Do you ever find yourself out of ideas? Everyone does. This episode addresses exactly that - how to keep your social media presence from becoming a non-presence! For full episode, see below.
Hi everyone and welcome to episode 11 of Your Social Media Journey. I am super excited that this is the 11th episode, I am over ten episodes and that my friends, is worthy of a little tea party for me. I shall by throwing myself a little party to celebrate!
If this is your first time listening to my podcast, my name is Shikhita and I started my business, Fair Cake, in 2007. In the last eleven years or so, I have extensively used social media to promote and market my business. Fair Cake now boats of more than half a million followers across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and is still going strong as London’s best Cake School. In this podcast, I share my experiences of starting and running a business, and, above all, how I use social media to minimise my marketing budget. I also interview other business owners and discuss with them their strategy of how they use social media on a day to day basis to best represent their business online, to find new clients and to advertise and market their products and services.
Today, we will chat about that dreaded question, WHAT TO POST. I have another podcast episode about Content Creation, this was episode number 2. This was all about content creation and has some great ideas. So if you haven’t yet had a listen to that episode, do check it out after this one. That question, that What-To-Post question - I am VERY familiar with that. I have two businesses, one is this, where I produce this podcast, have an Instagram account where I answer everyone’s questions and offer one to one consultancy on building and maintaining a strong social media for businesses. This takes up a fair bit of my time. I also currently manage the Fair Cake social media, which is Facebook and Instagram (and a bit on Pinterest) - the two businesses are very different! So when I say that I am well aware of the What-To-Post question. And sometimes, it matters most when I am just about to go for a little break, a holiday or just when I am NOT in a mood to create and share - and I am sure you have felt this too. Whatever business you are in, you do not want to be all chirpy when you are having a tough day! However, you and I both know that a decrease in your content production rapidly leads to a decrease in audience engagement. And nobody wants that! So in this episode, I will walk you through what you could be doing to avoid long delays between posting on Facebook and Instagram - these are the two social media networks that MOST of my audience uses, so this is where I will focus today. And how do I know what my audience is using? Because of all the emails and DMs I get, plus all of my one to one work that I do with clients. So far, my clients have been individuals who have set up their own business and wish to use social media as an effective marketing tool. But, of course, time is a limiting factor. If you had limitless time, of COURSE you would post on Instagram and post on Facebook and pin on Pinterest and tweet on Twitter and create for YouTube and link on LinkedIn. But, all of us have 24hrs, so what you do with those 24hrs is crucial.
What we decide to do with our 24hrs is crucial. So you must decide which social media platforms YOU want to be a part of and where your audience hangs out. I decided to focus on Facebook from 2009 - 2015 and then my focus shifted from Facebook to Instagram. Why? Because my audience went over to Instagram. It is July 2019 and these are the latest figures that I have found about demographics using different platforms. I will, of course, link to the source of this date in the show notes:
Facebook - The user-base on Facebook is skewed towards women, with 54% of women and 46% men using it. In the UK, Instagram shows a similar skew towards women using Instagram more than men. LinkedIn, however, according to data released by MicroSoft, its parent company, has 60% users that are male with 40% female users - so there is a huge difference there. Similarly, Twitter has 60% male and 40% female users. Please do bear in mind that all this data comes from users’ own input - and we all now know about bots and fake accounts and all THAT jazz. So do take everything with a giant pinch of salt. But it is not hard to figure out where your business lives. I had an account on Facebook and simply by keen listening, I was able to figure out that my audience was moving to Instagram because they were tired of family dramas being played out on Facebook! There - that is information you won’t find on any official study - people do not like drama, so they hopped over to Instagram. Nobody LEFT Facebook, they simply added Instagram and spent more time on it!
So, coming back to what to post. I am sure you have a pretty good idea of where your audience is hanging out. You don’t? Where you DO hang out? If you are a sole trader or the owner of a small business, chances are that you use social media - otherwise, I do not think you would be listening to this podcast! Si where do YOU spend most of your time? Because if you are spending most of your time looking at Instagram, you clearly like that style of interaction and imagery and THAT is where you will be best building your audience. However, if you prefer Facebook, which IS more personal and is now encouraging more and more private conversations, that is perhaps where your own talents will lie. Do not underestimate the knowledge you ALREADY have from being on these platforms!
Now, organising your content on social platforms is different for different platforms and this is where a little bit of planning come in handy. That What - To - Post question becomes much easier if you already know, at least roughly, which topic you will be talking about or what subject you will be addressing. It is also cool to know some tips and tricks to up your content game.
First of all, you do NOT need to produce ALL the content that you post. You heard that right. If a single person - running a business, making a product, delivering a service, doing the accounts, running their personal life, showing up as ALL their different avatars then had to CREATE EVERYTHING they post - nuh uh. Nope. I refuse to believe that they will have time left for anything! The beauty of social media is sharing. Think about WHY you are on social media in the first place. To play the long game. The long game is to attract and serve your very own audience, to inform, educate and entertain them - so that when it comes for them to buy a product or a service, they will buy from you. Simple. It simply does not work any other way. If all you did was post pretty pictures of your products online and expect people to buy, no matter how much you try, they will move on. Competition is fierce, my friend. However, if you understand your audience and, more importantly, your audience understands you, then you can do business together. So how does sharing come in? I will give you my own example. I must put my hand up and say that try as I might, I cannot create beautiful and meaningful quotes that really resonate with people. I cannot. I can talk, I mean, I can really talk, but these are long paragraphs, not succinct words. However, I LOVE reading quotes. A good quote for me is like a little treat, a little pick me up. Now, I completely realise that not everyone likes quotes. BUT, I also know that a large number of people DO like reading quotes and have a similar reaction to quotes, the same as I do. So, the next time I see a good quote, I share it on Instagram and Facebook stories. Sharing it as a story means that you do not need to write a lengthy ode to the creator (because, chances are, they probably copied it from somewhere anyway!) - nor do you need to format it. You simply share it. And bingo. You have shared content - completely legit. Of course, this means that YOUR account was active, that YOUR audience sees that content. And, if you are savvy enough to use polls/quizzes or interactive stickers, then it is YOUR account that will get engagement. So the next time you like something, save it - build your story around it and share it when you have nothing of your own to share. A little tactic that totally, legitimately, works.
The reason you want to maximise engagement is simple - your engaged audience, one that routinely interacts with you - THEIR friends and family see their engagements. For instance, on Twitter, if I follow someone, I see, on my feed, what THEY like. So I get a pretty good picture of what their personality is. In fact, I usually decide to unfollow someone NOT when they tweet something I do not like, but when they LIKE something I do not like! Similarly, on Instagram and Facebook, your audience can see what you like and dislike and, obviously, what you share. What you share is majorly important and not only paints a picture of what you are selling and why you are selling it, but WHO you are. And that Who matters a lot. Especially when you are selling a service, unless it is VERY very niche, you are competing with other people. And aside from a price point and the quality of what you are selling, it will be a similar product to what others are offering. Social media allows you to attract an audience of people who are similar minded to you. So if you share Seth Godin quotes, like I did today, and your audience likes it and reads it to the end, the next time they are online, your account will show up because they actively read and paused on your stories. And, you get bonus points if you manage to get them to interact with your account.
The next bit that you can do is to share User Generated Content, or UGC. Now, this is fairly simple to do - you can either share this content on stories or your feed. So what is user generated content, you ask? It is literally anything that your customers or clients are saying about, it is images and videos of customers or clients using or wearing or eating your product - its basically when your audience starts to upload THEIR images and videos of what YOUR business means to them. And this is absolute gold - because not only are you not having to create content for that one day, you can also show off your success. This only applies to an established business, of course, but is something to keep in mind. You need not have thousands of followers to start using UGC, you simply need an engaged audience who is happy enough with your products or services to shout out about your business on social media. To encourage the generation of UGC, you can offer incentives to people who do create this content for you. I am sure you will have seen special offers for cafe customers who agree to put a picture of their cup of coffee online, or special shout outs to customers promised in return for UGC. It need not always be about money, people get creative! The thing is that marketing and advertising professionals are not always appreciated - so when you see a business shouting out from the rooftops about why they are the BEST, they are not always trusted! Simple as that! People are savvy. But, if we see a friend of ours, someone we trust, say that this particular cup of coffee sets them up for the day, we will most likely check out the cafe ourselves, right? UGC gains you trust. Trust is everything on social media, which is why Authentic is such a big buzz word.
And finally, of course, as I mentioned in episode 2, a content calendar is everyone’s best friend. When you do have a spare afternoon, google Content Calendar. Agreed that most of the content calendars out there are absolute rubbish. I agree. Some of them are HUGE, like, HUGE. For every penny I had for filling out each of those cells in a massive spreadsheet, I could be a millionaire. Ok, a thousandaire. But you get my idea, do not just go and get yourself a massive content calendar. Look for one that looks like it is closely aligned with you and your audience. If, for instance, you are targeting a market where parents of school going children will be a large percent of your audience, then your content should reflect that over school holidays. So, on a spare afternoon (I am very jealous of your spare afternoons, by the way), say, in July, you could, if you wanted to, make some posts up about Christmas planning, holiday specific recipes, New Year party ideas etc. These holidays are not going anywhere and you can always use this content when YOU are on Oxford Street, shopping last minute! All you will have to do is to post it then and not miss out on that content train.
And why is it so important to post consistently? It is very simple - imagine someone finds you online, on social media - they find you on a Friday. They like your post, they like your business ethics, they love your content. Then, you disappear for two weeks. Your brand new follower will have moved on by then. Say they had a budget of £50 to buy their kid’s new shoes and it is exactly that, kids shoes that you sell - but while you disappeared entirely from their newsfeed, they might go head and spend that £50. That sale could have been yours. Now, before you say, but but - we were simply on a break! Yes, breaks work - but every single time I take a break, I see an immediate decline in engagement and followership. That is the truth, my friend, that IS the truth. So, if you are willing to sacrifice that - which you might be, then it is absolutely fine to take a break. But social media is a bit of a content crunching beast and, in my personal experience, only works if you consistently feed it. Just in case you are the ONLY person in your company that can manage social media, do consider scheduling your posts. My favourite scheduling app is Buffer, there is also HootSuite and of course, Facebook’s own Creator Studio. So check those resources out, they will be linked to in my show notes.
I hope this episode was useful in helping you understand content a bit more. I would LOVE to hear from you. You can find me on Instagram @yoursocialmediajourney or you can send me an email via my website www.yoursocialmediajourney.com. It is that time of the podcast again, where, without fail, I ask for a review or 5* rating, wherever it is that you are listening. Or, for bonus thank yous, please share this podcast with your entrepreneur friend. That’s it, begging finished. I have two absolutely fantastic interviews lined up for you in my next few episodes. One is all about Pinterest - a platform that I have not used in the way businesses are using it now and I have an absolute Pinterest expert coming in to tell us all about it. So you and me will both learn at the same time. Cool? Cool. Until next time, bye for now….