Whether you work in an office, or your business is out in the elements, your business has seasons. And most people can track those in their minds, even if they never put the information to paper. You know when the peak times are, and when the slow times stretch. You also know why. And for those with seasonal businesses you know that there are fluctuations within the seasons, which will affect you. A wet spring? A steamy summer? Those fluctuations require different reactions.
All of this is the mother lode of content!
And at the beginning of the year is the perfect time to sit down, and do an outline of your season. While you are doing this, ask yourself some questions.
1. Can you give a head's up to your clients about what is coming up? Can you put out a call for action?
2. What suggestions can you give to them? What tips?
3. What causes your slack times? What types of promotional can you use to head them off? Or at least ease them.
4. If your work is seasonal, what can you suggest for preparation for the coming season?
5. What should your clients know about weather related delays?
Of course, there are also those who are just starting out, and don't know your "seasons" yet?
Then you take a hard look at your products, or services. And ask yourself, what stories can you tell about those products or services?
Start off by telling about yourself. Your personnel. Why you were passionate enough to have started a business.
Spend time detailing aspects of your products, and services. Information - not just sales pitches.
And tell about your passions in the community. What are your favored charities? Where do you pitch in?
Established or new - tab into your seasons!
There are so many aspects to our businesses, so many little details, it is easy to forget those that have “been dealt with.” This particularly holds true for websites, and also for social media platforms.
When many of us came to the internet, and faced the fact that a website was necessary, we turned to an expert. And for the smaller businesses that meant either going with a friend (or a friend of friend), or a mid-range web design business. Of course, for many of us this was before even Facebook had been heard of. So we had our website designed, and it really looked high tech, and we even remembered to put it in our brochures.
Then social media came along……
The internet became that much more interactive, and just having a static web site was not enough. So some got brave, and went out and created a Facebook page.
Time passed and now the internet, along with our offices, is a Sargasso sea of lost passwords, and stray social media pages.
So, whether you are floundering in that sea, or are contemplating entering the world of social media, here are some things to check off.
1. Is your web designer still available?
2. Do you have all of the log ins and passwords for your website if you need to get a new designer?
3. Do you know where you put the passwords to your social media sites?
4. And if so, have you actually used those passwords in the last six months?
The reasons for these questions are simple. If you have decided to make the commitment to enter the realm of social media then you will need to have the icons on your website. And if you are doing blogging you will either need a blog on the site, or a link to a popular blog site (such Wordpress or Blogger). And with some of these sites, such as Pinterest and Google Analytics, you may have to have meta-tags installed to your site so information can be tracked.
Also, if your social media passwords are old then you will need to set up new ones.
You may also need to track down old, dead, social media pages.
The main thing to remember is that nothing is static anymore. So having the information at hand will save you time and frustration in the long term.
Reflection is always good at the beginning of the year. It not so much about resolutions, which always sound grand, but are hard to implement. Probably because they sound grand. We simply put too many expectations into them.
But reflection is a quiet word, and by its nature implies calm introspection.
So reflection is exactly what is needed when you are considering your approach to social media in 2014. It doesn’t matter whether you already are doing social media, or if you are just considering it, this is a perfect time to take a hard look at your approach.
Here are some things to consider as you are reflecting on the question:
1. What are your expectations of social media?
(Here you need to realize that social media is a marketing tool. Granted good material will help you attract a solid following, and that could well mean customers, but its part of a larger marketing campaign. Networking, brochures, and whatever else your marketing budget allows, are necessary. Yet, whether you are networking, or have materials to hand out, you need to make sure that your social media is listed. )
2. What platforms are you going to use? Are you thinking of only using just one?
(These social media platforms, and many of the others, such as Tumblr, are strongly influencing the search engines. Steady activity on the social media sites builds your visibility. It should also be kept in mind that each of the various platforms has their following. So by using all of them you reach those differing audiences.)
3. After you have decided on your platforms the next thing you need to ask yourself is, “How much time do I have for this?”
(This is a crucial question, because if you don’t have time for it, or can hire someone, then wait to implement a social media strategy when you can give it the time it needs.)
(Activity is one of the main keys to a social media strategy. Activity influences even how you show up in the newsfeeds of a your followers, and how long. It also influences how often you are mentioned on the search engines.)
4. “Sharing,” “Liking,” “Following,” and “Pinning” are aspects that businesses forget about in their social media strategies.
5. This brings us to the absolutely most vital part of your social media campaign – content!
(A few words on blogging. Blogging is a great original content, and usually someone, or many individuals, have expertise to share. However, many do not consider themselves writers, or get nervous. Blogging doesn’t have to be an essay. It can be biographical material about staff, or short tips. Or, if no one wants to write a blog, just offer tips out on the social media platforms.)
6. Lastly, a few ideas to consider in wrap up.
Cathy Mosley brings her 26 years of storytelling and writing experience to the realm of Social Media. To help small businesses.