Category Archives: Social Strategy

Taking time out

I have taken 18 months out of this business to concentrate on a few projects which also included my masters thesis being published. It has been rearranged as a case study in order to fit in the chapter parameters, but it is still true to the thesis idea.

It’s not always recommended to take time out of a new business but sometimes other opportunities need to be taken in order to grow. I have spend the past 18 months working on a large grant project with an industry organisation, plus have been very involved with my local chamber of commerce.

Volunteering within and for, the business community has been rewarding on a personal level and has enabled future business growth. I have updated websites, helped with social media plans and platforms, learnt more about social media, talked up grant opportunities for businesses, mentored trainees and juniors, and worked with leaders in business, industry, and government. It’s been busy!

Feel welcome to grab a cuppa and have a read of my work.

Collaboration – a case study


Today’s article is all about time – a commodity that can be in short supply in business, both small and large.

Let’s start with how much time is spent in the business compared to ON the business. Business owners and managers all recognise that they need to spend time ON the business (planning, strategy, marketing and other administrative tasks) and now they need to add another bow to their string by managing their social media presence.

“My goodness! I don’t have time to waste on Facebook / Twitter /Pintrest / Google+ etc” are the words most commonly used. ‘Wasting’ time on social media is the first hurdle to get over. Time spent on social media marketing and communication is only wasted if it is not directed to the intended (and engaged) audience.

Knowing what content to post is half the journey, next is when to post it. Scheduling tools are very useful for a business’ main tools but it doesn’t mean schedule and forget. A business needs to check back for the interaction through the social media forums.  This is where the conversations and online relationships with potential customers are forming. Check out this article from Social Media Connect about  the popular and free scheduling Facebook tools.

Scheduling posts means that a business can set aside a block of time in a week and plan out the social media activity. It is very important to check back on the content that is planned in the event of a wider public occurrence (floods, fires, etc) to ensure that material is not seen to be insensitive or inappropriate.

0da285d6430e196a058340415a13998fHow much time should be spent on social media communication? There is no definitive answer. Every business is different and has different needs. Points to consider are:

  • How many social media platforms is a business using
  • How much content do they have
  • What interaction are they getting from their fans / followers

Some forums require more interaction – think Twitter and Facebook, others are less time sensitive. Trip Advisor and similar  customer review sites should also be considered as social media.

Responding to feedback and comments is just as important as putting the original content out there. Potential customers like to see how a business has responded to good and bad reviews.

Setting aside small portions of the administrative day allows a business owner to check into social media and make the appropriate responses in a timely manner but does not consume hours of the day.

Planning out the content to match business events, marketing promotions,  anniversaries and other highlights strengthens and streamlines the message going out. Potential customers know what it is the business is telling them and the message isn’t getting lost amongst other ‘noise’.

I hope you enjoyed this article, please share amongst your social networks.

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Content – Finding Inspiration

In an earlier blog (What is relevant content?), we discussed having relevant content which can then lead to creating your content. What content do you use, how do you keep it fresh and exciting for your customers / fans/ followers? Some businesses are very dynamic and have new events or images available every day, others may have something new once or week or even once  a month. So, what do you do?

First we can rule out the ‘spam’ posts of cute animals / children etc – unless of course, this is relevant to your business. The key is relevance  and engagement. Once you know who your customers are, then you should have a very good idea of what content engages and appeals to them. Have your posting schedule worked out around what the business is promoting or the business activities. Have a Tuesday special?  Make that your Monday evening post (or Tuesday morning). You know that most of your fans are online later in the evening? Schedule your posts to show when they are online.  A little like seeing all those income protection advertisements during the evening news.

Nothing new in the business? Introduce a team member, or yourself if you haven’t done so already – make your business personal to your customers. Just remember to follow privacy protocols when posting about yourself and employees – no private contact details, professional images only,  and content to be business related. An example could be ‘Joe’s Fishing Supplies’ featuring their best salesperson, Frank. An image of Frank in the business, wearing work clothing along with a few words “Come in and say hello to Frank, he can tell you all about XYZ product as he is a keen beach fisherman. Ask him about his favourite fishing spot, tell him about the one that got away”

Amongst the social media blogging and commentator community, feelings are mixed about posts that ask for ‘Likes’, ‘Shares’, ‘Retweets’ etc. It may create a short term gain and even a database for future sales but to gain the most  benefit from this form of social selling, it is recommended to have your strategy and systems in place. This article by Keira Pedley provides a simple ‘how to guide’.

Keep your readers / fans engaged, throw in the occasional ‘funny’, but again, keep it relevant to your business. You may find that this type of post will create a lot of sharing and views, but do not be tempted to repeat these types of posts too often as they can be ‘off message’ about your business.  A schedule will help your business organise what you want to say and when. Analytics  and insight data will help your business see what has engaged your audience and allow you to adjust your posting schedule,  remove or change anything that is not resonating with your intended audience.

Inspiration does not come easily to many, especially small business operators who may be more concerned about the daily operations and business planning.  Our advice is to look back at your business, engage with your customers, see what is driving them to you. You may find your inspiration there.

Connect on Facebook or Google + .  Engage by leaving your comments and feedback, let’s continue the conversation.

Does your social media presence lead to sales?

The question that all business owners ask themselves when planning their marketing strategy and the budget allocations is: “What additional revenue will the business receive from this financial outlay?”. ROI (return on income) is the catchphrase that is most often used during these discussions.  To give any kind of indication of return, it means that a business’ strategic activities must be measured to see how successful each activity was.

Giving your business primary data from sources, other than relying on a customer remembering whether they saw a Facebook post or liked an Instagram picture, is essential for accurate analytics. Primary data allows a business to measure what activity  / content posted by the business has attracted the most attention and action. Has a Friday funny gone viral? Well and good if it has, but did it attract more potential customers back to the business social media site or to the website, did it create more conversations in the business forum? Was it relevant to the business? 

Web and blog sites can use google analytics, which can give a great indication of where traffic is coming from, where the customer is moving within a site and how long they are spending there. But – how do you measure the success of your social media? By typing in social media measurement tools into your search engine, you will be flooded with options, some more specific than others. There are free tools (basic versions) with costs to upgrade to a ‘full’ or ‘pro’ version. To help you make sense of all of that information, there are equally a  number of blogs and other articles that list the pros and cons of various software.  Quite often the decision of which metric to use will depend on a business’ budget, the time that can be allocated to reviewing the analytics, and also the expertise within the business. 

A business will not make sales from a  social media presence if your potential customers do not know that you are there. Promote your pages and links, engage with your audience and provide relevant content. If sales are your goal, make sure that your sales sites are easily accessible from your social media forums.

Where a post has created more fans / followers / +1’s , it can be classed as a good post. If that post has lead to a sale or sales enquiry on a website, phone call, email or in person, then it is a successful post. Not every post will generate a sale but it should generate interest and responses from the online community; without these responses – who is your business talking to?

Enjoyed the read? Would love to read your comments or about your experiences.

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