5 Ways To Stay Social On Your Business' Social Media (With Examples)

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Social media should be social.

It seems obvious, doesn't it? When it's up there, big and bold, it seems like the clearest, simplest thing in the world. But as content creators, so much of our work is focused on the 'media' of social media. We obsess about the right angles for our Instagram shots. We worry about the sound levels of our videos. We write, and rewrite, and rewrite the headlines of our blog posts. 

And all those things are important. Your photos should be high quality; your Facebook Live videos should be HD and horizontal. But there is a reason why social is the first word in social media, because fundamentally, social media platforms are for us to connect with others.

So that's nice and all, what does that mean for your business? When brands share content that's emphasized on building relationships with customers, not just promotional content, they get higher rates of engagement. The more your fans engage with your content, the more likely they are to engage with your content -- and eventually buy your product. Or better yet? They'll share your business' posts on Facebook, serving as ambassadors for your brand.

So now that we know the why for your brand to be more social, friendly, relational, how do you stay social on your business' Facebook, Instagram or Twitter? Here are five easy ways to stay social.

1. Ask Questions To Drive A Conversation

What's your favorite color? I'm sure you immediately thought of a favorite color before moving on in this little paragraph, because even though this content is important to you, mentally, we're all programmed to answer questions when asked. Use this little psychological tick to drive engagement by asking questions that are related to your business. For a thought leader or service industry, it could be a motivational question. For a bakery, it could be asking what is a customer's favorite flavor. For a tire shop or travel agency, it could be asking what is your next destination. Asking questions is a great way to start a conversation.

2. Engage Your Fans In Comments

Once you've got a conversation going, then it's your turn to dive in. Join the conversation by responding to questions in the comments as your business page, making your brand look friendly, approachable, kind. Engage users by responding with their first names and a quick sentence as a response. "Hi Emily! Chocolate chip is our favorite cookie flavor, too." Use emojis or gifs if you're feeling fun, and use some word play. Keep the conversation going by responding to all comments if you don't have much conversation, or build on momentum by responding strategically to just positive or well liked comments. 


3. Host a Giveaway On Your Account

Your fans have liked your business on Facebook, but we want them to love your business. Spread the love to your hard-earned social media fans by hosting giveaways or contests on your social media accounts. Encourage users to enter by commenting on a post. Then, follow up with publicly announcing a winner in a separate post, while tagging the user in the initial post. All of these little extra steps give your account a personal touch, where fans aren't just talked to, they're spoiled with love, attention and free items of things they want. Read 3 more rules for hosting better Facebook Giveaways here.


4. Showcase The Faces Behind Your Business

Make your business feel more personal by showcasing the people who make it all happen. Host a Facebook Live event at your business showing all the beautiful holiday decor in your store. Record and post a simple weekly video that provides one tip to make your fans' lives easier. Have your servers share their favorite items on your menu at your restaurant. Don't force any team member to participate, but showing the real people behind your business can be a powerful empathy building tool. People aren't supporting your auto shop, they're getting an oil change from Tom and Steve. People aren't choosing your chiropractic center, they're going to visit Dr. Bryan. We trust people more than brands, so put your best foot and face forward.


5. Know and Follow the 4-1-1 Rule

So those other four tips? They're nice and all, but how does me recording a video with my face or a doing a giveaway drive sales for my business? I hear you, and I hope you'll hear just one thing from me today: follow the 4-1-1 Rule. Considered the golden rule of social media lead generation, the 4-1-1 rule is:

For every one self-serving post, you should share one entertaining piece of content and most importantly, share four pieces of relevant content written by others. 

Math is hard, but if you follow the 4-1-1 rule, that means 84% of your content should provide value to your fans and only 16% of your content should be promotional. That means only 16% of your content talks about sales in your store. That means only 16% of your content is about tonight's specials in your restaurant. That means only 16% of your content should include the phrase 'BUY NOW!'

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Scroll through your business' Facebook page. If it's 80% promotional and 20% social (or worse), this is why you're not generating sales from social media. Your customers have tuned out your business, just like they ignore the ads they see on TV and the billboards they drive by. People don't buy from brands, they buy from people who build relationships with them. Start building a relationship with your audience.

If you're looking for a transparent digital marketing agency that will build relationships to turn your fans into buying, happy brand ambassadors, we're here to help transform your business or partner with your current agencies as a consultant. Contact us to schedule a free consultation. 


3 Rules For Hosting Better Facebook Giveaways

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Everybody knows how to host a giveaway on their Facebook page. Right?

Well, of course, you post some kind of a visual. But is it a photo of a product? Or do you share a graphic that has instructions on how to enter the contest? Shouldn't your business' logo be obvious in the post?

And what should they do to enter? To win, they should like your Facebook page, right? But how do you check that? How do you verify that someone has liked your Facebook page? And how long should you give your followers to respond to a giveaway? A giveaway should be urgent, like they get the prize soon, but how soon? Is two days enough, or should you do maybe, like, two weeks? 

But how do you get the prize to the winner?

What if you want to do a video contest? I saw that one Facebook page had a really cool video contest.

Wait -- how do you select a winner?! How do you let them know they won? Does the winner have to sign anything to accept the prize? Do they have to post that they won to receive their prize? Do you create a graphic announcing the winner? How do you announce a winner?!?!

Everyone knows how to host a giveaway on their Facebook page, until a business owner decides they actually want to host a giveaway on their Facebook page. 

In July, Checkmate Consulting created and began building a community of engaged followers for an ongoing client, Ozarks Technical Community College Technical Education Division. One of our first tasks after launching was to build a fan base on engaged users on Facebook. An easy way to do that is to host a giveaway. Our first giveaway went so well, we hosted two. But what defined the success of these giveaways is that we held fast to these 3 Rules for Better Facebook Giveaways.

1. Pick the Right Prize

For OTC Technical Education, we wanted to attract followers to the Facebook page that already like OTC, Missouri's largest community college, and would engage with content. So we chose a that reflected the values of the followers we wanted to attract. With the help of the college's corporate communications office, we were able to get a swag bag full of branded goodies. It was no cost, but it was something tangible that users would want. These weren't just pens and posts, it was a draw string bag, water bottle and more. We arranged it in a flat lay to clearly showcase the content of the swag bag.


2. Ask the Right Ask

One of the primary goals of the OTC Technical Education Facebook page is to attract current and prospective students to engage with its content. Traditional college students, those 18-22 year olds, they communicate differently on the Internets. So we asked that users to comment with an emoji how they felt about back to school season. To enter was simply a tap and a second tap to enter, and we made it clear how to enter in both the post caption and on the giveaway graphic itself. No share, no like, but that engagement would drive it to be in the News Feeds of followers you already have -- and their friends. That drives more and more eyes and easy entries to your contest. Bonus: Comment contests are the easiest to determine the winner. 


3. Activate Your Base

You've launched your contest. Now what? Bang the drum and get the word out there! Giveaways are a great, appropriate ask of your employees to share a contest. A quick email out to the team with a link to the post you'd like them to share instantly gets your contest in front of more eyeballs, and your employees won't mind because one of their friends could win the contest. Plus, contests are great content to reach out to a corporate or business ally to share your content. More than 25 OTC Tech Ed staff members shared the contest on their personal accounts. And a quick note to a communications team at brand's social media manager that is in your page's family can amplify your contest instantly. With Tech Ed's back to school giveaway, we dropped a quick note to the social media manager for the entire college's Facebook page (and its 15,000 likes). The OTC main page shared our contest, and we doubled our page's likes in less than an hour. 


Follow these Three Rules for Better Giveaways, and see the results. And don't forget to comment on the post who won the contest and to have that person private message your Facebook page to determine how to best get the item they won to the winner.

Because without a winner, a giveaway is just a scam. Right?

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The Tale of the Snail

For brands on social media, there’s always a balance between sales and social.

You want to make personal connections with your followers, but you want to have them connect with products. You want to build communities, but you want your communities to be mobilized. You want a return on investment, but you don’t want to alienate your followers by pushing your products over and over again.

That’s why it’s so important to have a social media strategy that has a good mix of content featuring hard, soft and no-sales language at all. Consider it fluff, but it should never be considered filler. Content that engages with your followers authentically with no salesmanship, while speaking to the mission of your brand, can be a fun way to engage with your followers and build brand awareness. They’ll like and share your content without even realizing it’s a billboard for your brand’s logo and mission.

This concept, though, is so hard for some digital marketers to understand. If there aren’t clicks, if there aren’t sales, if there’s not a point of conversion, they feel the content is a missed opportunity at best and a waste of time at worst. But the next time I get into this ongoing debate with a digital marketing friend, I’ll have a secret weapon: a snail.

At Checkmate Consulting, I began managing Diet Center Cincinnati‘s Facebook page less than two months ago. The page’s presence was small: it only had 110 likes at the time of posting this graphic on Jan. 6. But although its presence was tiny, my goals for the brand on social were big. My No. 1 goal in my first 90 days was to help legitimize this brand in its local community, where weight loss center claims and services are automatically met with skepticism, and to increase brand awareness dramatically.

So, the first week of 2016, I made the above graphic in Canva (a handy tool) based on a suggestion by my client. She had seen a version of this graphic above online somewhere and thought it would be cute to post on Diet Center’s Facebook page. I created the above graphic and posted it on Facebook with this caption:

“We believe in you. Do you? #winatlosing”

The caption was short, the message was simple, and it got a response from Diet Center’s small but engaged community on Facebook. So, a couple of days later, I boosted the post for $25 and 14 days.

And the engagement started pouring in.

Hundreds of likes were made to the post, and people started commenting on the post as well bits of encouragement about their own slow but steady journeys to success. But most valuable, the post in 14 days received 73 shares and counting — with 52 shares originating from unpaid views of the post. Individuals who had never heard of Diet Center were sharing our content that shared Diet Center’s mission: that wellness in achievable, if you just keep trying.

By spending 10 minutes creating a clever graphic and $25 to promote this post to Diet Center’s target audience, more than 18,000 people in the Cincinnati, Ohio community ended up seeing this graphic that featured Diet Center’s logo and hashtag.

There wasn’t a conversion page, there wasn’t a sign up form, but we had more than 100 profile views while this post was being boosted. We received more than 20 page likes from this post (a 22 percent increase) and every person who shared this post was in Diet Center’s target demographic: Cincinnati area women, ages 25-60.

But most importantly, Diet Center in all of those eyes was seen as a brand that cares about people and their progress. Telling the story of a brand and making real, authentic connections with people makes turns them from followers to fans. And bottom line, for my sales-minded friends? Fans buy products, and if they receive a positive experience from a product, they become ambassadors for a brand.

Oh, and one last thing: One person who saw this snail messaged the Facebook page to get in touch with a representative — and ended up registering for a diet plan at the Center.

There’s a time and place for a snail for every brand on social media. What’s your snail content?