The Practitioners

The Practitioners- with Kadie Regan on the importance of Social Media.

I have been so inspired over the last few months, getting out there and meeting new makers has really turned my entire venture around. Realising the importance of being social and the impact that it has had on following your dreams of being an independent creative. 

This week with my local collective group The Practitioners that i run alongside the wonderful music venue The Boileroom, we had guest speaker Kadie Regan talk business with us all. As a freelance writer and social media co-ordinator she has given us the scoop as to why this little thing called social media is so vital to our small businesses and the impact that it can have!

So I thought that I would share her notes with you, get those beautifully creative minds thinking and to give any pointers as to where to begin...I know that this has been of huge help to me. At first I had zero idea of how to use these facilities to help make my business grow! Still in my early days I never stop learning! 

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Social Media and its importance for your business with Kadie Regan:

“The ROI of implementing some sort of social media for your business is that it will still exist in 5 years” – Social Media Revolution.

Bit of a jargony quote but it really is true, you might not necessarily see an immediate rise in customers from a social media platform (although you most likely will) however, you will last. Digital presence is everything – especially for visual/creative businesses.

So just a few stats to show you how integral getting on the social media bandwagon is:

  • Brands utilising Facebook can reach 1.94 billion potential consumers, a pretty substantial crowd. If we combine all of Facebook’s acquisitions, such as WhatsApp and Instagram, the overall reach climbs to 2.94 billion. – over a third and closer to half of the whole world’s population.
  • There are 2.2 billion active social media users in the world – that means they’ve signed in within the last month at least – so again, a huge base.

It’s even more evident that the only way forward is engaging consumers through mobile and digital social media communications.

So here are some tips to help engage all those eager eyes:

WRITE A STRATEGY:

You need to know what you want out of social media before you start. Plan your content on a calendar and stick to it, then you can just add bits in as things develop i.e. news stories etc. Frees up time to do other things, like your business!

SCHEDULING TOOL:

Firstly, no one wants to spend their days on social media, more than we already all do anyway. 

Get your self a social media scheduling tool such as Sprout or Hootsuite, benefits are:

  • Quick, schedule ahead for weeks, months.
  • Give you analytics to show who your posts are reaching, when and where.
  • Most have a tiered pricing, first tier free.

Can’t recommend this enough. If you can schedule some beautiful, pictures or posts for the month in one day, you have your presence to your followers but you can get on with what you love! Remember that less is more, you want to have presence but you don’t want people to be overwhelmed, remember its their personal social platform and they don’t want it to be totally clogged – be there but don’t inundate people. 1 a day, and not necessarily every day is enough to be active.

STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT & FOLLOWERS:

This will be based on your target audience and end consumer however generally here are some tips to engage them:

  • Give people a reason to follow, the most successful insta pages aside from celebs are always health, fitness, beauty or hair etc where they’ve given people a reason to follow – if that fits with your business in any way - do it! 
  • Lists, e.g. ‘6 reasons to’ – people are more likely to click through –when its a quick read and they want to find out what they are.
  • Visually pleasing images – sounds obvious but a photo is what most people stop for when they’re scrolling through Twitter, FB or Instagram. So make it worth stopping for. Aps like VSCO are great to capture your work or topic quickly and get a high quality finished image. 
  • Use words like ‘things you didn’t know’ or ‘you can't live without’ or ‘brand new’ – old rules of language apply in drawing people in. 
  • If you have any tips,  or videos showing you working on something – make them see they should be following you for a useful, as well as a visual reason.

If you can’t see how that fits with your business, follow this HEADLINES acronym. Either be/use:

HelpfulEmotiveAsk (a question) - Do’s and don’tLists - Inspiring  (speaking directly to customer’s desires/lifestyle goals) - Nightmare  (discussing a common problem that keeps people up at night, your human after all) - EmpatheticSuccess (show your successes, how you’ve fulfilled brand promises etc.) 

WEBSITE:

All know the importance of a website, if you aren’t googleable you don’t exist.

  • Write blog posts, regularly, more new content the better. GET THEM EDITED ( you don't want to be the sloppy speller).
  • Fill them with back links – google’s algorithm gives preference to websites which contain links to other places on the web, back up any claims you make and gives you authority.
  • Website speed – affects google ranking and people generally only give a website 5-7 seconds to load after which they’re off – don’t let it be a loading page that’s the reason they don’t explore your website!

INSTAGRAM:

  • Have a personal and a business page – try not to mix the two up too much, that’s not to say don’t have any of your personal touches on your business platforms – happy medium. 
  • Always write as if you’d feel happy having a total stranger read it and it would represent you well – nothing too cringey etc – most viewers may well be new to your page.
  •  15 hashtags is the average for an insta post, and it’s the best for getting more views and onto the Discover page. ALWAYS USE RELEVANT HASHTAHGS – they are social media indexes – use this to help people find you!
  • Keep on message – don’t clutter your page with quotes, random images that aren’t relevant, keep it clean and brand relevant. 

TWITTER:

  • Use Tweetdeck to manage your twitter account/s.
  • Whenever possible, hop on a trending topic with the designated hash tag – even if its not necessarily directly linked to your business and your content it will be under that trending topic.
  • Audiences are more forgiving of random posts, retweets and shares on twitter, it’s a noisier platform so do not worry about timings so much!
  • Always hashtag within your word count, otherwise you're just wasting your already small 140 character limit – plus it looks a little amateur if you place them separately at the end like you would for Insta. Only 1-2 for Twitter as this gives your post a 21% increase in engagement on average, 3 or more actually decreases potential engagement.
  • Make stateholder lists and interact with them at least once a week.
  • Create shareable content, true for all platforms but especially TWITTER. Its so easy to retweettakes less than a second – people will do it if its worth them sharing. & share others to! 

FACEBOOK:

  • Don’t forget FB – seems like it’s a mates only platform sometimes but it’s not - their ads can be cheap and targeted to age, location and interests.
  • Biggest active user base of them all, any type of target audience is going to be on Facebook – anyone and everyone!
  • Content embedded in newsfeed – people are responsive and willing to content when they’re scrolling through to catch up on friends and family. Although we all do it 20 times per day it’s often the more engaged browsing we do of the social media channels.
  • Most of us will already have a few hundred friends on FB at least, get them to like and share – word of mouth style, an ‘old fashioned’ start but it is a start.

PINTEREST:

  • Huge growing user base, lots of different age groups.
  • Add new pins as often as you can.
  • When you can’t – repin to keep algorithm happy.
  • Use it like a portfolio

<CHOOSE THE RIGHT CHANNEL FOR YOUR END CONSUMER>

  • Target the right platform, there’s no point tweeting if your market are on Instagram. 

TIMINGS FOR EACH PLATFORM:

  • Discredited that each one has specific timings, just means brands and publishers are all posting at the same time – too much noise to be seen.
  • Think about when people are online – train to and from work, when people wake up etc. Saturdays are almost always a no go – if you want to give your audience a break definitely choose Saturdays. 

YOUTUBE, PERISCOPE, SNAPCHAT etc, if your business lends itself to that sort of immediate, virtual interaction – use it!

 

ETIQUETTE:

  • You are what you tweet – be confident and comfortable will all that you write.
  • Do a few social media channels well, rather than a lot badly – it’s quality not quantity.
  • Be social, it’s ‘social’ media for a reason – be friendly, helpful when you can. 
  • Don’t be too spammy or overly self-promotional – it simply annoys people and puts them off.
  • Respond and communicate. If youre going to use social media to engage, expect answers and/or comments and complaints. Respond in a timely way and give everyone individual answers. Be apart of the community.
  • Authenticity is vital. If you make a mistake, admit it and apologise.
  • Have fun! Engage, occasionally go off topic, have conversations and be approachable ( be human) !