Written by Sherri Johnson, Co-Founder, CCO and Web Designer at Fly Media Productions, LLC.So far in our WebSavvy series we’ve discussed the importance of establishing an online presence, as well as how to a develop first time online presence. But what if you already have an online presence and are simply looking for ways to get more out of it?
The key to expanding your online presence is to leverage all the tools you have available to you, but in a way that works for you, and is sustainable for your business. Below is a list of suggestions based on my own experience and that of my clients which make use of social media. It is in no way meant to be all-inclusive, but rather more of a general list of ideas that will hopefully spur other ideas! So have fun, and good luck!
1. Start by making the most of your fan pages. Be sure to use the ‘Description’ space made available to you on each social network you use. Use a similar description across networks, and expand upon it when space is available to do so – always leaving visitors with an invitation to visit your website to learn more whenever possible. TIP: Consider referencing to the copy on the About page of your website for quick description ideas. Be sure to also include a link to your website and other social networks where space is available. Once you’ve laid the foundation, then it’s time to put your page to work!
2. Keep things fresh and visually interesting: You can do this by changing up your header images from time to time. A great way to use the space is to showcase your product or service, a sale, message, holiday greetings, etc.
3. Increase fan base by advertising your page: The more eyes on your content the better. Why not consider increasing your follower/fan count via a Twitter and/or Facebook advertising campaign.
4. Consider promoting at least one post per week. For a minimum fee of $5 per post, Facebook will guarantee your post an opportunity to be seen by a predetermined number of people (this can include your current fan base and beyond). For maximum effect be sure that your promoted post is one that will catch people’s attention and drive them to your website (if that’s your goal), such as a sale, or blog article, etc. And don’t forget to use an enticing photo to go along with it!
5. Share! Share! Share! Always, always, share whatever you are posting to your blog on your Facebook and other social media pages as well. Don’t rely solely on others to share your content for you – they can’t read what they don’t know exists. If you have the time to do so, take full advantage of the space Facebook gives you and use a full size photo to grab your audiences attention, a brief description, and include a direct link. Then share the same post often in the upcoming weeks, using different descriptions if possible. By doing this you may reach someone who didn’t see your earlier post, or who might not have connected personally to the first description. TIP: Possible descriptions could include the title, an excerpt from the post, a question, etc.
6. Promote your product/service/sale: Don’t be shy! Let the people know what you have to offer, why it’s beneficial to them, and how they can get it for themselves. And then of course when you have a sale or special promotion – promote, promote, promote! TIP: So as to not “bombard” your fans be sure to plan ahead and spread your posts out. You may even consider creating multiple campaign pieces that feature your item or sale, but each in a unique way.
7. Regularly encourage fans to subscribe to your mailing list – and then use it! Encourage fans to subscribe to your mailing list in order to be notified directly of sales, events, news, etc – and then use it, and use it often – weekly if possible. TIP: Make it easy for them. Don’t forget to provide a link directly to the page where they can subscribe.
Possible reasons for an email blast…
• Promote a Sale, Promotion, or Giveaway
• Share Blog Posts, or News Items
• Share Press Features/Mentions
• Share Upcoming Event Info
• Share Event Recaps
• Share New Items or Services
• Share Top Selling Items or Services
• Holiday Greetings and Well Wishes
8. Quote it! Share quotes that are meaningful to your brand, and relate-able to your customer. TIP: Pinterest is a great resource for finding quotes that you can download and share (with a photo credit or link), create your own version of, or simply to use as a reference for finding meaningful quote worthy content for sharing.
9. Ask Questions. Another way to engage fans is by asking questions. Questions could be industry specific, thought provoking, humorous, etc.
10. Encourage fan participation: Encourage fans to submit photos of themselves wearing your gear, using your product, visiting your location, etc. for a chance to be featured on your page!
11. Put a face to the name: Consider sharing photos from business related events. Instagram and Twitter are great for posting photos while you’re actually at an event (if desired), but sharing photos even after an event is a great way to keep connected with customers on a personal level. TIP: When posting photos be sure to include a description for each photo posted. And when possible mention the name of the event, date and location, as well as who is in each picture (If posting pics of your employees be especially considerate!).
12. Make smart use of hashtags. Hashtags are supported by Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and now Facebook as well. And while they can be very helpful, they can also be very annoying if overdone. I would suggest a max of 2-4 per post. #KeepItSimple #MakeItRelevant
13. Consider hosting a giveaway! This can increase fan base, visibility, and engagement.
14. Interact with fans: Be sure to reply to all fan questions and feedback at least once daily.
15. Schedule it: Last, but certainly not least, schedule what you can! Emails can be scheduled, and many of the social media posts can be scheduled in advance as well, via services such as Hootsuite.
As you can see there are a number of ways to expand your current online presence. This is just a brief list of ideas on how to do so using social media. But consider the added benefits if you were to make full use of your current website, or that list of email addresses you’ve collected from customers already interested in keeping up with you.
Remember, for small to medium sized businesses, the internet can be leveraged to level the playing field. It’s one of the only mediums that allows a small or mid-sized business to enjoy the same or similarly powerful tools as the big enterprise companies. Once you understand the unique needs and goals of your own business, and then learn to make use of available assets at your disposal …the possibilities are endless!
Sherri Johnson is Co-Founder and CCO at Fly Media Productions, LLC, a metro Atlanta based Couture Website Design & Development Boutique. Catch up with Sherri on Twitter at @FlyDuo or @FlyGirlFMP, on Facebook, or on her website at FlyMediaProductions.com.