It’s officially Spring, the calendar tells us, although I’m writing this wrapped in a blanket scarf sitting as close as possible to the radiator. The signs are everywhere: the blossoms on the trees, the bright daffodils, the light evenings stretching out that little bit longer every day.
Instagram is mad for it.
It’s coming. The bulbs know it, the birds know it, and you, dear business owner, should know it too. It’s time to spruce up your social media and get your marketing ready to bloom.
It can be easy to forget about anything beyond the day-to-day of social media while you are focused on posting compelling new content (alongside doing everything else in your business). Is social media something you’ve filed onto the mythical to-do list with the header: I’ll sort this later? If so, remind yourself why it is so important to keep investing in thinking about your social media beyond just what you can post next.
The thing is with social media - and everything you do in your business, really - is that if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well. What’s the point of spending time on marketing if you’re going haphazardly do stuff, then cross your fingers and hope some of it works?
Think about a business you follow on social media and whose posts you enjoy. What is it that makes you engage with what they have to say? Do they post regularly? What is it about their words and images that makes you feel something?
Looking at the account critically, so not as a customer or fan, does it look like they have a strategy? Does it feel like their posts are there to serve a purpose such as achieving certain objectives? Do they post with some regularity or is it more ad hoc/whenever or only when the mood takes them?
A lot of small businesses approach marketing in this sort of “throw shit at the wall and see what sticks” kind of way. I get it. You don’t feel like you have time to spend planning posts and overthinking them. The problem with this is that you still spend time creating posts, but they’re unlikely to be particularly effective. Why spend time on something that won’t give you a good return on your time investment?
A good example is Instagram, the platform lots of people think is the one where businesses “have to be on” (spoiler: they definitely don’t). The result is the extent of their Instagram strategy is simply “be on Instagram” - they sporadically post pictures of things they think people might like, and they do so without considering clear objectives.
Now let’s just look at these Instagram stats:
These Hootsuite stats paint a clear picture that it is worthwhile investing the time and energy into approaching Instagram strategically.
And that’s just one platform - think about how you use Facebook for search and discovery, and how crucial it is when you are researching a company that is new to you.
Chances are your ideal audience does exactly the same thing on social media. What do they come across when they encounter your page for the first time? Out of date photos? Patchy information? Mediocre reviews?
Impress them right from the start. Here are ten things you can do today to make sure that first impression really packs a punch.
Get a decent profile picture. You can absolutely get creative: just because it’s a business page it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to use your logo - or only your logo. Think about your brand personality - is it fun? Then make sure your profile picture conveys that. Is seasonality important in your business? Then try to incorporate this visually into your profile picture. Think about how clear it will be when it appears (small) on someone’s smartphone. Will it be more impactful to have less detail on the photo so what you have there stands out more?
Make sure any photos you use are high resolution, crisp and clear. Grainy, low-quality images make it look like you don’t care and don’t do your brand any justice.
Can you do something creative with your cover photo? Use Canva (a free design program for non-designers) for inspiration and to ensure your cover photos are the correct size for each platform. (Check out how I can help with Canva here.)
What does your bio say? Is it bland or does it grab the visitor? Think about your “why” - does your purpose come across clearly in your bio or are you just the same as your competitors?
What’s the date of your most recent review? See if you can increase the number of reviews on your page - start by asking people directly.
Look at your Business Info on Facebook. Is everything still accurate? Can you convey your brand personality and purpose more clearly?
Is it clear what people are supposed to do with the information in front of them? Where there is a call-to-action option (such as on a Facebook page), check that you are happy with what it says and where it links to, or see if it can direct users somewhere more suitable.
Invite people to like your page or give you a follow. Social proof is the concept that when someone sees lots of others have already done something - such as like a Facebook page - they are more inclined to do the same. Don’t get obsessed with playing the numbers game though - there are far more worthy metrics to chase than numbers of likes.
On Instagram, is the current link in your bio the very best it can be? That means, is the information you link to the most important and most clickable information? It certainly doesn’t always have to be your homepage; choose something that has high relevancy right now, such as a current promotion, news focus or recent blog post. Use Linktree for maximum link impact.
What have you got as Story Highlights on Instagram? Can you theme your highlights to tell the story of your business?
If you need a bit of help getting your marketing sorted this Spring, check out my coaching packages. I can help you with the ABC of marketing coaching: Accountability, so you stop saying “I really should be doing that” and actually start doing it. Bravery, because you need to get out of your comfort zone to do big things. And Cornerstones, because you need to get the basics of good marketing right for sustained growth.