68 winning ways to engage your social media following
“If you are a small business coming up with social media marketing ideas can be daunting and you can often run out of things to say or worse still lose heart and give up altogether.
As a small business owner myself, I believe it is important to keep plugging away.
If you do it right more people will learn more about your business and this will ultimately lead to new enquiries and sales, it has me and for my clients.
I’ve found that if you adopt the mindset of how can I help others instead of constantly trying to sell your services your social media will be much more effective”. Dan
From my experience of managing social campaigns for small businesses, this is what I recommend for Twitter and Facebook (Other platforms will be covered in a later post):
11 minute read – Updated 29.6.18
1. Profiles and Bios. Create an eye-catching profile include your logo and a face for your business. People buy from faces and want to see your personality. Don’t just say what you do but describe what is different about your company and how you help your customers.
Here is my Twitter profile.
2. Be personal. Write as if you were having a conversation and include your opinions. Your followers will appreciate your honesty.
3. Plan. Create a calendar of what to post and when. Tie in with public holidays, events, sales and seasons you can do this with Sprout Social or create your own manually.
4. Themes. Instead of randomly posting, collect your ideas and sort them into themes. Themed posts about a particular product could be a photo of a customer using your product, unusual ways of using it, someone saying something nice about your product, an offer, how it compares to the competition, what’s new about it, and so on.
5. Respond quickly. Your audience will expect quick answers and will be more responsive (and more likely to buy) if you reply promptly.
6. Say thank you. When you get a new like or a follow, reply and say thank you. Look at their bio and what they do and ask a question at the same time to start a conversation and build a relationship.
I use this image when someone follows me and add a personal message too.
7. Follow your competition. Read about what they do and do it better.
8. Highlight your profiles. Add your social profiles to your website, email signatures and sales literature.
9. Statistics. Review your most popular posts to see who is reacting and sharing your content the most. Use this data to further target your audience. You can use Twitter Analytics and Facebook Insights to find this information, add to and update your plan.
10. Post at the right time. There is no perfect time but most people check their social media accounts first thing in the morning, at lunchtime, straight after work and then after dinner. So check your statistics to see what works best for you.
11. Be consistent. You are improving your brand image so include your logo and the face of your business. Keep the same visual and writing style so your followers become accustomed to it and begin to trust what you have to say.
12. Local. I’ve found it much easier to get a local following as most people want to buy from local businesses (if they can) so follow people and companies which are nearby. Thank them if they follow back and mention you are close by when you reply to start a conversation.
Ideas and tips for social media posts
13. Make the most of the space. Paste your links into a URL shortener to allow you more room to get your message across.
14. Pin your most important tweet. Pin a tweet that you want people to share and ask new followers to share it. If it is relevant to your audience share their pinned tweet. I regularly change ours and at the moment it looks like this.
15. Influencers. Find influencers (people with large amounts of followers) within your industry and follow them. Retweet their tweets which your audience is likely to be interested in.
16. Micro influencers. Find micro influencers (accounts with a following of 1000 – 10,000) these people are less likely to charge to share your content. Follow and retweet their tweets. If they follow back or respond start a conversation and build the relationship. Think how can I promote their services and in return they will probably do the same for you. You can do this manually or use software like Klear to find Twitter influencers.
17. #Hastags. You will have seen them and they help attract followers. The most common mistake I see is that small businesses often use a hashtag to describe their business (this is fine but not that productive). Think about the type of people you are trying to attract and what they might be interested in. Using my business as an example I want to work with local businesses and the majority of my customers are small businesses. I use #smallbusiness #supportsmallbusiness #localbusiness #BizTips #Bolton #BromleyCross. Create your own hashtag too and make sure it isn’t being used already. Because most of my new business comes from small businesses who have had trouble with their web designer I used #IHateWebDesigners in a recent campaign to add some humour and grab attention. To check a hashtag hasn’t been used just search for it using the Twitter search box.
18. #FollowFriday. This is a widely used hashtag. I would recommend compiling a list of your most responsive followers and creating a tweet to share and then tag them in. This can be repeated each week as your followers change or split over several tweets. It will help grow your audience and also build a bond with your followers. To find your most responsive followers go to the notifications tab and scroll down. Check your Twitter analytics too. To tag a follower just add their Twitter profile to your tweet. Vizcom’s is @VizcomDesign.
Here is an example of an account local to me who uses #FollowFriday.
19. Polls. Create a twitter poll about your business, something relevant to your industry or something your audience might be interested in. Analyse the results for further use.
Twitter and Facebook
20. Make a promise. In your headline add why it would benefit the reader. It is important it isn’t a false promise though.
21. Use a sub headline. Include a sub head too to further encourage clicks.
22. Numbers. Include figures and statistics as they often grab attention.
23. Add space. Include line breaks to make your post easier to read.
This example uses statistics, line breaks, offers a benefit and displays an eye-catching image.
24. Ask. Ask for the like, retweet, or share. If you don’t ask you don’t get.
25. Be visual. Posts with images are more popular than just plain text as the brain processes images faster.
26. Include faces and people. People buy from faces and want to see your personality.
27. Tips. These type of posts are often shared and read. You are providing useful information for free.
28. Why do you do what you do? Tell people they want to know you care.
29. Your story. The about us page is one of the most visited pages on a website. Followers are interested in how you started and what you aim to do.
30. Team photographs. Share photos of your team and workplace. Add personality to your social media.
31. Meet the team posts. Feature a member of your team each week and tell their story.
32. Quotes from your website. Use interesting quotes and link to the specific page on your site.
33. Case studies. People want to know about the process and how you helped other people or businesses.
34. Fan of the week. Feature one of your fans (check if they are ok with it first). Most will appreciate the PR.
35. Thank your followers. On a weekly or fortnightly basis create a post and thank your most responsive followers. Make sure you tag them in the post. You can do this automatically and for free with Sumall or even better you can create your own like the examples below.
36. Say thank you. If somebody shares your tweet (or post) say thank you this will help you build your relationship and also increase the chances of a retweet or share. Here is an example of a Gif I use to say thank you.
37. Share the love. Tweet or post for your clients, suppliers or partners. Improve relationships and most will do the same for you.
38. Make people laugh. Most people use social for fun and want to be entertained. If you can be funny it helps. You can do that with Gifs (explained further on).
39. Repeat. Post the same post more than once I recommend Sprout Social which allows you to schedule your posts and post them more than once. I would recommend 6 times for Twitter spread over two weeks and 3 times for Facebook spread over 1 month. Your initial post could have been missed the first time around.
40. Share content. If you think your following might like it share it. You can use Feedly to find useful articles to share.
41. Breaking news. Be first to share news which your audience may be interested in. Set up Google Alerts to be notified or if you hear something on the radio head over to their website and share.
42. Cheapest first. You have to promote your product and services or else what is the point. Start with anything you offer which is free or low in price. Once they become a customer they are then more likely to buy something else.
43. Create a demand. Black Friday is a good example of people buying things just because they don’t want to miss out. I created a Twitter campaign advertising Vizcom’s Social Media services for £99 a month and explained that there were only four slots available at this price. This happens to be true but you see what I mean.
44. Broadcast live video. Facebook Live and Twitter video posts receive the most reactions. It doesn’t have to be professionally filmed people just want to see your personality.
45. Share your blog posts. If you don’t have one you can set one up for free with WordPress this allows you to write about your industry and not clutter up your website with lots of additional pages. Your blog will also attract search engine enquiries.
46. Old blog posts. Look at which posts were the most popular, update if the information is out of date, add more or new images and share again.
47. How to videos. It is no accident that YouTube is full of these and a lot of them are uploaded to attract you to their website. If you sell a product and are often asked how do I use it? Or if you sell a service and get asked the same question regularly make a video of the answer. Upload to YouTube and share it. No need to do it professionally at first if it is clear and provides the answer it will work. If it becomes really popular then you can invest in having it produced professionally and feature it on your website.
48. Gifs. A series of images which are animated. You can use free online tools to make your own and these can be funny or factual. Here is an example of one I created for one of my clients whose followers are EV drivers. Giphy is easy to use and perfect for social media.
49. Comparisons. These can spark off conversations and are often shared. Include a photo or infographic and ask your following to choose. Red or blue? New or old? Yes or no?
50. Mention your other social profiles. If you are on Facebook tell your Twitter followers and vice versa.
51. Answers to FAQs. Just like ‘How to’ videos what do your customers ask you the most? Create a frequently asked questions page or a blog post and share the question and answer.
52. Links to helpful articles. Read something online and think your followers would like it? Share it add a comment and tag the person who wrote it.
53. Links to tools. Use an online tool for your business or just found one that your following might find useful. Post it. Here is one I use regularly Check for broken website links with brokenlinkchecker.com
54. Share your email newsletters. You probably do this already but if you don’t post it twice, the second post can be a week later and read “in case you missed it”.
55. Testimonials. Products listed on websites with the most positive reviews always sell more than those without. You can create a whole series of positive reviews.
56. Ask questions. Use your fans for market research or help when naming a product. They will be flattered you asked and the feedback could be useful.
57. Competitions. Are a great way to promote your business on social media. The prize doesn’t have to be huge, just desirable. Ask people to share for a chance of winning.
58. Customers using your product. Share photos of people using your product or create a competition and ask your audience to post photos of them using it and ask them to tag you so you can share.
59. Charities. Involved with a charity or sponsor a local team? Mention it and tag the charity or team.
60. Event posts. You can create events on Facebook and invite your friends. Share it on Twitter too.
61. Myths. What are the common myths in your industry? Explain why they are not true and provide the real answers.
62. Top 5 lists. Everybody loves lists and that is why there are so many around. Create your own they could be your top 5 selling products this week, top 5 activities your team loves to do at the weekend, etc.
63. Infographics. An infographic is a visual representation of statistics. Pie charts, graphs and tables are typical examples. It is easier for humans to understand and relate to pictures than just reading words alone. There is software online which allows you to create your own using pre-built templates a good example is Vengage
I saw this excellent infographic on Facebook recently and shared it.
64. Deals specific to each platform. Create offers and make them unique to your Twitter followers or Facebook fans. Make your customers feel special and unique.
65. Unexpected ways of using your product. Your customers may not be aware of all the ways they can use it (this applies to services too). You could run a competition to see who has the most creative use for it. Big brands are always trying to promote other uses for their products. Examples include Kellogs, Sainsbury’s, etc.
66. How do you compare to your competition? Illustrate this as a graph or an infographic.
67. Recruiting. You might have fans who want to work for you. Save money on advertising at the same time.
68. Looking for a supplier? Ask for recommendations and why they would recommend them.