What Social Media Sites Should You Be Using to Grow Your Business?

What Social Media Networks Should Your Business Be Using by HD Marketing & Creative

If you’re new to social media but you’re not sure what your business should be doing, here are some tips! Remember, it’s better to be active on one social media platform than to post infrequently on all of them. 

Facebook
No matter what industry you’re in, every business should be on Facebook. If you don’t have time to post every day, make it a habit to post every few days and make it a habit to be consistent. Facebook has become so popular it’s like your calling card. In many ways your business page is second to your Google listing.

Best For:

  • Small businesses
  • Marketing to local customers
  • Announcing and planning events
  • Dealing with customer service issues
  • Running contests and giveaways

Instagram
If you’re in the fashion, beauty, travel or creative industries, Instagram will serve you well. Instagram has a young demographic and Instagram is all about photos. Another key feature is that your newsfeed is based in real-time like Twitter, there’s no dealing with tricky algorithms like Facebook.

Best For:

  • Businesses with high quality photos – product photos, before and after photos, videos, styled shots etc.
  • Fashion brands, bloggers, Etsy sellers, hair and nail industry, photographers, wedding planners, restaurants, event venues
  • Showing off new products, food, before and after photos, art
  • Connecting with other brands, businesses and individuals

Twitter
Keep it short and sweet in 140 characters or less! Twitter is great for anyone in tech or marketing, it’s also great for anyone that represents an organization, runs their own business or has an area of “expertise.” If you have a blog, do any public speaking or want to network with others, Twitter is an awesome place to be.

Best For:

  • Tech companies, marketers, authors, speakers, funny people and any business that provides customer / product support
  • Alerting fans or followers of new content or blog posts, events or glitches
  • Resolving customer service issues
  • Networking with other professionals, live-chatting or answering questions

LinkedIn 
If you’re a business owner, professional, author or speaker LinkedIn is the best place to find opportunities. Whether you want to do business with someone, talk guest blogging or invite someone to appear on your radio show, this is a place to do it. On LinkedIn you can send a direct message without sounding creepy or weird and you don’t have to be shy about “friending” someone.

Best For:

  • Business owners and professional organizations
  • Connecting with people you’d like to do business with, get a recommendation from, share your content with and learn from
  • Getting your name out there and establishing yourself professionally

Pinterest
Ecommerce busniesses this is the social media network for you! With Pinterest you can pin all of your products and in one click potential shoppers are at your storefront. This is also a great platform for anyone in home decor, remodeling, travel and other photo-friendly industries.

Best For:

  • The Ecommerce industry
  • Fashion, beauty, bloggers, artists, fitness experts
  • Showing off products and online content

 

Learn what social media networks your business should be using!

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3 Tips to Grow Your Twitter Following

3 Tips to Grow Your Twitter Following via HighleyDesigned

My clients often ask me – “What should I be tweeting about? I’m not sure what to say and I’m afraid I’ll sound silly.” If you’re brand new to Twitter it’s easy to feel this way but you don’t have to be shy – Twitter isn’t like Facebook – you can say whatever is on your mind, ask a question or “share” (RT) a favorite quote. With Twitter, the more often you tweet the better. You don’t need to think of one profound statement or article to share each day – you can share many!

My best advice to anyone that’s brand new to Twitter is to learn from others. Take a look at what other people are tweeting or talking about and get some ideas of what you want your Twitter “voice” to sound like. If you’re a public speaker and you want to grow your audience and connect with other like minded women, look at the Twitter profiles of your biggest influencers like Oprah, MORE Magazine, Kim Garst etc. Even the president has a Twitter account these days. Take note of what others are tweeting about and how they are sharing information. Chances are if they have hundreds of fans and you find their content fun and interesting, they’re doing something right.

Now it’s your turn. Once you get used to tweeting regularly, sharing your blog posts and links to your website it’s time to start thinking bigger. If you’ve established a posting schedule and have great content it’s time to start expanding your audience. After all, there’s no point in sharing if no one is following! Here are some proven ways to grow your Twitter following without spending a dime. Trust me, they work!

  1. Tweet Regularly and Often and Interact with Others
    Not only should you tweet at least 4-10 times per day, you need to start interacting with others. Try to RT at least twice a day and thank people for sharing your content or liking a tweet. Use any interaction as a way to introduce yourself and if you want to learn more about someone send a DM and ask to connect on FB or LinkedIn.

    I’m not a fan of “salesey” DMs but with Unfollowers.com you can schedule automated DMs to go out to new followers and start a conversation with potential clients, customers or influencers. You can also auto schedule tweets to be sent to new followers, people who add you to lists etc. This is a great tool if you don’t have time to be on your phone throughout the day.

  2. Use Hashtags
    Hashtags are so important on Twitter. Not only do hashtags allow you to find out what’s trending and see what people are talking about, they allow other users to find YOUR content. For each tweet try to use at least one hashtag, and no more than four.

    When you’re trying to decide on what hashtags to use consider what’s trending, who you want to see your tweets, and what “category” you’d put your content into. For example, if you’re an educator you may use: #ChildhoodEDU #TedTalks #Homework #ParentingTips. Think about who the info is helping – parents. Who you want to reach – people that listen to Ted Talks. And the category you’re talking about – Childhood Education or Homework.

  3.  Participate in Twitter Chats
    Twitter chats are an awesome way to meet other people and gain followers. Usually hosted by a top influencer or organization, a Twitter chat will be scheduled to start at a certain time and that person or organization will tweet questions that anyone participating can answer. To be part of the chat use the specified hashtag and all of your answers will be categorized and searchable. You don’t have to answer every single question but if you have a great answer don’t be shy – share it! A chat is also an amazing way to interact with others. RT great answers that you agree with or reply to someone’s answer to say you love it / disagree etc. Your goal is to show off your expertise and find others that you can do business with, connect with or learn from.

 

 

The Fantastic 4 Tools for Social Media Marketers

The Fantastic 4 Tools for Social Media Markters by HighleyDesigned

 

1. Hootsuite

If you’re not using it yet, your life is about to change. Hootsuite allows you to schedule all of your posts for almost every platform in one place. You can also view your newsfeeds and Twitter streams from one place so that you don’t have to login and logout of every account you manage just to comment, like or RT. There are a handful of new sites like Hootsuite, but from my experience none of these new sites offer the sophistication and ease of their predecessor. Hootsuite has everything you need to effectively schedule posts and interact as your brand – all in one place. And it’s less than $10 per month.

2. Evernote

Evernote is a free app you can download on your phone and your computer. It syncs automatically so if you think of an awesome idea or make a note while you’re out and about, it will be on your desktop when you get back to your office. I use this ALL the time. It’s also a great place to save reminders, grocery lists… anything really. When you still have “baby brain” it is truly a life saver!

3. Canva

Canva is an amazing design site that lets you create professional looking social media graphics. It’s perfect for making FB cover photos, Twitter cards, question posts and more. You can choose from pre-made templates or design your own. If you use any of their “paid” elements like a stock photo or a custom design – they only cost $1.00 each. I love using Canva for branded posts. I start with a fun background then do some kind of text overlay – usually a question. These are great for engagement!

4. Unfollowers

If you’re not sure why your Twitter following is stagnant, this is an awesome tool. Unfollowers allows you to see exactly who’s following you, who followed you but unfollowed you and more. It also allows you to schedule Tweets and auto DMs. I don’t like super fake sounding auto DMs, or auto DMs that are trying to sell you something, but a friendly “thanks for following me, etc.” is a great way to start a networking conversation. Using Unfollowers you can track what works and what isn’t as effective so that you can grow your network in a smart way. Most plans start at $5-$10 per month!

 

~ Rachel

10 Tips for Working from Home (with a Baby)

working from home

1. Create a schedule
When I first began working from home I had only a few clients and could get most of my writing done at the beginning of the week leaving me with a few “free” days for running errands etc. That is no longer the case so a schedule has become essential. My schedule doesn’t dictate what time of day I work on things, but it does tell me what needs to be done each day. Mondays – Pinterest, Tuesdays – Blogging, etc.

2. Make a to-do list
I keep a simple Excel sheet with a list of my clients, what needs to be done and when. I date everything when it comes to social media management so that I remember when I last worked on something and when those social media accounts will need to be worked on again. Being able to schedule posts ahead of time is a huge advantage but I try not to go more than two weeks out because a lot can change during that time and I always want posts to be relevant. For additional items like “Buy dog food” or “Pick up dry cleaning” I use the app Evernote. It’s FREE and a great way to remember things. It syncs between my phone and laptop so no matter what I’m working on I have access to my latest notes or reminders.

3. Plan ahead
I like to stay at least one week ahead when it comes to content creation – this way if something comes up it’s not the end of the world. When you work from home it feels like you have all the time in the world to complete tasks but at the end of the day with a fussy baby there are moments I find myself saying “What did I do today??” If you know your little one is acting fussier than usual, plan ahead and get an extra hour of work done when he or she goes to bed, so that if you lose time the next day it’s okay. I also make sure to keep Dr. appointments, meetings and anything else on the same calendar so that I can plan around things and be prepared.

4. Take advantage of nap time
This is a big one. I will make sure to save my most challenging work for nap time. I try to do things like vacuuming, folding laundry and household chores when baby is awake because it doesn’t matter if I’m interrupted a million times, but when it comes to writing, design or content planning – nap time it is!

5. Be willing to be flexible
I recently read the quote “Perfectionism is the enemy of Hustle.” I think this is perfect for remembering to stay flexible. When you have a baby toddling around nothing is ever going to be perfect and this has taken me a while to learn. I am seriously OCD when it comes to my home and keeping things tidy but at the end of the day that doesn’t get things done.

6. Schedule phone calls
When you have a baby the worst thing that can happen is an unexpected phone call during nap time or a door bell ring followed by incessant barking and chaos from your 100lb dog. (Maybe that’s just in our household haha) Regardless, nothing can mess up your day like an unexpected 30 minute conversation when you could have done a bunch of other more important things during that time. I ask all of my clients to email first and if they need to talk on the phone that’s fine but I schedule my calls in advance so 1. I can be prepared and 2. It doesn’t mess up nap time and 3. It doesn’t interfere with my other work.

7. Plan time to check and respond to emails.
Email can be a major time-sucker. Unless it’s urgent I don’t open it right away – this way it remains highlighted so I know I need to come back to it. I try to check and respond in the morning and again later in the day. As much as I want to be available to my clients, email can become a serious interruption to other work. I find I can write a better response when it’s not rushed and I’m not doing other things so setting a time for email checking and responding has proven valuable.

8. Designate a work space
I love that working from home means I can work wherever, but I like some stability so when I sit down I know, “okay, it’s work time.” We have an “office” but I hate it. It’s secluded and baby girl has no room to play. I have commandeered the breakfast bar in the kitchen as my work space instead – there’s ample space for me to spread out papers, drink my coffee and plenty of outlets for chargers. Plus I can put baby Kline in her walker or jumper and let her go to town, all within watching distance. Having a work space is great – even my dog knows when I’m sitting here I’m not to be bothered.

9. Limit distractions
Okay, we all have our lazy work from home days when we catch up on our favorite shows or watch the Today Show for an hour but when it comes down to it I cannot do my best work with the TV on. Even catchy music can get distracting for me so I limit myself to a few classical Pandora stations for some welcome background noise. I highly recommend “Piano Guys” radio to anyone that loves music – it’s all instrumental versions of your favorite songs so it’s fun but not distracting. I’ve also learned to successfully tune out Disney radio but sometimes when Frozen comes on I just have to belt out “Let it go!” for the world to hear. (baby girl thinks I’m a great singer!)

10. Enjoy your little ones while you can!
The best part of working from home is getting to spend time with your little one (s) so do it! They may be your biggest inspiration when it comes to your next creative assignment and when I’m stressed nothing is better than some quiet time nursing my baby girl. Don’t forget why you’re working from home to begin with. “Work” can always wait or you can catch up on something when the kids are in bed.

What are your top tips for working from home with kids? I’d love to hear them!

– Rachel

7 Skills Awesome Social Media Manager’s Have Mastered

Tulip Garden

Lots of small businesses use someone in-house for their social media needs and it turns into a “blind leading the blind” scenario.  Just because the girl at the front desk has the newest iPhone, does not mean she can take great pictures or post engaging content. There’s nothing wrong with using someone in-house to manage your company’s social media pages, but before you ask someone to do it, there are some things you should consider. An awesome social media manager will possess each of these skills and know how to truly engage your target audience which is the goal of social media. So before assigning the task to someone in-house, ask yourself these questions or make this checklist a part of your hiring plan:

  1. Does your potential social media manager understand your business and know how to use a consist “voice” when it comes to posting content? Is their “voice” appropriate for your company and your target audience?
  2. Does this person have excellent writing skills? You want to make sure anything you’re posting on social media is an example of your best work. Typos and grammatical errors are simply unacceptable from someone that is acting as the “voice” of your company.
  3. Is this person knowledgeable of industry trends, pop culture, local events and holidays? You want your social media manager to relate to your target audience – they might be an expert in your business but if they can’t make a connection between what your business does and what consumers want to hear about you’re in trouble. Your social media manager doesn’t have to be young, but someone who’s well connected and knows how to use trending topics is a must.
  4. Does your potential social media manager have a new smart phone that’s capable of taking great photos? If not, consider supplying this. Photos are essential for social media and you need to make sure the person you’re entrusting your social media with knows how to take good pictures. Again, anything you’re posting online is a reflection of your company. Make sure the person who’s posting is capable of posting top-notch photos.
  5. Does this person know how to use apps like PicMonkey or Canva for creating social media graphics? If the answer is no, you’re dealing with an amateur. Sit down and review the apps together and get a better idea of your potential smm’s capabilities. Do they have an eye for detail? Are they able to create visually appealing graphics, headers etc?
  6. Is this person good at managing their time? Do they know how to schedule posts ahead of time? Social media can become a distraction if it’s not managed wisely. You want to make sure your smm is capable of scheduling posts ahead of time and staying productive. You also want to be sure this person will be attentive and quick to respond to comments and messages when necessary.
  7. Does this person have any experience with social media ads? Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest all offer affordable ways to advertise and promote events. If you want to take advantage of ads make sure your smm knows how to run a successful campaign – or is willing to learn. There’s nothing wrong with learning as you go, but makes sure whoever you’ve trusted with your social media is honest enough to admit when they need help or additional training. There are countless tutorials and webinars that can help you learn about ads, graphics and other features. Another way to learn is to follow social media blogs that share tips, best practices and more!

If you don’t feel confident using someone in-house for your social media you’re not alone. Many businesses these days are hiring marketing firms to manage their social media for them, but some come at a steep price. If price is an issue, look for a freelancer or someone that’s just starting out in the marketing business. If you’d like more information or pricing info for HighleyDesigned Marketing & Creative, I’m happy to set up a FREE 20 minute consultation. Use the contact form on my “About” page.

Thanks!

5 Facebook Post Ideas for When You Don’t Know What to Post

FB post ideas

Lots of people ask me – what should I be posting about? If they’re an ecommerce seller they struggle to post anything that’s not promotional – if they’re a small business they struggle to post anything “personal.” There’s no magical answer but regardless of your business type, social media is about telling a story. Through social media you have the ability to tell people about your brand, what your business is all about, your employees and your values. The goal is to use this information to spark engagement and ultimately create customers who will keep coming back. So when you’re not sure where to begin or what to post – here are some ideas to get you started!

  1. Post a photo! Photos perform a million times better than plain text posts so every post should include a photo. If you’re a small business, take a picture of your staff at work or snap a photo during your holiday party – let people see “what goes on behind the scenes.” Ecommerce sellers can post photos too. Take a picture of some new products you’re ready to list on Etsy or a stack of boxes that are ready to be shipped. At the end of the day, people love seeing the personal side of your business. Maybe your wife stops by with your baby and kids or it’s take your daughter to work day – these are the photos that make people “feel good” and show that your company values family, fun, creativity etc. Give it a try!
  2. Post a quote! People love quotes and they get more shares, RTs and repins than just about anything. You can create a graphic with a photo and simple text overlay using sites like Pic Monkey or Canva. Both are free!
  3. Post a link to an article! Take note of holidays, trends etc and post relevant links your fans will find interesting. That might be a link to an article with fun ways to carve pumpkins because Halloween is just around the corner, or maybe something important is happening locally – share a link with info about the town’s Halloween parade and festival (especially if your business is a part of it).
  4.  Post a link back to your website! Your goal is to get people to use your product or services so post a link to your website once in a while when you update your blog, add new photos or offer coupons. You don’t have to be “salesy” if people have a reason to visit your site. For example, “Check out the new photos on the blog from Nate and Emily’s wedding” v “Check out our website! Our wedding packages start at $1299.” Both will get people to click through to your website, but people are more likely to do it when you tell them you’ve added more photos. It’s not salesy but while they’re on your site there’s a good chance they’ll click around and check out prices if they’re interested.
  5. Post a question! If you want to boost engagement, what better way to get people to comment than to ask them a question. It might be a simple “It’s Friday! How are you spending your holiday weekend?” or you could post a photo and ask “Which hat do you like better? We’re working on new styles and we want your input.” Questions are a way to get personal with your audience and the more engagement the better!

I hope these are helpful – Now get posting!

Rules of [Facebook] Engagement

March Newsletter Header

Facebook is the number one place to engage your customers, but so often we forget that engagement is like a conversation – it goes both ways. If you’ve hired someone to manage your social media pages, you don’t have to login everyday to post something original, but I do encourage you to login on a weekly basis to interact with others on your page’s behalf.

Posting great content is the first step in beginning the conversation, so after people like, comment or share your post it’s up to you – are you going to continue the conversation or let things trail off?

Here are some simple tips for using Facebook to network with others, build your audience and expand your brand. I bring you, the “rules of engagement.”

1. When someone comments on one of your photos or posts, comment back

Example: They say “What a cute idea.” You say “We thought so too!”

When your audience knows that you see and appreciate their comments or feedback, it makes them more inclined to like, comment or share again!

2. When someone asks a question – respond in a timely manner

If I manage your Facebook page and notice someone has sent you a message or asked a question I can’t answer on my own – I will send you an email asap. If you notice someone has commented on one of your posts with a question or sent you a direct message, be sure to reply in a timely manner – even if you don’t have all the information, let them know you’ll get back to them. Facebook is a great way to show off your customer service skills and spout your expertise so take advantage of any opportunity to interact with potential customers.

3. Use Facebook as a networking tool 

When you login each week, make an effort to see what other small business owners are up to. Facebook is a great place to get ideas, scope out your competition and build relationships. Make it a goal to do the following:

a. Like a new page each week. Maybe that’s a local restaurant you eat at or a store you shop at, a charity or foundation you support, or a business that’s similar to yours.

b. Comment on a photo or a post that speaks to you or relates to your brand.

c. Share something that inspired you. If you’re not sure it’s a good fit for your business page, share it on your personal page. When you share someone else’s content it’s a great boost for their page so choose a business or a cause that you support!

4. Last but not least – invite your friends and customers to like your page! 

Your friends and customers are the easiest way to grow your brand and build your audience. Maybe your friends know about your business but they aren’t sure how to find you online – send them an invite! Every time you login to your business page you will see an “invite friends” option. Do this on a regular basis. Don’t feel like you have to go through and select people one by one – invite them all. The more the merrier!

Tell your customers you’re on Facebook and ask them to like your page or write you a review! Simply include a flier or postcard in the packages you ship or tell people face to face when you meet them at craft shows or events. If you answer the phones for your business, remind potential customers to like your Facebook page before ending your call. You’ll be surprised how positively people respond!

~ Rachel