Social Media Suggestions

We receive a lot of requests from our clients on how to help them optimize their Internet, Website and Social Media presence.  We suggest that they attend our free monthly Internet Workshop at The College of Central Florida in Lecanto.  It is held on the third Wednesday of each month and hosted by a Citrus/Levy County SCORE volunteer whose business specializes in helping people optimize their internet presence.  To register, go to www.citruscounty.score.org and click the “Take A Workshop” button.  Soon you will be able to view them live online or later with cached YouTube videos. 

You will learn a lot at our Internet Workshop and the first thing you will learn is that the old website as a static brochure is ancient history.  Today, your website should be an interactive marvel that allows your customers into your business; capturing their attention, giving and getting information and all while being educated and entertained.  But in this Ask SCORE column we will focus on Social Media since it’s a hot topic for many of our clients.

The first thing you have to determine is, which of the seven Social Media channels will best help you reach your target audience?  In alphabetical order, the seven are Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat and Twitter.  LinkedIn would a good choice if you have a business-to-business company.  But if you are appealing to a younger audience then you should look into Instagram.  You can, obviously, participate in as many or few as you have the time and resources it takes to use them effectively.

And using them effectively means having a way to measure the channel’s effectiveness for you, known as metrics.  Your first step is to get started.  Just dive in.  They are inexpensive so your time, a valuable commodity indeed, is your biggest investment.  Then you need to engage your audience; use videos (made right on your high-tech smartphone), post tips & tricks, offer solutions for your customers, humor, appeals to your donor base or whatever you believe will work best for you.  You want likes, comments, shares, retweets and to grow your following and your Social Media reputation.  Try starting with a seven day campaign. 

Now you need to decide what you want to measure: reviews, click-throughs, comments, forms filled, apps downloaded, contributions made, etc.  A note on reviews – respond immediately to complaints or issues.  Since no business or non-profit is perfect, how you resolve an issue is all important – it tells people what you are made of.

Every channel provides access to metrics so you will know what is and what is not working for you.  Metrics such as the number of clicks, unique clicks, cost per click, conversions, etc.  Are people buying the product and/or service you are selling/providing?  Are you growing your following?  Are you increasing your donor base and your contributions?  In addition to the metrics the channels provide, there are several programs, like Hootsuite and Thryv, that can help you stay on top of metrics if you are using multiple channels.

Should you pay to boost a post?  That depends.  Only 20-40% of your Facebook followers will probably see your post.  It is a mistaken notion that everyone who follows you will see your post.  If you can afford it, consider a posting strategy that includes paid advertising combined with your free posts.  Paying to boost posts can increase your views, reach more people and it could help a post go viral!

How much does it cost?  On Facebook it can cost from $5 on up and they can tell you how many more viewers you can expect at each price point.  The variables you can track are demographic, geographic, city, state, zip code, personal interests and others. 

Maybe the answer is not a wider audience but a more relevant audience.  And for some non-profits, the most effective and cost efficient method might be increasing your direct email capability internally or with Constant Contact’s email marketing programs.  You can test drive Constant Contact free of charge.

You may be marketing a product or service but what you are selling is your value proposition – what separates you from your competition.  What you do, how you do it, what your company or non-profit is about and the stories you tell build customer loyalty and ultimately increase your revenue and profits. Social Media is here to stay.  Your competition is using it so dive in and get started.