GUEST POST FROM EMMA DONOVAN OF PEAS-IN-A-POD - Read Part 1 (Marketing your Small Business with Social Media) here.
So, back to generating good content and developing the art of selling what you do without being too shouty… Here are some of my top 20 tips which will work across all of your platforms and will help you to define some sort of social media strategy:
1. Be on brand. Whatever you post, your ‘voice’ needs to be as on brand as your images. Be consistent too-once you find your voice stick with it across all platforms. You will lose your audience if you seem like someone with multiple personalities.
2. Don’t be too salesy. I’ve unfollowed so many accounts who post multiple times throughout the day saying things like ‘Buy my great pug-dog design cushion’ or ‘Look at this new design’ – anything that is too assertive or ‘me me me’ is a no-no. It just comes across as a bit rude and could rub your audience up the wrong way.
3. Look at the bigger picture. If your business is inspired by wildlife or you make products for newborn babies, or being produced in Kent is a vital part of your business then make sure you have something to say. Be an authority or expert in your field; provide regular weekly posts on indie businesses in Kent, or the best wildlife images you’ve seen that week, or support a charity or cause close to the heart of your brand, if of course, it works well with your business and brand objectives. awarenessdays.co.uk or feedly.com will help, as will twitter’s ‘moments’.
4. Play the long game. Don’t post about the cost of your products. The whole point of social media is that it drives traffic to a place where your audience can find out more about your work and craft, fall in love and then shop and keep shopping! You want the followers you’ve built up to stay interested and to be repeat customers, not just a one hit wonder. Treat them like they’re part of your business; tweet or post messages asking for feedback on something they’ve bought, advice on your latest work or a new product you’re working on. If your followers feel they’ve given some form of investment they’ll be more inclined to stick with you.
5. Plan ahead. Creating a content calendar will help your business have a consistent style across all your social media platforms and will keep you on track, allowing you time to plan strategically. You can also add in when particular seasons, holidays or trends fall, when the national awareness days are that suit your business or product and generally the opportunity to be proactive instead of reactive which can sometimes be the case with social media.
6. Be useful. If you’re selling commissions or products for weddings or Father’s Day start posting tweets about products particular to this as part of a lead up campaign – you can mark these out on your content calendar. Starting with 8 weeks in advance right up until the day before. If you sell and dispatch your products from an on-line shop, keep your audience up to date with last posting dates. This will drive traffic especially leading up to the key gifting times eg Christmas and Valentines.
7. Curate. If you’re busy or have writer’s block and really can’t think of anything to post, curate other good material. Follow blogs or subscribe to websites that have good content that fits your brand sensibilities.
8. Be shareable. Don’t make your audience work to share your content, make it as easy as possible. If you’ve had some great professional shots taken of your products don’t post the highest res versions, compress them for web applications so they don’t take too long to load in someone’s feed.
9. Be natural. Both with your images and your voice – be bright, sunny and positive. Never moan or bitch, no matter how tempting it is. You are your brand ambassador. Dull images and dull posts = unfollows.
10. Reign in the exclamation points and emoji’s. They are fun, but use your words more. If your brand is bubbly and cheerful, there are other ways to convey this. Before you post, re-read your caption and get rid of excessive exclamation points and check all spelling and grammar.
11. Dust off your thesaurus and use words that are included in your business description and that represent your brand. Brainstorm a list of words that express your brand and use them repeatedly.
12. Be amusing or super cute. People like to be entertained so make sure you offer entertainment as well as beautiful things for them to buy or things to do. If you have a pet or animal mascot to exploit and it fits your brand then by all means give it ago.
13. Create your own trends / hashtags and search to see which ones have the biggest following. Instagram is great for this – use this intelligence to help you further on twitter too. Plan your weekly content campaign with hashtag themed days of the week or month or join other twitter chats using hashtags. Twubs.com is great for sourcing hashtags.
14. Be generous. Giveaways, discounts, vouchers and competitions are all good currency on social media and in return you’ll often get many more shares, retweets, regrams and followers. Schedule them into your content calendar and team up with fellow businesses for a collective giveaway. It’s also good practice if you have old stock or some samples to get rid of.
15. Get blogging. Whether you have your own blog or not, know who the key bloggers are and target bloggers who may fit into your target audience. The mum and dad blogging community is huge, as is the health and interior design communities. If your product can appeal to blogs and bloggers, add them to your press lists, google+ circles or twitter lists. Even if you don’t want to create your own blog, be part of the blogger community – shout out to them for collaborations, features or guest edits.
16. Be press ready. If you’ve got products that suit specific gifting occasions, have created something brand new, won an award or are attending an event make sure you have a press release for all occasions and send this out to your targeted press contacts. Connect on social media and find out when their latest deadlines are, you’re more likely to get a feature if most of the work is done. At other times plan way ahead for the gifting / fashion seasons – think summer for winter and winter for summer.
17. Recommend and refer – whether you sell on Etsy, notonthehighstreet, in shops and pop-ups, at craft fairs and trade shows, you’ll be part of a collective group of makers / producers / small business owners. A whole is greater than the sum of its parts so look at teaming up and shouting about what you’re all each up to every week. Make it part of your content plan and always pay it forward.
18. Move your images. There are plenty of ways to create little videos and vlogs about you and your work. Timelapse apps, especially hyperlapse for Instagram are good fun for creating maker tutorials and will help you generate different types of content. Create videos of you putting the finishing touches to a piece of work or a day in your studio or even beautifully packaging your orders… Social media videos are so watchable and if you spend a bit of time and create something that is well lit, looks aesthetically pleasing and teaches your audience something then you’re on to a winner.
19. Be personal. Don’t just be a faceless post-er – show your quirks, passions and frustrations as you grow your business. It shows your audience that there’s a real person behind the products and that by investing in and supporting your brand, they’re helping you sustain a life for you, your family, pet gerbil or to buy enough hula hoops to get through the week.
20. Remember that what you do is special. Although you may mix in circles where many of your friends are doing similar things to you, there are many more people out there not doing it, and not possessing any creativity, or desire to run their own business but loving it all the same and wanting to buy into a brand that has a soul. Tap into their day dreams and be somebody’s inspiration.
Find out more about Emma here...