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Series 1 Episode 6: How To Do It

Show 6 How To Do it

We’ve discussed Facebook, customer service, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and more in previous shows. Now let’s talk about putting it all together.

First, you do have a website, right? If not, better get one going, pronto. If you need help, drop a note to newbusiness@modentinc.com to get started.

But let’s assume that you have a website, with separate pages for each product and/or service you want to promote through social media. Or a landing or onboarding page. Now that’s important, because when you post something on social media you want people to DO something, preferably buy something you’re selling… or establish your authority, build your brand, engage them, delight them … but primarily if it’s business, you want them to think of you when they need what you’ve got.

You set up your social media accounts: Facebook, maybe Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest …. Whatever combination you want to try… you can always remove one if it fails to gain traction or add one or another later on.

That’s the good thing about social media marketing. It’s a low cost, low risk way of experimenting …

Now, plan your posting calendar by writing a list of the 20 or so most important things you want to post about. You’re an auto repair shop, so you sell tires, perform oil changes, maintain cooling systems, change windshield wipers … etc. Are you having any special promotions? A free tire rotation with an oil change? A wheel alignment with the purchase of a set of tires? Make sure you promote that, too, either with a landing page for that specific offer on your website or with a special discount code you post on social media. Or a page specifically devoted to that service. Or a “contact us page” to make an appointment or for you to contact them, or at the very least, your website’s home page.

And whatever business you’re in, you want to promote the authority of you and your staff as experts in your field. Are there any holidays or other special occasions that are worthy of posting about on your social media channels? Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, The 4th of July? Put ‘em on the calendar. Ideally you should post once a day every weekday, but weekends are fine, too. Want to post more than once a day? Sure! Go for it but be sure to space ‘em out a bit; say once at 10 am and another at 4 pm but whatever works best for you. Always keep experimenting.

Now on Facebook, you can set up your timeline posts in advance. There’s a dropdown on your Facebook business page where you post that allows you to schedule your posts in advance and that’s nice. You can’t do that with Twitter (though you can get around that and we’ll talk about that in a minute). Instagram doesn’t allow advance posting at all… and we’ll talk about that in a little bit too.

So let’s get a bit more into the nuts and bolts of social media marketing …. How to actually do it.

For the sake of this discussion, we’ll make a few assumptions: you’re a local business that provides a service and sells products. Your customers come from your local market and not nationally or internationally but may travel within say, about 30 miles or so to do business with you based on their needs, your expertise and ongoing relationships.

We’ll also assume, as we said before, you have a website with separate pages or landing pages dedicated to specific products, services or special sales, offerings or events. An optional, additional assumption is that you also have a blog where you post regularly about what you do or other customer-relevant subjects.

And to keep it fairly simple, we’ll assume you have a Facebook page, a Twitter account and an Instagram account, plus you may still have a Google Plus page.

And let’s digress and talk about Google Plus for a second. If you have a presence there, great. It’s mainly an SEO/SEM thing as there’s little or no action there. Nice try, Google, but it was never going to replace Facebook, as they’d hoped. And if you have it, why not post on it? Can’t hurt, right? So we’ll include it here, but really, it’s part of a bigger discussion on SEO, which we’ll get into in our next season of Modern Marketing shows and podcasts.

Our other assumption is that you’ve set up that monthly Social Media Marketing calendar we mentioned a few minutes ago. This way, you can see at a glance what you posted when and can make sure you’re hitting all the important products and services you want to promote. You can follow the calendar if you post daily, or better yet, you’ll have it in front of you when you set up a week’s worth of posts. The other reason for a calendar is that you want to post consistently across all social networks. I like to use Microsoft Excel for my calendar. Here’s a place you can download calendars.

Once you have your calendar done for one month, you can copy and paste from it as you build subsequent calendars, which can also be modified as needed. Why not make things as easy as possible for yourself?

Also, write your posts in advance. You can use another tab on the excel calendar, do it in Word or whatever program you like. Keep ‘em short and remember, Twitter has a 140 character limit, so you may want to set up your Twitter posts separately. Or not. See what works best for you but shorter is usually better. More about setting up posts in a minute or so.

Remember to select images to accompany your posts, either ones from your website or from royalty-free sites like https://www.pexels.com or https://pixabay.com. You may also be able to use images from your vendors or service providers, franchisors, manufacturers etc. Ask ‘em first, of course. And why is it important to include an image with your post? It’s been proven that posts and Tweets with images get more clicks and are shared more, which is what you want.

You need to post at least once every weekday. Weekends are optional according to your business. But social media traffic can be good on weekends, so feel free to experiment. Some people like to post whimsical, out of the box stuff on weekends, family-oriented messages, aphorisms, inspirational messages, or the same business-related stuff they do during the rest of the week. Feel free to experiment but also, please remember our discussions about what NOT to post.

Now, it’s ok to bend or break that rule a little when it comes to Instagram since it is a completely visual medium. And because of the way it’s constructed, you can only post clickable links in your bio page, not in the comments accompanying the image you post like on FB, Twitter and G+, so frankly, it’s a pain in the ass, because you will have to manually change the url in your bio every time you post an image and say “link in bio,” which is what many businesses do. Better yet, if your demographic is appropriate, post on Pinterest, which does support clickable links.We haven’t mentioned LinkedIn, in case you’re wondering and here’s the reason: at this point, we’re not believers. If you’re seeking a job, looking to hire someone or connect with other business people, sure, use LinkedIn, but if you’re a small and growing business seeking new customers, LinkedIn is far from essential. Do you disagree? Drop an email to podcast@modentinc.com and convince me otherwise.

But we digress. So to recap, we’re making a few assumptions, as we said earlier: Facebook, Twitter; maybe Google Plus and Instagram.

You can schedule individual posts in advance on Facebook, but let’s make it easier and integrate our posts on a single platform. And since you’re a small and growing business, let’s keep it as inexpensive as possible. In fact, how about FREE?

Here are a few recommendations: Buffer and Hootsuite.

Both provide the ability to post on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus and some other platforms. You can write a post, include a link and an image, and schedule it in advance for all these social media platforms simultaneously. And both offer a free version of their service AND apps for your phone or other mobile device.

Which is better than the other? That’s your call. Frankly, I’ve used both and like them both. I’m speaking here of the free versions, of course. So sign up for a free account at one or the other or both and see which one rocks your world.

Now, if you use Buffer and or Hootsuite and find that you need more firepower, you can try the paid versions of each. And there are a bunch of other choices. Hubspot is a great one and it’s a powerful marketing platform beyond social media marketing. (Full disclosure. Modent Marketing is a Hubspot partner, which is great for you, if you’re interested.)

But back to Hootsuite and Buffer: Follow your social media calendar and set up your posts for Facebook and Twitter. You can post the same time each day or not. You can post several times in one day or however often you want. Buffer and Hootsuite both will let you set up reminders to post on Instagram, too, which is nice but for some… like me… not necessary.

You can get rudimentary but very useful statistics and insights from Buffer and Hootsuite, as well as directly from Facebook and Twitter. Google Plus, not so much any more. We’ll have to do a deeper dive into analytics in a future show but the important takeaway here is to post regularly, and monitor and respond to any comments, retweets and the like.

So what do you post? We’ve discussed that previously but just to recap, keep it relevant and make sure it’s correctly spelled, punctuated and linked to a landing page, website, blog post … that sorta thing. And include an image because posts and tweets with images are proven to get more likes, etc.

As far as Instagram goes, my suggestion is to post the image and the text and say visit our website for more info. Link in bio as we said, if you want to do it manually or just link to your home page or contact us page because that’s about all you can do on the fly. And use a url shortener too to keep it brief, like bit.ly or goo.gl. Despite what’s claimed by Buffer, Hootsuite and the rest, they don’t support setting up Instagram posts in advance. What they do is send you a reminder to post. Whoopee. Who needs them for that? I don’t but YMMV and if it does, be my guest.

And to tie up the loose end of Google Plus, if you’re there, you can post the same stuff on it as you post through Buffer or Hootsuite, because why not?

That’s enough to get started. If you need to know more, send me an email or check out modentinc.com/modernmarketing for more info.

The important thing about social media marketing is to do it. Be there. Be consistent. Respond to comments on FB, replies on Twitter, comments on Google Plus. Follow other accounts, engage, have fun, be informative and responsive. Be real. Be smart. It’s a moving target so see what works best for you. It’s a terrific opportunity to communicate, market and sell. Go for it and if you learn stuff we haven’t covered here, please feel free to share your insights with me.

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Modern Marketing Series One

Host: Richard Pachter

Engineer: Brian Campbell-Skyhawk Studios

Introduction: Brit Somers

Music composed and performed by Peter Freudenberger

Modern Marketing written and produced by Richard Pachter

Executive Producer: Pablo Alberti

© 2017 Modent Inc.

 

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