For many small business owners, summer is a great time to plan. With customers and clients away on vacation or just enjoying the slower pace in life, traffic into your business or storefront may dip a bit. Dedicating some of this time to planning your social media strategy can reap great rewards for you both in the coming weeks and in the fall as demand increases. Here are a few ideas to help you get prepared for the start of fall and help to drive customers into your business straight through to the holiday season.
- Learn the ins and outs of a new social media site. All small business owners should be actively using LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+. You might have set-up accounts but have not mastered the ins and outs or learned to harness the power of each. Pick one of these platforms, get the help you need, and start connecting with clients and customers.
- Put time into making new connections. While businesses may slow down, the world of social media does not. Your potential clients and customers are relaxing, and to many this includes logging in from their vacation destinations. This makes for a perfect time for you to start to connect with more people. Additionally, take a look at your current connections and even your current clients. Look at their similar characteristics and make a plan to find more people just like them.
- Investigate starting a blog and/or website. When you connect with customers and clients on social media platforms they may want more information on your goods and services. Having a website stocked with great content including your hours of operation and services you offer can be a tremendous asset. Additionally, publishing a weekly blog post allows you to informally connect and show your personality a bit. Lastly, search engines want to see a growing body of related content which in turn boosts your ranking in search results. The process of putting together a blog or website does not need to be an expensive or cumbersome ordeal. If you need help with your site just submit a question through my website and I would be happy to give you some suggestions.
- Write content. A great way to use your downtime is to write new content including website articles and blog posts. Depending on how many you can get done, you could set yourself up for several months to come, alleviating the nagging feeling that you always have something to write. Start by making a commitment to get a certain number done. Outline each making sure all posts are related to your core business but cover slightly different topics. Then take some time to fill in the outlines. In fact, just getting outlines done will make your fall season a bit easier. If you have staff with extra time and some talent outlining and writing, you may want to consider using them as a resource.
- Take some time to explore your competitors. If you feel that you are always chasing a certain competitor in cyberspace, find out why. Review their blogs, website, and their activity on social media. If you notice that they have a substantially bigger presence than you do, see where you need to fill in the holes. But, don’t try to do everything at once. A strong social media presence needs to build over time.
- Train staff. The decision to train staff to help boost your social media efforts is tricky. This is a great time to do some higher level thinking on how you would like them to use their time. Are they going to have access to the business social media accounts and act as if they are the business? Will they build up their own social media profiles and promote the business? How much time can they dedicate to this effort? Think before you act and develop preliminary policies and procedures. Don’t forget to include your staff (or at least representatives) to make sure they feel included in your process.
- Get some great photos together. Adding photos to social media sites can add dimension to your interactions, but always purchasing stock photos can be impersonal. In your downtime, make sure to take photos of your staff (and start a staff photo folder on Google+ and Facebook), you can use these throughout the year to highlight great work, a staff quote, or even if you want to feature a staff member’s bio. Make sure to take some new photos of your products and services being delivered. Lastly, get some photos of your office, storefront, or wherever your products and services are delivered. These can be used to personalize your efforts throughout the year. Remember, your photos do not need to be professionally taken just make sure they convey the image of your operation.
Committing to just one or two of these ideas can have an immediate impact on your online presence. Putting pieces in place now, no matter how big or small, will ease your workload come fall and allow you to have an even bigger impact and presence on the internet. If you have any questions please reach to me using the Ask A Question box on this page.