-screen CTAs, such as exit popups you create through Hello Bar, perform better than any other position for CTAs (up to 25 percent conversion rate).
  • Color can make a huge difference in whether or not people click on CTAs.
  • More than 90% of visitors who read your headline also read your CTA copy. (Unbounce)
  • Emails with a single call-to-action increased clicks 371% and sales 1617%. (WordStream)
  • Adding CTAs to your Facebook page can increase click-through rate by 285%. (AdRoll)
  • By forcing visitors to watch an informational video on their services before presenting a CTA, Kimberly Snyder increased conversions by 144%. (QuickSprout)
  • For KISSmetrics, a CTA within a video gets 380% more clicks than their normal sidebar CTAs. (QuickSprout)

CTA Phrases to Persuade

If your intent is to persuade people to choose your product/service, here are several phrases to try incorporating into your call to action:

  • “Try it free now” or “Start your free trial now” Everyone loves a freebie. This CTA is good because instead of straight up asking a prospect to hand over money for your product/service, you’re offering a free ‘test drive.’
  • “Join now and get…” Here you’re simply asking your audience to reply to your message to get something of value in return. It could be an e-book, a free sample, or a template, just make sure it’s relevant to your audience.
  • “Start now to get…” or “Your Journey to X Starts here” or “Start now” infers to your prospect that they are about to begin an exciting process — with the rest of the CTA telling the user how he or she will benefit.
  • “Talk to an expert now” This is a great CTA to use for an online chat opportunity or when you want the prospect to call. Telling your prospect that you are a team of experts, will automatically make them feel safer in your hands.
  • “Learn more about us at…” Prospects at the top of the sales funnel are collecting information, learning about brands and your industry without knowing exactly what they want yet. Using a CTA that invites people to learn more about your business can be extremely effective at building brand awareness. When prospects decide they’re ready to buy, they’ll have your business name at the top of their mind.
  • “Please don’t hesitate to call us” Let your customers know you don’t mind talking to them over the phone. These types of CTA’s belong on every page of your site.
  • “Order now and receive a free gift” If you can tempt prospects with a free gift, they’re more likely to buy the original product. The free gift on offer doesn’t have to be physical, it could be a discount off a future purchase or a downloadable template for example.
  • “Get yours now” A personable CTA subtly telling the consumer that you want him or her to have something valuable — something other people might want.
  • “Request your FREE quote today” Giving a free quote costs nothing but time to you, but once you have the prospect communicating with you it may just turn to a sale!
  • “Click here to get free shipping” Use this popular CTA to overcome one of the chief barriers to buying products online – shipping costs!
  • “Money-Back Guarantee offer here” When you offer a money-back guarantee, consumers feel more confident trying out your product or service.
  • Activate X Today! Using a CTA like this one puts the prospect in the driver’s seat and motivates them to act. These call to actions work well if you’re offering a discount on products or a free demo of your service.

CTA Phrases to Create a Sense of Urgency

Creating a sense of urgency encourages customers to act now instead of holding off making the purchase. Here are some effective call to action phrases that you should consider using as the sooner you can get people to take action, the better!

  • “Download here immediately.” Or “Download here right now” Strong adjectives promote urgency and encourage click-throughs.
  • “Act quickly or you might lose it” Loss-aversion is a common psychological principle that is proven to work! Get the point across that if they don’t act now, they might lose something valuable.
  • “Reserve your spot now” Same principle as above! Tell your prospects that if they don’t sign up and reserve their spots, they run the risk of leaving it too late.
  • “Order now while there’s still time!” Urgency is often a key element in effective call-to-action phrases. Subtly pressure consumers into acting now rather than waiting until the opportunity passes them by.
  • “In a hurry? Call…” Call-to-action phrases like this one let the consumer know that you’re willing to respond to their needs right away. A perfect CTA to use if you offer out-of-hours or emergency services.
  • “It’s very important that you respond promptly” With this CTA you’re telling the prospect that if they don’t respond right away then they might lose out on something good.
  • “Offer expires very soon” A powerful, snappy CTA that clearly states there’s an offer on the table, but if you don’t snap it up, you’ll miss out.
  • “For a short time only” This CTA is popular during sales or clearances. It’s clearly stating that here is a chance to buy a limited-edition product, take advantage of a big discount, or get some other benefit. But only if you act now.
  • “Limited availability” a great CTA as it creates urgency and infers your product is highly popular. A win-win for you as it serves as a form of social proof as well as an incentive to act quickly.
  • “Expires at midnight tonight” It gives a definitely end point to the sale, so your prospects know they have to act quickly as the clock is ticking.

CTA Phrases to Imply Exclusivity

A very effective way to make people act is to imply exclusivity with whatever you’re offering. Try these phrases out to get people taking action and jumping at the chance to be a part of your product or service to not get left out of the group.

  • “I invite you to…” Everyone needs to feel wanted and special —foster that sense of belonging by giving the impression that you’re personally inviting your prospect to do what you want.
  • “Join X Other [Category] as Subscribers to My Email List” A great CTA for social proof. This CTA comes in many forms for example “Become one of the X people who subscribe to my emails.” Or “Join the club! Over X request my emails. You could, too!”
  • Request an invitation”
  • “Members Only”
  • “Only available to X”
  • “Pre-register/Pre-order”
  • “Exclusive access”

This is an excerpt from my book ‘The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Social Media for Small Businesses: A Comprehensive, Jargon-Free Guide to Social Media Marketing For Those Who Just Don’t ‘Get it’!’ – Available now on Amazon in Kindle or Paperback!

The Ultimate Social Media Marketing Plan for Your Health & Beauty Salon!

In today’s digitally driven world, properly utilizing social media is necessary for those who want to remain relevant and competitive—and that includes Hair and Beauty Salons. With so many opportunities for growth and relationship-building, social media, if done right, provides a unique platform for long-term marketing success.

As we all know, social media has changed the way we receive and exchange information—it’s the new word-of-mouth marketing and it’s how your prospects and clients network. Just as emerging technology changes your daily workflow, it also impacts the way you interact with prospective and existing clients. Your social presence, or lack thereof, can be critical to your businesses continuity. Today’s conversations, research and buying decisions take place online. This means social media is no longer optional as a communication channel—it’s essential.

Social media is a great way to engage with your current and potential customers, spread more awareness about your services, and create brand loyalty among customers by reinforcing what makes your salon unique. We live in an image-crazy digital world where people like to see an image rather than words. Someone looking for a new hairstyle or set of nails, would like to see a) a choice of what to choose from and b) what YOU can do. This is your chance to shine. This is your chance to promote your business in a creative and inspirational way as to attract new clients and to prove what you are capable of.

Why is social media for hair and beauty salons so important?

  • Showcase your achievements
  • Promote your team
  • Engage with individuals
  • Provide excellent customer service
  • Increase online sales and enquiries
  • Reach more potential clients
  • Stand out from the crowd

With the increasing use of social media in every industry, it’s crucial that businesses know how to connect with customers and use platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in a way that customers will enjoy and that will benefit your business.

A powerful and successful social media presence could easily be made by implementing a robust and consistent content strategy that allows you to promote your activities and business news, generate engagement and a sense of community and become an industry leader by sharing valuable, informative contributions and insights that will engage, evoke interest and provide advice to your audience.

There are many examples of rich content that could be utilized!

  • Introduction to what’s involved with each specific manicure and pedicure service.
  • Tips for choosing nails for your personality, body type, age, etc.
  • Detailed descriptions about beauty service options
  • Hand, foot, and nail maintenance tips.
  • Matching nail types to events.
  • How to discuss your nail preferences with your salon artist.
  • Strategies for interesting nails, including stencils.
  • Nail color choices or polish information.
  • Post about beauty in general including tips and tricks
  • Share customer stories of transformations with a human angle and life improvements
  • Post personal stories of the staff and show the human face of your brand
  • Before and after photos of transformations
  • New products that you use and your recommendations if any
  • Thank you images to thank customers for giving you their trust and their business
  • Contests where your followers and customers can participate to get exclusive deals or coupons
  • Upcoming events in your salon
  • Upcoming events in your local community
  • Lifestyle related photos

 Facebook

Where Facebook can really be leveraged for your Hair and Beauty Salon is within the use of its extensive potential for user engagement. With over one billion active users, it is likely that many of your clients and competitors may already be there. Facebook provides the perfect way for you to share your services, post photos of your unique nail art or create contests or giveaways to promote brand loyalty and spread awareness of your brand. It is compatible with any type of multimedia content meaning you can post videos, photos, and links to external content, allowing it to enhance and support your other online marketing efforts e.g. blog posts. In addition to this, the robust advertising options offered by Facebook are a brilliant tool to leverage to ensure content is directly seen by a highly targeted audience of your choosing.

Facebook Strategy

  • Write relevant posts that engage consumers: Write posts that customers want to respond to and will enjoy giving their opinion on. An example of this would be to ask questions like “Summer has officially begun! What will be your summer haircut of choice?” This type of conversation starter is relevant, personalized, and something that majority of salon-goers would enjoy discussing.
  • Post pictures, and lots of them: One of the best ways businesses can use Facebook is as a visual medium. Your salon should be showcasing the work that it is most proud of. Whether that be fun holiday-themed manicures or gorgeous bridal party hairstyles, pictures provide an outlet to show what you can do.
  • Treat your Facebook Page as a miniature website: When customers arrive on your Facebook page they should be able to find all of the information they may be looking for. Use the various Facebook tabs to show your salon locations, services, photos and reviews.
  • Provide Facebook Fans with exclusive deals: When Liking a business on Facebook, customers like to feel as though they’re getting something special in return. You can entice them to like you on Facebook by offering 10% off their next visit or by sharing the Page on Facebook to receive a gift with their next purchase. In addition, you can provide discounts to Facebook Fans which are only redeemable by mentioning the specific Facebook Ad.
  • Target your Ads: Use Facebook Ads to their full ability through targeting. You may want to only target people located close to your salon, or those who like related Facebook Pages.
PurposeKey Metrics
Generate Engagement

Increase Brand Awareness

Generate Leads and Sales

Strengthen Customer Service

Likes

Reach

Conversion

Engagement

Twitter

Where Twitter can really be leveraged for your Hair and Beauty Salon is within its use as a real-time public information network that gives your business greater exposure in web search results and makes it easy to build a community of potential customers who are there to discover and share interesting content. Twitter can also benefit your Hair and Beauty Salon through the use of both creating and joining in with existing Hashtags. Twitter Hashtags categorize topics and discussions so users can quickly and easily connect with businesses and individuals with a common interest. In addition they can also be used as keywords to help easily find and connect with your target audience.

Twitter Strategy

  • Use Twitter as an information source about your services: Post information about a specific service with a link to your website where customers can get more information. This is a great place to promote any training courses you offer to salons and clients.
  • Offers for Retweets: Twitter is a great platform for sharing as a simple Retweet from one of your Followers can generate you plenty of referrals. Offer incentives for Retweets such as “SNS dipping powders are formulated to build the health and strength of the natural nail. Odorless, fast-drying, and Long lasting! What colour would you choose for Summer? Receive £10 off you next visit by retweeting this post!”
  • Provide Group Deals: Salons are also a social place where people go to relax, enjoy, and feel good about themselves, so Twitter is a great way to engage with multiple people at once. An example would be to offer “Come in this weekend with 2 or more girlfriends and receive 20% off each on manicures, pedicures or a colour change just by showing this tweet!”
  • Use Twitter hashtags: Twitter is where hashtags were originally created, so use them on Twitter as well as Instagram. Insert hashtags at the end of updates, as a way to make contest posts unique or to tag a specific geographic location.
  • Share Articles on Twitter Related to your Salon: Use Twitter to share articles or interesting facts or stories in relation to your hair, nail or beauty salon. Customers who are following you on Twitter are interested in what you have to say and likely want your advice when it comes to their beauty or hair care.
PurposeKey Metrics
Increase Engagement

Establish Network

Increase Brand Awareness

Strengthen Customer Service

 

Follower Quality and Growth

Brand Mentions

Retweets, Replies and Lists

Reach

Conversion Rate

Instagram

Where Instagram can really be leveraged for your Hair and Beauty Salon is within the use as an online portfolio to help drive brand awareness and sales. By showcasing products through interesting, exclusive and high-quality imagery, you will be able to give potential customers a shopping experience that can influence purchase behaviour.

Instagram Strategy

  • Stay on trend: Use trending hashtags to draw more users to your Instagram profile and to find out about your salon. An example would be to use #happyeaster as one hashtag to gain more views while showing a picture of a holiday themed manicure and showcasing the salon’s services.
  • Use geography to your advantage: Use hashtags to point out your location. That way future customers looking for a salon nearby may stumble upon your photo and your salon.
  • Use before and after pictures to showcase your stylists’ talent: Reviews and testimonials don’t need to just be a text post when it comes to social media. Use Instagram to show results in your salon. Before and after pictures show transformation and can grab users’ attention.
  • Be fun and quirky: Instagram users tend to be young and on trend, and enjoy fun, quirky posts in addition to just product or service-related posts. Once in a while a feel good post can engage your customers and you can use specific quotes or pictures that you feel defines your brand.
  • Do exclusive Instagram contests: Hold photo contests among your Followers, such as “Post a picture of your new summer manicure with the hashtag (such as #ILoveMy[Insert Business Name]Nails!) and be entered to win your next manicure for free!” These engage customers and are easy for customers to participate in by simply uploading a picture and including the proper hashtag.
  • Provide incentives for Instagram word-of-mouth: Provide incentives for customers to upload a picture of what they had done at your salon such as “Have a new hairstyle or cut from [insert business name] that you just love? Upload it to Instagram with the hashtag #ILoveMy[business name]Hair and receive 10% off your next visit.”
PurposeKey Metrics
Increase Brand Awareness

Engagement with visual assets

Showcase products

Showcase company culture

Showcase marketing events

Link back to website, blog, and other content assets

 

Referral traffic

Shares and comments

View of photos

Page rankings on key terms from photo sharing sites

Product purchasing and lead generation

 

Monthly Must-Do Checklist to Keep Your Social Media Profiles Fresh!

In order to keep your social media platforms fresh, relevant and effective there are several monthly maintenance jobs you need to complete. By regularly monitoring your pages and making it a habit to assess your settings, competitors and other important aspects, you ensure that your social media marketing is highly effective helping you to maximise your ROI.

  • Update Your Bios and Descriptions: Are your descriptions on your platforms relevant and up to date? Ensure you regularly update your bios with and new key information, links, messages or any other important information such as a new email address or website link.
  • Update Your Logos, Cover Images, Banners and Backgrounds: Are you logos and other visual identity covers up to date and relevant? By updating your social media logo and cover images to represent the current trends, seasons and any other important info like offers, sales and promotions, you keep your pages feeling fresh for your fans and followers.
  • Organise your Followings: If you follow a lot of blogs or have a large Twitter following it is worthwhile getting organised with up to date lists that contain the content and people you want to be able to find easily. On Twitter itself you can create lists based on interests or organise the updates from important users and influencers, if you already utilise this feature then ensure it is kept up to date and organised. If you don’t use Twitter lists then it’s worthwhile that you start.
  • Assess your Competitors Pages: Regularly examining what your competitors are doing on their social media platforms can reveal a lot of useful information to help you inform your own strategy. Explore keys are such as which social media platforms they are using, How engaged their fans are, what types of content they share , which types of content draw the most engagement, are they doing anything new? And are they using any social media platforms that you aren’t?
  • Review Page Permissions and Privacy Settings: It is important for security purposes that you review who has access to your social media pages, both people and third party applications and update these permissions accordingly. Ideally if a person who knows your passwords has since left your business you should change all of your passwords immediately. As a general rule of thumb however you should look to update your passwords on a quarterly or every few months basis.
  • Explore New Options and Keep up With Trends and Developments: Every month you should look at any emerging trends and developments in your industry and social media platforms that you need to be aware of and that you can utilise. Regularly check to see if you’re missing out on any new network features that could benefit you by checking the official websites and blogs of your social media platforms. You should also be up to date on industry trends, developments and any new emerging social media platforms by regularly reading articles and following industry influencers.
  • Revisit and Assess Goals: Key to your success is meeting your social media goals and objectives so ensure you regularly take a look at your analytics across your social media platforms to ensure you are meeting all aspects of them. As time progresses you may find your strategy and goals need to change or adapt therefore it is important to regularly assess your goals and ensure they are still the ones you want to aim for.

This is an excerpt from my new book “The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Social Media for Small Businesses” out now in Paperback on Amazon! Head over there now for more of a Free preview! http://amzn.eu/2uuslrD


Instagram: Why Your Business Needs it and Top Tips for Success!

At its most basic, Instagram is a social networking app made for sharing photos and videos from a smartphone. From a marketing perspective, Instagram makes a strong business case with 800 million monthly active users. When compared among the major social networks, only Facebook and YouTube have more people logging in each month. Instagram provides a huge asset for visual content, which we all know is driving social like none other and has developed itself into a fully-fledged, global platform that allows brands to humanize their content, showcase their products, inspire their audience and promote their brand all in a friendly, authentic way without directly selling to your customers.

What’s good about Instagram?

  • One of the best attributes about Instagram is that it greatly accomplishes its original goal: fast, easy, and efficient photo-sharing. Not only this but photos shared via Instagram are reaching a huge audience, thanks to steady user adoption. People engage better with visuals rather than words. It’s widely known that photos rule when it comes to marketing as photos make an emotional connection in a way that text cannot. They make your company and brand more relatable and of course, are fun and engaging.
  • No Character And Caption Limit. While there are some limits when it comes to the bio and username, unlike some social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram does not have a character limit when it comes to the image caption. The description of every post can be as long as you want it to be.
  • Despite being one of the most popular and highly used social media platform after Facebook, the number of local businesses making use of Instagram is still very limited – which is great as it means competition is still considerably low, unlike in the case of other social platforms like Facebook.

What’s not so good about Instagram?           

  • Since Instagram is a visual tool, you need to have appealing content to share to stand any chance of success on this platform.
  • Instagram is a service that is designed to be used with mobile devices, such as tablet computers or smart phones. It has very limited functionality on desktop computers.
  • Instagram is only an iPhone and Android app. If you have a Blackberry or Linux it won’t work. That means you won’t be reaching all your target audience.

Need to Know Facts, Stats and Tips about Instagram

  • More than 800 million active monthly users
  • More than half (51%) of the platform’s active users visit the site daily
  • 35% say they check it multiple times a day.
  • 60% of Instagram users say that they have heard first about a product or a service from this social media platform.
  • 70% of Instagram users have spent time looking up a brand on the platform.
  • Instagram, brands enjoy regular engagement with 4 percent of their total followers. On networks like Facebook and Twitter, engagement is less than 0.1 percent. (source: Forrester)
  • 70% of Instagram users report having looked up a brand on the platform (source: Iconosquare)
  • 62% of users follow a brand on Instagram (source: Iconosquare)
  • Your audience engagement rate could be 15 times more on Instagram than on Facebook and 20 times more on Instagram than on Twitter.
  • Brands on Instagram with a following of greater than 100K can grow by over 100% biannually.
  • 75% of Instagram users who view brand posts act on the information in them.

Why You Need Instagram For Your Business

From the boom in popularity of Instagram Stories, to the very impressive stats of user adoption engagement and the recent expansion of advertising opportunities—it’s a good time to be using Instagram for business. Only if your business can thrive in this creative and inherently visual platform though.

Tips For Success

  • Find an Interesting Angle: Find a creative angle for a photo to showcase your product in an interesting way. Think about whether you should show the entire product, frame the shot a certain way or include another item to accompany the product. Whilst you should experiment with different content, once you find the most effective angle for your products, make sure you prioritize that approach in your content calendar to maximize engagement opportunities.
  • Focus on Lighting: The lighting in a photo can tell a story about your brand so whether photos are taken indoors or outdoors, good lighting is crucial. Even with careful tweaking, Instagram’s editing tools often can’t fix a photo taken with poor lighting. Therefore it’s vital to get this basic photography skill nailed down in every photo before you even think about using the advanced filters.
  • Use a Filter: Each filter has a unique story and feel that it communicates. There is an array of filters at your disposal to communicate a particular mood for your brand and products. Whilst a ‘normal’ photo is the most popular choice people use and indeed there is an immensely popular #nofilter hashtag dedicated for that purpose, using artistically edited photos can add a lot to your photo.  To use a filter, once you’ve taken or uploaded a photo or video Tap Next, then tap the filter you’d like to apply. Tap the filter again if you want to adjust filter strength up or down using the slider. The simply tap Done to save your change. The most popular way to upload an image or video is without any filter at all. But for those who do like to use them, Clarendon is the most popular option followed by Gingham, Juno and Lark. The Most-used Instagram Stories Face Filters are Puppy, Bunny, Koala, Genius and Love.
  • Tell a Story With the Caption: You can give life to a photo with the caption and it’s important to learn what type of description resonates best with your audience.
  • Create a Hashtag Campaign: User-generated content is one of the best ways to promote your community and products. Create a brand-centric hashtag campaign for your followers to use in their posts. Remember that engagement is a two-way street so follow and interact with your followers that are using it and like the posts that are positive and aesthetically aligned with your brand.
  • Use a Call to Action: Ensure every piece of content has a purpose by adding a call to action to it which prompts customers to do something. It could be as simple as “Shop Now!” or “Download our app.” Whatever you choose, make sure the action is relevant to your post as this is a great way to gain new followers.
  • Partner With Influencers: Consider partnering with influencers to create compelling content to promote your products and increase your reach. Influencers already have built-in distribution lists with large groups of followers and are trusted for their opinions on what products to purchase. By working with influencers, you harness their popularity and tap into their vast and relevant audience which will expand your own follower count and boost sales.
  • Best Times to Post: Instagram is a mobile app so users are on the platform at all times of the day. However, there are a few studies out there that have found the optimal times to post on Instagram for peak engagement to be Mondays and Thursdays at any time except between 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m and overall, users tend to engage with more content during off-work hours on weekdays. Simply think in the mind frame of your audience and work out when they are most likely to be looking on their phone. For example, if your target audience is a Teacher for example, they are most likely to be active during the evening when they are back home as opposed to during the day when they will be busy teaching.
  • Link Instagram to Your Facebook Page: One of Instagram’s unique features is that it allows you to share your content seamlessly across other social networking sites. Linking your Instagram to your other social accounts like Facebook will increase the number of eyes on your posts and allows you to benefit from targeting both audiences.Be careful however as its not recommended to automatically link you Instagram to evry one of your other social platforms as what works on Instagram probably won’t yield the same results on other channels and it’s important to tailor your content to each platform. Note: Your Facebook Page will already be linked to your Instagram if you set up an Instagram business profile. To link your Facebook page to your Instagram account, start in your Instagram profile by going to the gear in the upper right corner. In the “Options” menu, scroll down to “Settings” and look for “Linked Accounts.” If you’re not already logged into Facebook on your phone, you’ll be prompted to do so, and then you’ll need to pick the Facebook Business Page you’d like to link. Next, you’ll be directed to the “Share Settings” menu. The Facebook logo should be blue to indicate that sharing is on.
  • How to See Posts You’ve Liked: This is more of general useful little tip, but handy nonetheless! You can easily check out all the posts you’ve Liked in the “Options” menu of your profile. Press the gear icon and select “Posts You’ve Liked.” Then scroll down until you find the photo or video you’re looking for.
  • How to Reorder Instagram Filters: To save precious time when uploading photos, Instagram lets you reorder filters so you can position the ones you use most often at the beginning of your options. To reorder or hide filters, begin editing a post like you normally would. Scroll to the far right in the filter options and click the “Manage” gear icon. Hold your finger down on the three grey lines and drag the filter up or down. To hide a filter, uncheck it on the right side of your screen.
  • Hide Posts You’ve Been Tagged In: If someone tags your brand in a post, it will show up when you click the person avatar in right icon on your profile. To remove a tagged post, click the three dots in the top right corner and choose “Hide Photos.” Select the posts you want to remove and click “Hide Photos” again. This won’t remove the posts from Instagram, but it will remove them from your profile. If you don’t want to have to remove tagged posts, you can manually choose just to include the ones you do like. Click the three dots again and press “Tagging Options.” You can then choose to “Add Manually.” From here on out, you’ll be notified when someone tags you in a photo. When that happens, tap on the photo you were tagged in and choose “Show on Profile.”
  • Utilize Available Tools: There are several useful Instagram marketing tools that will help you get the most out of your marketing campaigns.

Ones for Planning, editing, scheduling

Sprout Social: A complete social media management tool that offers access to a range of very useful areas from managing multiple Instagram accounts, to robust analytics and planning and scheduling capabilities. You can also communicate easier with your customers, monitor hashtags and track posts from Instagram locations.

Hootsuite: One of the most popular platforms for social media management. You can plan campaigns, schedule posts and analyze results of marketing campaigns for multiple social media platforms all in one handy place.

Ones for measuring performance and selling products

Crowdfire: This tool help monitor your account, providing useful insights such as those of your new followers or recent unfollows, it will also find the best moments of the day to post and the best and most suitable hashtags for your campaign.

INK361: This tool gives you a complete package that allows you to manage and analyse your account, as well as delivering useful statistics based on timing, hashtags, location, number of likes and comments.

Websta is a free analytics tool for Instagram that will help you grow your account, understand your audience, customize your Instagram feed, follow posts chronologically, explore hot brands, users and hashtags and engage with your followers.


This is an excerpt from my new book “The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Social Media for Small Businesses” out now in Paperback on Amazon! Head over there now for more of a Free preview! http://amzn.eu/2uuslrD


Questions to Ask Before You Get Started Using LinkedIn for Business

Who is Going to Set up and Maintain my Business Page?

Before you begin, you need to have a clear idea of who is going to be creating and maintaining your LinkedIn business page. Whether you assign the role to an existing member of staff or hire an external social media manager you need to ensure that the person that will be in charge of representing your business on LinkedIn is capable, with the knowledge and experience of how to successfully utilise LinkedIn and ultimately make it a successful addition to your marketing strategy.

How Should I Portray my Business?

Like with any other public platform you need to consider how you are going to portray your business to others and how you are going to link it with your other marketing efforts. As part of this consideration you will need to address areas such as how you are going to tie your branding to the overall typography and visual aspects of the page to what type of voice you want to portray within your status updates and of course what your overall objectives are for the page. Making sure your business is presented in a representative and appealing way is crucial so you need to ensure you have a clear understanding of how you want your business to appear to your audience and how and what you can utilise to help you achieve it.

What Images and Resources can I Utilise?

LinkedIn allows you opportunities to utilise the visual on your page. From the large cover image to allowing a variety of content types to be shared within updates, it is vital that you pull your resources and utilise these areas to help make your business inform, engage and stand out from the crowd. So look to see what visual aspects of LinkedIn you can use to your advantage, remembering to choose attention-grabbing images that reflect your brand and draws people in to learn more about your business. You also could and should explore the use of different types of content within your updates, from podcasts to eBooks and using brand videos. Mixing up the types of content you share grabs attention and keeps people engaged so pull the resources you have at your disposal, from customer testimonials, product demonstrations videos, to webinar footage and behind-the-scenes pictures and share them with your audience.

Have I Got a Clear Content Strategy in Place?

Posting status updates lets you reach out to and share news with LinkedIn members who have chosen to follow your business page. From this you need to utilise this connection and form a content strategy that provides value to and resonates with your target audience. You will come to learn what content formats they prefer, what content they interact with most, at what times and how many updates you need to post daily or weekly to maximise effectiveness. Just remember to always share content that is going to entertain, inform and be relevant to your audience and you are likely to be rewarded with engagement and  a two-way conversation with your followers that can create business opportunities, help you learn more about your customers’ needs and other beneficial information that can aid your business in the future.

How am I Going to Promote my Page?

You need to consider how you are going to let others know about your page which will involve utilising opportunities both online and offline. Online you can use a variety of methods from using your other social media platforms to encourage others to visit your page, to adding a LinkedIn “follow” button to your business website and putting your company page’s URL email signature and your e-newsletters. You can also encourage your employees to create their own LinkedIn profiles and ask them to interact with your business page by sharing statuses and directing connections to the page. Offline you can verbally tell others of your page in any conferences, meetings in addition to putting the URL on your business card, packing and anywhere else your customers/ prospects will see it.

How am I Going to Measure the Success of my Page?

How you define the success of you page will depend on what your overall objectives are for your page. LinkedIn provides a range of analytics that show everything from who’s visiting your page to what types of content they click on, like and share and at what rates so remember to continually analyse these analytics to see whether you are meeting your objectives for you page and what if any areas are in need of improvement and revaluation.


This is an excerpt from my new book “The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Social Media for Small Businesses” out now in Paperback on Amazon! Head over there now for more of a Free preview! http://amzn.eu/2uuslrD