So you run a small business or a blog that you are pouring your heart and soul into (not to mention blood sweat and tears) but when it comes to promoting it on social media, your hard work isn't paying off.
You may have grown tired of Facebook's low organic reach, a little concerned over Instagram's new algorithm, or you might be scratching your head when it comes to Snapchat. Keeping on top of everything is starting to overwhelm you.
I represent a vast variety of clients and work on their social media, content and growing communities daily, so it is safe to say that I spend a solid amount of time surfing the channels, getting to know what works, what doesn't and what can make the biggest impact for your business. These observations do not go to waste, they are noted and worked into my blog, free resources and my latest Ebook for my own community to soak up and put to use in building their own tribe.
Below, I am suggesting some reasons as to why your current activity might not be working, as well as make some suggestions for you to try- PLUS I have some news on an upcoming freebie, so read on and enjoy!
1. You do not have a clear understanding of your purpose:
No matter what type of business you are, without truly knowing what you value as a business, it is difficult to stand out. Truly knowing your 'why' is super important, as it comes into play every time you log on to your social network, write a blog post, or send an email.
Once you have laser-clear vision and focus, your path becomes clear, and you are able to communicate effectively on social media. Which brings me to my next point...
2. You haven't developed a style guide for your brand:
So... what is a style guide? A style guide is some clear direction surrounding the overall look, feel and tone of your brand. It aids in developing your brand's own unique personality, defines how you will communicate with your following and the kind of language you and your team will use.
Even if your style guide is a simple one, it is really important to have guidelines around your tone of voice, imagery and overall brand theming in place. This not only helps you get your head around what to share online, it also comes in very handy when the time comes to expand your team or you decide to outsource your social media management.
If your business has an Instagram profile, it is also a good idea to work on a mood board, which will help shape your overall aesthetic, so when it comes to curating images to post to the platform the look is consistent in look and quality.
My Creative Social Media Planner goes into this in more depth, and is a great way to start working on your brand's own guide.
3. You aren't sharing content that has been crafted with your ideal customer, reader or client in mind:
Sure, your friend or partner liked your latest Facebook post, but are they your ideal customer?
Knowing who your customer, reader or client is in as much detail as possible is really effective in ensuring your content is going to deliver results for you. How you speak to one person is not necessarily going to capture the attention of someone else, so having a description of your ideal customer at the forefront of your mind when you write, share and design content is really powerful.
These days, our social platform newsfeed tends to be cluttered with updates- not only from friendship and family circles, but from personal brands and businesses showing you what they think you want to see. Consider these questions next time you go to share something with your following- is this enriching my ideal customers feed? Is it valuable or entertaining?
If you can not answer the above questions with a certain yes, there is a good chance that you need to re-evaluate what you are sharing across your networks.
4. You are not giving back to your community
I truly believe, that in order to grow an authentic tribe of followers, that you need to be giving more that you are taking. If you are expecting your followers to convert to customers, subscribers or even loyal fans, it is all about providing them with value.
You can not just set and forget when it comes to social media- you need to be really cultivating your community. This means spending the time to nourish your following by responding to questions, comments and messages. It also means sharing messages of value and offering advice when possible- get creative with ways in which to share insights, that will have your followers wanting more. That way, when it comes to spending their money with you- they are only too keen!
5. You are not keeping regular
Over the last couple of years, not only the amount of individuals using social media has been on the rise, the amount of businesses using social media has also grown dramatically.
This has urged both Facebook and now Instagram to implement complex algorithms to ensure that they do not lose the attention of their users, which has resulted in business profiles having to spend money for advertising and boosted posts. It has also urged businesses to become more creative in the way that they post online.
Without remaining consistent with your social media activities, as a small business, start up or blogger you run the risk of being forgotten. It sounds sad, but it is true- make sure you are remembered by doing the following:
- Creating your own content that is in line with your values and branding. This means your design, business values, mission, theming etc. is all cohesive with what you are posting.
- If you are designing a graphic to compliment your post, ensure that the colours and fonts are aligned with your branding.
- Post on a regular basis- if you can aim for three times a week as a bare minimum on Facebook you are doing well. Take a look at this blog post on increasing your organic Facebook reach for some tips on finding out the best times to post.
- On Instagram, make sure that your images are of a consistent 'look and feel'. Use similar edits and colours and always consider how the individual image is going to look when your follower comes across it when scrolling through their feed, as well as how it is going to look in your profile.
- On Instagram do your best to post regularly, once or more a day is really great if you can, if not try to not let a week go by without posting- a week is a really long time in the world of social media.
- Develop a social media calendar on a monthly basis to plan ahead- consider upcoming events and promotions you might like to run. Scheduling software is not always required and I believe that the Facebook Pages scheduling tool is much easier to use, (plus it is free). Having a calendar or guide to work from helps in ensuring you have the content to fill the days and that you can remain consistent during the weeks ahead.
To sum it all up...
There are many elements that must come together when planning, posting and running your social media. The main thing to remember, is that no one knows your brand like you and you are what makes your brand different. The key is to make sure that this is being translated into your posts and expressed effectively through words, images, blog posts, email newsletters etc.