How to increase engagement on social media

Social media engagement is the measurement of the likes, comments and shares your social media posts get. However, it’s not just about the numbers, it’s about how engaged your audience is with your posts, videos etc. It’s about quality, not quantity.

For example, let’s say you hold a big BBQ at your home and invited loads of people – some you know and some you don’t. They all turned up, but all just sat around silently. Nobody spoke to each other, nobody danced, no fun and games. If you were just looking at the numbers game, your BBQ would be a huge success…after all, shed loads of people came. But was it really a success? Did your guests enjoy themselves? Did they like the BBQ food? You don’t know if you don’t speak to them and ask.

Social media is the same – engagement with your audience is crucial to build a rapport, to develop relationships with your followers and potential customers. It helps you to build customer loyalty and trust.

How do you engage on social media?

It’s all about interacting with the people who like and follow you. It’s about building those relationships, getting to know them, and showing a genuine interest in them and their business/family or whatever they talk to you about.

  • When a person comments on your posts, ALWAYS reply.
  • If they ask a question, answer it, and go that extra mile to give them the information they need – and more.
  • Depending on your post or the question asked, you can answer jokingly and have a bit of backwards and forwards banter.
  • Thank people for commenting; if you get a new follow-on Instagram, DM to say thank you and introduce yourself and ask about the person who has followed you. The same applies for Facebook – send a private message to say thank you and interact with that person – even if it’s just saying hi and asking them how their day has been.
  • Try and avoid talking about your products or services in these first contact messages – just be friendly, show your personality and be genuinely interested in your new contact.

These points are basic, but they do work.

Grow your followers!

Grow your followers

So now, we need to look at how to grow your followers – the more followers you have, the more engagement you’re likely to get. But please, DON’T buy followers and don’t do ‘follow for follow’ or ‘like for like’. Only follow or like someone or their business, if you are genuinely interested in them, if you genuinely like their business or their page, or are interested in the content they put out.

  • Be consistent – I know, I bang on about this all the time, but it really is important. You don’t have to post every day, but post regularly so that your audience know when you look for content from you.
  • Create unique content – don’t just copy what other people do. You can use ideas from other peoples’ content but make it your own. You can use Canva to make posts – there is a free version, so you don’t have to pay to start on this site and it’s extremely useful, with lots of different templates to help you. It’s also super easy to use.
  • If you share someone else’s post, make sure you always credit them with it, so people know who created it.
  • Use a mixture of posts, such as quotes, gifs, memes, jokes, video, hints and tips, ‘how to’ posts, informational posts, educational posts – the list is endless.
  • You can also do ads for your business/products/services as a post but keep these to a minimum. Apply the 80/20 rule – 80% of posts to engage, entertain, educate, or inspire and 20% selling.
  • You can do paid ads to increase your followers, but you don’t have to do this.
  • Have a consistent look and feel to your page posts – this comes down to your brand – what do you want your posts to look like? How do you want people to feel? What colours do you use? A theme could be the look of your content, the type of content your share (funny, educational, inspiring) – this will largely depend on what you do. For example, if you’re a mindset coach, you might post inspirational quotes or tips to improve mindset, so this is worth spending some time thinking about what you want to portray to your audience.
  • Use images in your posts.
  • You can also collaborate with other businesses to help grow your followers. It’s best to collaborate with other businesses who have a similar audience to you but sell or promote different types of products or services. For example, if you are a hairdresser and you do hair for weddings, you could collaborate with a make-up artist who also does weddings – you can recommend each other when you get a booking. You can put links on each other’s social media pages and websites.
  • A collaboration could also include a contest or giveaway, a blog post promoting their products or a post on your social media pages…and vice versa.  
  • Set up a Facebook group. These are great for increasing social media engagement as they tend to be more social than pages as the members can post questions or comments at any time. It also means your customers can communicate with each other and get to know other like-minded people. It’s important that you are active in your group every day, several times a day – you need to keep an eye on things to make sure any disputes or differences of opinion don’t get out of hand…and moderate posts to avoid spam. And of course, engage with your group members by posting something of value every day.   

Measurement

As with everything, measurement is important. If you don’t measure what you do, how will you know if things have improved or if you are successful?

So, before you start any new engagement campaign, look at your insights on your various social media pages. Take a note of your followers, look at the type of posts that are popular. Then, when you embark on increasing your engagement, you’ll be able to see how you’ve done against what you did before. You’ll be able to see which posts people like and don’t like, what kind of posts get comments, which ones get shared, and which ones produce tumbleweed! 

Most of all, enjoy your social media – there’s a clue in the name! It’s about being sociable with others, engaging with them, building relationships, gaining trust, and making new friendships and business contacts, as well as new customers.

If you have any more tips, please let me know in the comments.

If you’d like to have more marketing tips delivered to your inbox, (once a month only – not loads of spam emails!), please sign up to my newsletter, by clicking on the sign-up link below. I’m giving away a FREE Marketing Strategy workbook, which takes you, step by step, through the marketing strategy process. Hope to see you inside!

How Social Media Marketing benefits your business

Social Media is probably the widest used platform on the internet. There are so many different platforms to choose from, and they all have millions of people using them every single day. For many of us, social media is the first thing we log into when we get up in the morning, and the last thing we check before we go to bed at night.

Social media sites can be accessed by any device that has an internet connection, including PCs, mobile phones, tablets etc. Some of the most popular sites are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Snapchat. It’s a huge advantage to any business, big or small, to be on some of these sites in order to grow business, and social media marketing is a bit part of that. 

So, what are the benefits of social media marketing?

The Time Factor

It can take as little as an hour a day to increase traffic to your sites, make sales and get your brand out there. Social media gives a massive amount of exposure to your business and social media sites are an important part of any marketing plan.  

Create social media profiles for your business on your chosen sites and start engaging with potential clients. Invite your friends, family, employees, business partners – in fact anyone you know, to like and share your page. Just having people interact with your page and your content will increase your brand awareness and start to build your brand reputation.   

More traffic

Social media marketing – posting and engaging with your followers – will help you reach many more people than if you ignore social media. Every single time you post, you are giving your business another opportunity to get a new customer. Join more than one social media site, as different platforms serve different people and different ages. Different people search differently and also like different types of posts, so mix it up with your posts – don’t stick to just selling. You also need to engage, entertain, educate and inspire your followers. The 80/20 rule is useful – 80% engaging, entertaining, educating and inspiring and 20% selling.

Social Media also gives you access to followers from all over the world, and engagement at all times of the day and night.

Search Engine ranking

Search Engine ranking

You will get seen more on social media, but of course, there is more to it than just posting every day. Search Engine Optimization is also important to get your page ranked higher with search engines, such as Google.

To give your business the best chance to be seen and found, create good quality content, use keywords and phrases, and use good quality images.

If you write a blog, share it to your social media page, do video, infographics, include the odd case study and give business information. Don’t forget the fun stuff too – show where you work, your hobbies, employee photos, stuff you do at weekends or for charity. This all helps to not only improve your ranking, but goes a long way to show that you are human and real to your customers.

Conversion

Once your business is more visible, you’ll have more opportunities for your posts to convert into customers. People like to know who they’re buying from, and social media allows them to see your personality, to engage with you on things other than business and have a little insight into the person you are outside of work. People prefer to deal with real people, so social media serves this purpose. The more of an impression you make on a new follower, the more likely they’re going to think of you when they need what you offer.

Customer satisfaction

As the name suggests, social media is about being sociable. It’s not just a business networking platform, it’s also a communication and social network too. When customers comment on your posts, make sure you reply and try to strike up a conversation. Showing that you reply to each comment personally proves to your customers that you care and value their opinions. This gives them a good customer experience and so they’ll be more satisfied.

Sometimes you will get a complaint or get asked difficult questions. It’s even more important to answer these comments – don’t ignore them. The fact that you take the time to respond publicly to a complaint or question will make the customer see you in a much better light, especially if you can turn it around and make the complaint into a compliment!

Brand loyalty

We all want to have shed loads of loyal customers who love what we do , how we do it, and who want to come back and buy from us time and time again. Social media can help with that. Customers love social media and love to interact with the company they’re buying from – they often see social media as the place they can communicate directly with you and your business. And research has shown that customers are more loyal to brands that directly engage with them on social media.

When customers see you engaging with your followers, they’ll start to see you as an expert – and regularly posting different kinds of posts makes you also appear credible. Interacting with customers shows you value them, and care about them. This will result in them recommending you to family and friends, they’ll mention your business on social media and, if they see someone asking for what you supply, they’ll put your business forward.  

 It doesn’t cost much

Social media marketing is probably the most cost effective form of marketing. You can join all platforms with a business page for free. You can post, engage, get new customers, and interact with them…all for free. It’s only when you decide to advertise on a platform that there is a cost, but the costs are really quite low compared to other forms of marketing.

Being on social media and having a huge following with loads of customers for free, gives you a bigger budget for other kinds of marketing or for investing in your business.

Market insight

This is one of the best things about social media. You can monitor and measure the activity on your sites – using the page’s insights. By interacting with customers and looking at how they react to your individual posts, you can gain valuable information about your customers.

You can find out what their interests are, what their opinions are, what they like and dislike. All information that can help you understand your audience and what they want from you.

Be an expert

I touched on this briefly earlier, but by posting well written content, quality images, and video etc., your audience will start to look to you for information and you will become an expert or leader in your particular field.

Social media platforms are the idea place to set yourself up as an expert. Being able to directly speak to your customers also creates a rapport with them, a relationship that you will both value. This could lead to you becoming an influencer.

Conclusion

Social media marketing needs to be done correctly and consistently. If you follow all the points mentioned in this article, you will find that you increase your brand awareness. Your followers will see you as an expert, will enjoy the interaction they have with your business and they will become loyal followers and customers

SEO and Social Media

Do you take the time to promote your content on social media, such as Facebook and Instagram? Do you hope that this will boost your search engine rankings?

There are experts out there who think trying to boost your search engine rankings this way is a waste of time. However, there is a link between social media and Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but it isn’t very clear unless you try to understand the relationship between the two. I’m going to have a look at what you need to do to get search ranking from your social presence…and so bring traffic to your website.

social-media-3758364_640 (1)

According to Google, social media is NOT a factor that directly affects your SEO ranking, but there is evidence that things like ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ are somehow related to your ranking. However, social ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ are definitely a direct ranking factor for Bing…go figure!

How does social media affect SEO?

Let’s say you write a blog and write a sentence about your latest blog and post the URL link to it on your Facebook page.  It gets lots of likes and shares. Social media is built for people to share content, so the more people that share it, the more visibility your post will have. If friends of friends see your post and then click on the link to your actual blog (the URL), this will take traffic to your website or blog site, so they are linking to your site and it’s that linking to your site that is a major factor in SEO ranking. I know…a bit confusing!

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So how can you optimize your social media for SEO?

  • First of all, do you have several social media sites…Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest? Make sure that you have a consistent profile image so you are more recognisable. Complete all the profile or bio section, making sure it is totally relevant to your business, whilst being attractive enough to appeal to your audience. Include a link to your website and, if you have a newsletter sign up page/opt-in or a particular product campaign on the go, do a link to that too.
  • You hear this all the time, but it is so important…be consistent with your posts and post regular updates. This will be different depending on what social media site you use, for example on Twitter you need to post several times a day, but you don’t need to do this with Facebook or LinkedIn. So post according to guidelines for each different site.
  • Create great posts. Use eye-catching images/photos that attract attention, craft a good catchy headline and actually ASK for a share. This is good optimization and it has been proven that these techniques work.
  • The question I’ve been asked a lot lately is around the use of hashtags. Can they help with SEO? Hashtags are keywords, so yes, they can help to categorise your content and help social media users find it. But, hashtag use is different on every social media site…they are used extensively on Instagram, for example, but not so much on Facebook, although it is becoming more popular.
  • Take a good look at your website and ensure that your website content is optimized for social sharing. Here are a few tips to encourage visitors to share your content.
    – Create quality content with a great headline
    – Optimize content keywords
    – Include eye-catching images/photos
    – Make sure you have a call to action
    – Add social media sharing buttons to all your content – if you make it easy for people to share your content, they are more likely to do it.
    – Videos are huge at the moment and show up in search results, so introduce the odd video into your content.
  • Don’t forget about all of the above – it’s not enough to do it all and then walk away and leave your sites to their own devices. You need to constantly be there to engage with people who comment on your content – answer any queries, comment on their smartphone-1894723_640comments and respond to any reviews you get. You can also connect with influencers related to your content – like and share their content, make comments on their pages. If you belong to groups relating to your niche, take part in conversations, give advice, answer questions – interact with people. Your responses and interaction help social media algorithms recognise that your content is active, which in turn, improves its reach. And KEEP POSTING – social media moves very quickly and it’s easy for posts to get lost among all the others.

Like everything else when running your small business, social media is a crucial part of getting your messages, services and products out to the masses. It takes time and effort to make it successful, but stick with it and it will work.

Now, please share this article if you have found it useful and take a look at my other blog posts to find more articles to help you market your small business.

 

How to run a Facebook Christmas Campaign to sell your products

Christmas is usually the most important time of year for anyone who sells products or services. With around 93% of people owning a mobile phone or device, millions of them will be logging into Facebook (FB) looking for gift ideas, Christmas related posts and funnies. So it makes sense to use FB to reach some of this massive audience with your posts.   

christmas-2618269_640Christmas is the season of giving and all over the world, people get excited about everything that surrounds this magical time of year. So, let FB be your ‘Santa’s little helper’ and get started now on your Christmas campaign.

If you market your business, you’ll know that a giveaway is the way to get better engagement, more followers and sales. But as everyone who markets their business also knows, you need to stand out from your competition. So how can you run a successful Facebook Christmas campaign?

As an example, let’s say you run a jewellery business, selling jewellery that you make. You sell online via an online store and to the public directly through your market stall. You have a website where people can see your products and you have a business FB page.

What are you hoping to achieve by running a Christmas campaign?

  • Increase your sales of jewellery online and face to face
  • Raise the profile of your business (your brand)
  • More people looking at your product range on your website
  • More ‘likes’ on your FB page
  • Increase the enquiries you get about your jewellery

Now you know what you’re hoping to achieve, you can get started.

Your target market

The first thing to look at is your target market. Who do you want to sell to? What do they do for a living? What can they afford to buy and where do they live. You can get this by looking at your current customers and also look at who engages with your social media pages, your website and/or your blog.

If you have a FB business page, you can look at FB insights. This does take a while to get your head around if you want to fully analyse everything, but as a basic guide…Go to the Overview tab to export your FB Insights data. A pop-up box will appear with three choices…Page data, Post data and Video data. If you click on each of these in turn, you will be able to see key engagement metrics for your page. Facebook do a guide for more in depth information – click here

If you use Instagram, you can also look at their guide for analysing insights on your Instagram account. And you can use data and the details to run a Christmas campaign on Instagram too. Click here to see how to look at your Instagram insights.

cat-1898637_640You will have your unique brand for your products or services, but it’s a good idea to look at branding your products for Christmas and apply that branding to your FB posts and your website/blog. Famous brands do this every year, for example, television programmes such as Dr Who, will have a Christmas special episode, fast food outlets will use Christmas themed wrappings for their burgers, pizza etc. and there will always be a popular musician who will release a Christmas album, such as Cliff Richard! Everyone jumps on the bandwagon at Christmas, so why shouldn’t you too?

When you advertise your products for Christmas, give the ad a Christmassy theme, spice up your website or blog with some Christmas pages and look at packaging your products with Christmas paper, ribbons or offer a gift wrap service (either free or for a small charge).

Your campaign     

It’s up to you when to start your campaign, but generally campaigns start around the September/October point.

As I’m specifically talking about a FB campaign, let’s look at what kind of posts you can put up to attract business. The important thing to remember is that, although you want to be selling as much as you can during this period, it’s also important that your customers get something of value, something that makes a difference to their lives – what’s in it for them? How will they benefit from your campaign? So how can you do all this and still make a profit? Here are some ideas…

Offers/discounts

Everyone loves a bargain, so run a special offer for Christmas on a particular product or service. Make it clear that it’s for the Christmas period only.

sticker-473635_640Offer gift cards so customers can buy a gift card to give to family and friends.

You could run a ‘buy one, get one free offer’ or ‘buy one, get the second half price’ for a limited time. Big companies like Boots the chemist, do this every Christmas with their ‘buy two, get the third free’ offer.

Run a ‘recommend a friend’ offer – if one of your customer’s recommends a friend, then when that friend buys something, your customer gets a free gift or a money- off voucher.

Competition

Run a Christmas themed competition with a special prize – make sure that the prize is appealing and worth entering the competition for. You can do the results of the competition ‘live’ on FB or via a pre-recorded video for more impact…and you could do the same with the run up to the end date of the competition – for example, ‘only one week left to enter our fabulous competition to win a xxxxx’.

Share Christmas themed updates     

You can add value to your customers’ lives by sharing Christmas themed updates. For christmas-dinner-3011500_640example, if you are a restaurant, you could share your Chef’s favourite Christmas dish, dessert or menu; Hairdressers can share easy to do hairstyles for Christmas parties; Beauticians can offer special packages so your body/face/nails/feet etc. are ‘Christmas ready’!; If you sell make-up, you can push your glittery make-up or maybe publish a video on how to do your Christmas party make-up. You get the idea!

You could also share Christmas themed things on your FB page that are just useful and nothing to do with your business, such as ‘how to gift-wrap your presents with style’ or ‘how to decorate your tree’. These kind of posts have the potential to draw in a new audience who may then go on to look at your products/services.

As well as these posts, you could also post inspirational Christmas quotes, ask a question posts, nostalgic post and Christmas trivia related posts – maybe a ‘did you know….’ kind of thing.

You can also produce a FB ad for the Christmas period – socialmediatoday.com have a great article on how you can do this in detail, so have a read.

How many times a week should I post on FB?

The recommended number of posts is once a day and post in the afternoon to reach the maximum number of people. The minimum suggested is three times a week and maximum number, ten times a week. You can do all your posts in advance for the following week and schedule them to automatically appear at a certain time every day.

You don’t need to use all of the ideas I’ve talked about, but I hope I’ve given you some food for thought and that you will crack on with producing your Christmas campaign and I wish you luck with lots of sales and engagement!

Copyright? Royalty free? Public domain? Why can’t I just go on Google images and use any photo?

I’ve decided to look at the issues we can face when just using any image we happen to find on Google images for our blogs, Facebook pages, Instagram or on our websites. This has been brought to my attention by a friend who has had this problem recently and been fined. You could also find yourself with a fine if you don’t know about the rules surrounding use of images you might find on Google, for example.

When I first started blogging, I thought I could just log into Google images and use anything that came up…anything that caught my eye. Luckily I learned before I published my first blog that this isn’t the case and you can get into serious trouble if you just use anything. And there are some great sites out there where you can get free images without the worry of being fined….and they have fab images.

Copyright

copyright-850371_640Have a go yourself, just log into Google and type in ‘Images of cats’ for example…then click on one of the images. Yes, you can copy and paste the image…it doesn’t stop you from doing so, but it is illegal. If you look at the image you have clicked on, there is a caption under it saying, “Images may be subject to copyright.” It is up to you to check before you use anyone’s photo. However I found this was a bit of a hassle, because it can take a lot of research, going to page to page, until you find the information you are after.

The Wikipedia definition of ‘copyright’ is this:

“Copyright is a law that gives the owner of a work (like a book, movie, picture, song or website) the right to say how other people can use it. Copyright laws make it easier for authors to make money by selling their works. … If someone copies a work without permission, the owner can say they infringed their copyright.”

The Simple English Wikipedia goes into a bit more detail…

“With copyright, a work can only be copied if the owner gives permission. If someone copies a work without permission, the owner can say they infringed their copyright. When this happens, the owner may sue for the amount that should have been paid. Most cases are handled by civil law. In more serious cases, a person who copies a work that is protected under copyright could be arrested, fined, or even go to prison.”

Royalty-Free Images

Another thing you may see is that an image you want to use is ‘Royalty-free’, so does this mean it’s OK to use this one then? Actually no! The term, ‘Royalty Free’ is a type of license used by stock photography agencies to sell stock images. It’s usually just a one-off fee and you can use photos under a certain set of restrictions.

Again, Wikipedia gives the definition:

“RoyaltyFree Images. … The “free” in royaltyfree does not mean there is no cost for the license, but instead refers to being able to freely use the image without paying additional royalties. A small-business owner, for example, may opt to pay a one-time fee for RF images for his website.”

Public Domain Images

free-2751473_640These are the kind of images I now use on my blog and for some of my website images.

Good old Wikipedia describes these kind of images as:

“A public domain image is defined as a photo, clip art or vector whose copyright has expired or never existed in the first place. These images can be used by almost anyone for personal and commercial purposes.”

There are lots of public domain images sites on the internet. I use www.pixabay.com  a lot, as there is a good range of photos and cartoon images that I like. I also use www.unsplash.com too, which is similar.

When you go into these sites, you can search for any subject matter in the search line. When you click into the image, there is a ‘free download’ button to press. And underneath this button is the Pixabay License details. It usually says ‘Free for commercial use’ and ‘No attribution required’. I always check that this is written about the image I want to use, then I can just go ahead and download and use.

Other sites to consider are:

  • 1 Million Free Pictures – there are no copyright or other issues with this company as they make their own images and put them on their site and offer them free of charge to the public. Great if you want to get your logo up and running and can’t find an appropriate image.
  • The British Library is another site that has no copyright issues. According to the site, there are over a million images available for personal or commercial use – free of charge.
  • Public Domain Archive is a site managed by a professional photographer. There are thousands of images, both contemporary and vintage, on a range of topics, such as sport, animals, architecture etc. Photos are free to use for personal or commercial use and new photos are downloaded every week.
  • Negative Space is a great site for free high-resolution images, so perfect for using on your website or blog.

These are just a few of the sites available, and ones that I am familiar with, but there are loads more out there to choose from.

If you have a favourite site you use, please share with me so my readers can take advantage of the site.