Social Intelligence Feedback Loop for Small Businesses – Social Posting
Earlier we discussed the first step of the social intelligence feedback loop: social listening. Organizations of all sizes can use social SaaS like Mention to tap into what individuals online are saying about the business, market trends, competitors and new products. Social listening also helps you identify the type and location of relevant content. For example, you might notice on Mention that your business has a lot of buzz on a local subreddit page. It’s not Reddit, but the content features links from Instagram. You have now identified Reddit and Instagram as a source for engaging with users.
So what do you do? This is where social posting comes in.
Let’s review the definition from the introductory post from a few days ago:
Social posting is the act of posting content and updates about your business. This may also include replying to other users who interact with you over social media. Social media services often have apps directly available on the phone to help you post relevant and recent content.
Let’s pretend we are bakers who just started a bakery in your local town. We only have a few staff, but we are eager to share our story and drive in more customers to taste our famous cupcakes. Most of our time is spent away from the phone and computer, making it difficult to post instantaneous content about our business.
Our new bakery often does not have the luxury of standalone marketing human resources and technology. This can be incredibly difficult for new small business owners to manage a business, and entice customers while trying to promote themselves online.
But small businesses can’t always be posting content. Imagine us bakers are trying to manage everything. Ultimately, if they had to make a choice between serving a customer or posting on Instagram, we would serve the customer. There is simply no time, but posting content and engaging with users on social media is vital to the overall success of the business. Not to mention, how do we even manage multiple social accounts at once?!
We are in a real pickle (and last I checked, that would be a terrible cupcake flavour but I digress). But there is a way, and it’s possible.
Using our earlier example, from social listening, we have discovered that Reddit and Instagram are new hotbeds for our business. Listening in, we found that our baker has a lot of buzz about our cupcake designs.
Let’s write everything down using the 5 Ws:
Who: Customers in our local town
When: Over the last 2 weeks recent increase in mentions
What: Customers are posting our cupcake designs
Where: They are posting it on Instagram and then Reddit
Why: The designs are unique and people enjoy it
We have come up with a basic strategy on how to further engage with our beloved customers. For social posting to work, we need to do two things: 1) push out content and 2) pull in users.
Pushing Out Content
Content is easier than ever to push out. All you need is a smartphone with the latest social media apps. For instance, if our bakery takes a picture of an order of 6 cupcakes, we can immediately push out the photo to Instagram, it can also push out the content to Facebook and Twitter or even Reddit with a little tweak from IFFIT. Except, as small business owners we are busy and tied up with other things.
So how do we remedy this situation? Advanced, scheduled social posting.
Several services are available where users can attach all of their social accounts into a social media posting platform or dashboard. This allows the social media manager to set specific times to post. This is a great approach to building a social presence on any of the major social networks.
Many of us have great content, but we just don’t have the time to always be logged in and posting content. Theses services allow the user to schedule posts and automate your social presence. Let’s go into two of our favourite services that allow you to coordinate and schedule posts.
The Hootsuite platform is a versatile service to help with social posting. Hootsuite is a dashboard that aims to make it easier to engage, publish (with schedules), provide analytics, create social media marketing campaigns, and overall social media channel management. Hootsuite has built in integrations across the platform. The platform typically caters to marketers who use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn,Google+, Foursquare, MySpace, WordPress, TrendSpottr and Mixi.
One of the best features of Hootsuite is scheduled publishing. You can schedule a whole assortment of posts to take place automatically. It may require a few hours setting everything up, but during peak business hours, small business owners would have little to worry about when both content is being posted during business hours while the business is open, giving small business owners the attention to their customers both online and off. Hootsuite is a freemium service but has a premium plan for $10 a month.
Butter is another platform we’d also recommend and it’s a dedicated social sharing platform. Buffer’s main feature is scheduled posts across all your social media channels. If your only issue is not having the time or remembering to post social content on a daily basis, Buffer might be your solution. Buffer has integrations across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
We recommend using Buffer once a week to schedule your weekly posts. You can still post on all your social media when you are in the moment but Buffer is a great way to manage a social media campaign requiring multiple posts over a period of time.
Prices for individuals go as high as $10 per month and businesses can look at spending $50-$200 a month. Even if you want to try it, a free option is available. We’d recommend using it even if you only need it for one post!
Pulling in Users
Pushing out content, good and quality content, should bring in more users; but you cannot rely on your content alone to bring in more followers. Similar to a supercar like a Ferrari LaFerrari, you can build the car but it doesn’t move without a driver.
What’s probably equally important, if not more important, is your actions on social media can be “content” as well. This means you will need to log in for a few minutes everyday and directly interact with followers and other users.
Back to our bakery example, we will need to sign into Instagram and search for users that have posted about our cupcakes. Each customer can receive a comment or a like from us. We can also ask users to repost their photos through our Instagram to profile what our favourite local customers are saying about us.
There are a variety of strategies and tricks you can use to pull in users, but it ultimately comes down to engagement. Talk to them. Like their posts. Get a feel of who they are so you can pull them in to create a loyal following.
But if you have a moment – be spontaneous
Have a minute to spare? Take a picture of your business and share it instantly. We don’t encourage being distracted from your business, but in case you have that 1 min breather to take, spend a few seconds posting something about your business. The return on investment is worth the 10 seconds for being spontaneous. Just don’t post anything silly or controversial because it can be a real crisis for you (take a gander at our crisis management series on what to do if something goes wrong).