Tips for using Social Media correctly in your small floristry business
Traditional advertising for businesses was expensive and had a long lead-time for development however, the introduction of social media changed the advertising and marketing environment significantly. Social networking sites (commonly known as social media) dominate all other forms of advertising today.
Social media demonstrates the strong convergence of interpersonal communication, creative content and mainstream media communication. You now have the ability to grow something from a small home business with a modest following to a large business with international following. Understanding how to use social media correctly is the biggest trap for small business.
So, where do you start?
Start with a website
Gone are the days of Yellow Pages being the first go-to when someone is looking for a business. Most people will search online for products and services, therefore it’s important to have a professional website. There are inexpensive and easy-to-use platforms that allow you to build your own website, such as SquareSpace, or you can hire a professional web designer to design your site for a fee.
Hiring a professional can be worth it, not only to provide a professional look but also to assist with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). SEO campaigns help your website appear in search engine results. The aim for business is to appear in the top 10 (ie the first page of search results). This requires knowledge of the constantly changing search engine algorithms. This can also be achieved by increasing traffic to your sites.
This leads us to our next step - developing a social media presence.
Developing a Social Media Presence
Choosing your social media platform(s) can be as confusing as knowing which posts are required where. Choosing the correct media outlet for the correct target audience and demographic is vital to your marketing strategy. Not all social media platforms are appropriate for all posts. For example, twitter is a broadcasting media therefore posting a traditional pretty posy clip on twitter won’t be as effective as posting it on Instagram or Facebook.
Let’s take a look at the different Social Media platforms you can work with:
- Facebook - 15 million active Australian users per month
Videos are becoming the most popular media on facebook. You can develop “how to videos” or slideshows of the stages of your floral constructions. Facebook is also still a great tool for photos and text posts.
- YouTube - 15 million active Australian users per month
If you can attract enough subscribers, YouTube can be an effective platform for building business through videos. You might video the start to finish of a wedding, from sourcing flowers right through to a bride walking down the aisle. Telling a story always keeps followers entertained!
- Instagram - 9 million active Australian users per month
Instagram is THE place for photos! Viewers appreciate and love visual content on Instagram. Post high resolution photos and don't forget to hashtag where appropriate.
- LinkedIn - 4,200,000 active Australian users on their app
LinkedIn is the professional network. This is a great site for attracting quality staff, business clients and posting company news. Although it's a professional site, don't forget to include some fun on your company news posts.
- Twitter - 3,000,000 active Australian users approx.
Twitter is a broadcasting media - it's focus is on news, real-time comments and GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format animations).
- Pinterest - 290,000 active Australian users
Pinterest is another great visual media. You can build boards of different styles of flowers and use it for creative ideas.
Any Social Media platform you decide to use must always be monitored. Unmonitored social media can be detrimental to a business, positive comments and negative comments left with no response or a large delayed response time, can lose audience engagement. The following provides some general guidelines to follow:
- DO engage with followers - ask questions, try to start a conversation with followers
- DO reply to comments - both positive and negative comments - in a constructive, professional and appreciative tone
- DO support other reputable businesses - this is referred to as cross-networking and helps build relationships within the business community
- DO aim for 5-15 quality posts per week - this depends on your business, community and your followers
- DO use hashtags to target a group, for example: #bridetobe #realwedding
- DO use hashtags to join a campaign/event, for example: #flowersofinstagram #carnivalofflowers2018 #timesup
- DO research hashtags to get the best use of your hashtags
- DON'T use hashtags that are too long, for example: #iwantyoutoreadthisandbuywhatiamsellingbutitwillbetoolongtounderstand
- DON'T use more hashtags than words in your posts
- DON'T hashtag everything
- DON'T use social media to simply advertise - use it to inform, entertain and start conversations
- DON'T delete negative comments - always publicly address the situation in a professional and polite manner. Handling a negative comment successfully can increase your following and build your reputation.
- DON'T use a controversial headline to get clicks - this is called 'like-baiting'. It doesn't build a positive image of your business, and usually does more harm than good.
- DON'T post too much - you will become spam and this will result in being unfollowed. If you don't feel that you have a quality post, then it's best not to post anything
- DON'T fall behind - stay up to date with technology and research your competitors
- DON'T copy competitors
Implement, monitor and refine!
“You can’t manage, what you can’t measure” is a well-known quote by Peter Drucker. Understanding what posts work, and what posts don’t work, means you can improve your social media presence. You can start simply by tracking the likes, comments or shares of your posts, and by viewing your website traffic; or you can hire a professional to provide analytics. Once you understand what is working, you can build on it.
This article provides a few tips for developing and building your social media presence. The best tip is to stay true to who you are and be consistent with your branding.
Have fun scrolling and posting!
Contributor: Corrie Van Brooks