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5 Time Saving Social Media Tips for Small Business Owners

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Startups and small business owners often tell us, time is one of the biggest limits they have; they simply don’t have time to devote to everything. Focusing on social media adds another layer to your already business days. Here are five simple tips to help you manage the social media best.

1. Follow your social media plan.

Each year you spend precious time creating your social media plan based on our goals for the year. Are you using it? Keep your plan visible as a reminder of the topics and campaigns you want to cover. This reminder helps you focus on the things that will make the most impact for your business.

2. Schedule your social media posts.

Instead of trying to remember to post to your social media profiles daily, schedule your posts ahead of time. This tip saves you time and assures your stay active on social media. Set aside an hour or less each week to do it.

Facebook pages have a function to schedule multiple posts. There are also other tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer, and Sprout Social with scheduling features.

3. Focus on two social media platforms.

Just because there are many social media platforms out there, you don’t have to use them all. Find out which social media forms your customers are using and focus on those. Consider what kind of social media will best showcase your products or services. By limiting your attention to precise social media, you will make better use of the profiles you use.

4. Curate content that your customers will find useful.

Each post you make does not have to include content you created especially for your business. There is a variety of content that you can curate. Just make sure you select quality material that your customers will like or find useful.

5. Know when to hire help.

Entrepreneurs often prefer to focus on their expertise and work in running the business. Why not hire someone to focus on social media for you? There are may be instances when your social media needs increase such as during a major campaign and using an expert makes sense.

Don’t be afraid to hire a specialist; it is more affordable than you think. Many times consultants have monthly fees for a set amount of tasks.

After using these simple tips for a while, you will tame the social media beast in now time at all.

 

Is Your Hashtag Showing?

Is Your Hashtag Showing?Is it an octothorpe, a pound sign, or a hashtag? No matter what you call the # symbol, using hashtags in social media is a widespread practice. Some people love using them, but it seems that they have forgotten the point of using them. There are also plenty of haters. Linguistics experts, such as UC Berkeley’s Geoffrey Nunberg, say that the use of “hashtags is lazy and reduces the irony in communication.”

Whether you love them or hate them, it has become clear that tags are here to stay. Here’s a rundown on avoiding epic fails and some no-nonsense tips for using tags in social media.

In the Beginning

The word “hashtag” officially became a word according the Oxford English Dictionary in June of this year. Microsoft Word, on the other hand, does not believe it. I’ve read a couple of versions about the birth of the hashtag, but the generally accepted version, is that an Google employee, Chris Messina, invented the use of hashtags in 2007 as a way to organize messages into groups. If you knew the hashtag, you were in the know: an insider.

Today, hashtag use is an evolving practice and no longer limited to just Twitter. Most of the major social media platforms support some use of hashtags. Facebook came late to the game and finally added hashtag functionality in 2013 to capture marketing dollars tied to hashtags.

Hashtags allow people to share ideas, sentiments, or to promote something specific.

Avoid Epic Fails

Sometimes companies and marketers completely miss the mark and hashtag fails occur. One epic “fail” occured when Susan Boyle released an album in 2012. Her PR folks created the infamous #susanalbumparty tag to promote the album; it released a media frenzy and a slew of crude and unflattering posts.

To avoid fails when using hashtags do your homework first. Research the tag (hashtags.org is a good source) to identify any potential damage to your message. Share it with others just for a sanity check.

Mind Your Manners

Sometimes hashtags don’t fail but how they are used is just plain ugly. Some people love them so much every word in a post includes a hashtag. Excessive use of hashtags in social media is a newbie mistake. Tagging every word does not add to the social media conversation. Use them to call out your carefully thought-out keywords, specific ideas, or to promote campaigns and events.

Another ugly use of hashtags (a personal pet peeve) is making them extremely long. Tags should be easy to read; nothing is better than when they are short and sweet. Besides, no one is going to remember that drawn-out sentence and in Twitter they take up too much real estate.

No-nonsense Tips

1.   Research your tags.

2.   Stay within the one to three range in a single post.

3.   Make them short and sweet.

4.   Be specific and authentic.

5.   Add to the conversation.

Whether you are a small business owner or social media maverick, using hashtags is a pivotal part of your communication work. Don’t feel intimated by hashtag critics; take a look at their Twitter feeds. They too are tagging just as much as the rest of us. Yes, even Geoffrey Nunberg’s feed is littered with hashtags.

Share your hashtag pet peeve or your favorite tip.

4 Things Travel Can Teach Us About Social Media


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Summer travel – you can’t beat it. Crowded airports, screaming children, walking through gate after gate looking for the iconic green sign that tells you caffeine is near. As I sat through a long layover in a tiny airport in Florida, I consoled myself by browsing through the trip images I had captured on my phone and smiled.

Cancun turned out to be a hub of activity and fun. Lo and behold, social media played a big part in organizing much of my activity without actively setting out to manage it. As I waited for my flight and thought about it longer, I realized my travel provided pointers about social media.

Here’s four of my favorite, travel inspired tips about social media.

1. Know What Your Client’s Care About

In Cancun, I stayed at a boutique resort where the staff was eerily aware of when to engage and when to blend into the scene. They seem to know when I wanted to be left alone to ponder my thoughts while sipping a margarita and when I was interested in hearing about a trip recommendation. If I asked about a restaurant, the concierge told me all about the restaurant and offered to make the reservation for me. Then, she gave me a card to present to the restaurant and as a result the staff treated me well and provided extra perks.

Before you create your next awesome piece of content, make sure you know the type of information that your clients care about and find useful. For instance, an owner at an independent pet supplies store noticed that its customers often engaged with stories about rescue pets. The owner added to her plan weekly stories about rescues and pets still waiting for their forever homes.

2. Make it Easy to Share

For me a vacation is rarely complete without a massage. Having never been to Cancun before, I quickly scoured my social media favorites to find a day spa that turned out to be a gem. I certainly appreciate reviews before I visit a place for the first time, but why is it sometimes so hard to share information about a specific place?

Make the content on your website or in social media easy to share. Add a button that allows people to easily post without having to worry about links and images. Make it easy for them to add their perspective on your content.

3. Customize Your Images

One of my favorite dinners occurred on the last night of the trip at a seafood fusion restaurant. I had read a recommendation of the restaurant in a travel magazine. I don’t remember the magazine, but the images featured both in the article and the restaurant’s website sold me. They were beautiful and memorable. As the taxi pulled up to the eatery, I recognized the location immediately.

If there’s no money in your budget for professional photography or one-of-a-kind images be your own photographer. Images of your actual products and business connect better than run-of-the-mill stock images. However, if you must use stock images, customize them with your brand colors or with text that conveys your ideas. There are creative ways to make images your own.

4. Be a Surprise

A highlight of the Cancun trip was an all-day trek to see Mayan ruins and a stop for swimming at one of the numerous “cenotes” in the area. The trip was not a surprise since it’s a common type of trip for the area and I knew the itinerary. The trip experience and how we were treated on the trip left me smiling.

Our guide and driver delivered a fun and unique experience. He gave us great tips at each of our stops and timed our stops to be either ahead of or behind the crowds. At one meeting place, I had just started enjoying a much needed drink on a humid, hot day when our driver arrived announcing the van was ready. The server was getting ready to pour my drink into a to-go cup, but our driver convinced the server to let me keep the glass. They did.

People like to see regular rotations of stories and information. For example, a cupcake artist, who is a friend, regularly posts info about interesting cupcake flavors and pictures of her latest creations. Every once in a while, she shares events considered off the beaten path. The event posts seem to generate more engagement. Posting something unusual or out of the ordinary is unexpected and noticed. Work to develop your brand, but keep your audience waiting to see what happens next.

Has travel inspired any tips for you? Share your favorites; they don’t have to be about social media.