I am delighted to share this blog as part of the Snap IrelandBlog Competition this year. There is still time to enter (closing 20th of December 2016) so get yours together today!
Simply put, us humans are a very visual breed and we tend to respond better to visual stimuli. However, that being said it has to be relevant. For too long we have been shown pictures of cute kittens and silly dogs! We no longer see those types of images anymore (thankfully). No, now we need to see people and products that match our expectation of the brand.
The moment I mention Nike you get an image in your head right? Your image(s) will help you create brand awareness and unless you have some sort of uniformity to yours that awareness will be lost. It maybe you put your logo to the bottom right of each image or you use certain colours for a background. What ever the case is, it creates a form of recognition as your viewer sees your branding or colours and knows that it is your business each time.
The important thing to give your audience however is value! you do this by not putting up unhelpful or click-bait material/content. Remember, each time you post - "Will this be useful to my audience?". Then measure the success of it by checking the insights.
Great, so now people recognise your brand and what it gives them. This is a great opportunity for you to try and capture emails! With all the improvements in social media, actually genuinely targeting some one directly to their inbox is still the best way to sell something. The longer they stay as your "fan" also means you are offering them exactly what they are looking for. Give them value, offers before others, discounts, free entry, giftbags. It makes them feel special and thanks them for their loyalty.
If you don't collect emails yet then please look into it. If you have a bricks and mortar shop then ask at the till or counter for emails. If you are a service like myself then collect them via something like OptinMonster (from your website) or events and stands you run maybe another option. I don't message my fans that much to be honest and I probably should do more, but at least they aren't unsubscribing in droves.
I only stress this as I receive "special offers" all the time by email and it stops being special when it's every single week. Commun.it is terrible for this. I use the free option of Commun.it (for scheduling emails) and they are offering 50% or more off every day. I don't value it any more and I don't feel special for continuing to use their product. I don't think I even really it see it any more and the pop up banner has become annoying!
Pick a time frame and make sure you prepare your audience well in advance for the offer so that they don't miss out. Make it a limited number OR a short time frame. It can get confusing if you try both, remember - you are sharing your audience with others and you don't what to pressure them too much.
Obviously if you have a website, you want to make sure your audience sees it. Some businesses websites can be very expensive to create and maintain. It's an absolute must, you need to attract repeat views to your website and make sure the images and branding are again representative of the business. To this end (where possible of course) you need to create your content on the website and share the link from there using the share buttons.
The one criticism I have with some business owners is that they then only share it once. It would be such a shame if you didn't go back 3 times the first week and share (different times of day) and then 2 times the following etc. If it's a hassle to remember that - then use a scheduling platform such as Hootsuite and put it in there. I don't know about you but I can pour several of hours of work into a blog post and to then only share it once would be a crime! :)
You may or may not have heard of this - but these days it is essential to "Pay to Play" on Facebook Ads. If you don't have some sort of budget set aside for it, you stand a chance of missing out and not being seen by your audience on Facebook. It is however not the only way to be seen! Social Media is free of course but you need to work damn hard these days to be seen without paying. So here are a few suggestions you may not have thought of - or indeed forgot to do.
These are all fantastic to raise your profile online, but they all need a budget set so earmark that now for your 2017 strategy.
Yes, I said "speak"! You are the owner of the business. If you are a Sole Trader you are the business so you need to become the face of the business. People buy from People not faceless, corporate entities. Even Ronald McDonald had to be the face of McDonalds whilst it was building up its brand.
There are several ways you can speak about your business (or perhaps pay someone else too?). Your local LEO Network will have monthly meetings, as will BNI and other like minded chapters. You could pay to advertise in the local paper and do a demonstration day or Open Door event. You could arrange events or create webinars. All of these give a personality to your brand. At the end of the day, you know your business better than anyone and once people can relate you, selling it becomes easier.
This is probably the most important thing to do altogether. We all make mistakes and miss posts and emails, just be honest and apologise, but respond. There is a certain expectation of all businesses that go to the trouble of having social media platforms, that you are expected to respond to them. This is why I recommend you only join platforms that you have the time to maintain.
Diary it if you have too but do make sure you check your notifications regularly on your 'phone so you stay engaged with your audience. Be memorable for the right reasons this Christmas.
If you need any help with your Marketing Strategy for Christmas or the New Year, please contact me! firstname.lastname@example.org.