twitter

From Brick and Mortar to 0's and 1's: The Importance of Social Media in the Digital Era

french botique

We’ve all heard how important it is for small businesses to connect with consumers. Anyone who’s seen a 90’s TV sitcom is familiar with the local café owner who knows the name of every Tom, Dick and Sally that comes through their doors. “Just the usual Bob?” “You betcha Sally.” This type of personal connection is one of the biggest competitive edges local small business owners have against larger competitors. But as you make the transition to digital, you’ll inevitably find yourself getting less and less face time with the consumer. When growing an online presence, you might not always have the chance nor the time to make the quality connections you can in a storefront—there’s content to produce, logistics to map out, inventory to stock, and books to keep (of course, we’d be more than happy to help you with the latter). But as you find yourself figuring out the in’s and out’s of your online storefront, social media will be there to help you recreate that intimate experience you’ve experienced during your personal interactions with customers. Social media is primarily a story telling platform, and it’s a chance for you to tell your story. 

How you choose to use social media will influence the emotions consumers feel when purchasing your products. What makes you unique? Are the things you share relevant to your niche? Are you highlighting your creative process? Are you showcasing products without becoming a spambot? And most importantly, is there a human element to the picture your painting? Of course you’ve heard about Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But are you using Periscope, Snapchat, and RSS Feeds? And if so, are you tailoring unique content to each platform, or are you just shoving the same content through different pipelines? 

In today’s world, mastering social media is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. But before you start pumping out content you need to have a plan that includes a self assessment, the development of a brand voice, and a well thought out schedule. If you struggle finding things that make you unique, ask your customers what it is they like most about your business. Once you’ve come up with a plan and you’re ready to take the world by storm, you’ll arrive to what is for many the most difficult part—gaining followers. Social media and Marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuckpoints out that the most important step for a brick and mortar hoping to push foot traffic to the dot-com space, is to tap their in-store base. Using old school methods such as signs, word of mouth, and informative receipts—you can push some of your most loyal and share-friendly customers to your digital outlets. This will be your most plentiful well in terms of immediate followers. 

But even with an intelligent plan, creating an online community will take time. For many businesses this will mean 1-2 years of patient and consistent content production before they see a “brand cult” begin to form. Taking into account all of these considerations can be a daunting task. But as you learn what resonates with your new consumer base, you’ll come to realize that content is just as important as product. There is plenty of room in the digital space for the brick and mortar, but for you to succeed it will require a social media plan that brings that old fashion personal touch to new and exciting platforms.

How Your #SmallBiz Should be Using Hashtags

hashtag

Everyone is talking about hashtags, but do you know what they do and how you can use them for your business? Mastering the power of the hashtag can make your social media posts more popular and bring better visibility to your business. 

Create a Proper Hashtag 

Before you can become a hashtag master, you need to understand what they do. Some people who don't understand the use of hashtags think they are for expressing feelings, like #sobummedoutrightnow. While this may be a fun use for casual users, it won't work for someone who is promoting a business. Hashtags allow social media sites to categorize your post with other posts like it. Then, your post will appear when users search for that particular subject. So, useful hashtags are keywords that relate to your post. For example, if you post a link to your latest article about investing in overseas funds, a good hashtag would be #investing or #investingtips, not #thisarticleisinteresting. 

Use Hashtags Everywhere 

Hashtags aren't just for Twitter anymore. All large social media sites, like Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram are using hashtags to organize posts. 

Keep it Short 

You've probably run across hashtags that contain a lot of words, like #superfunfisharticle or #awesomesalestips. These tags don't work. Why? Because people won't search for ""super fun fish articles"" or ""awesome sales tips."" They will search for ""fish articles"" or ""sales tips."" Keep your hashtags short and use only keywords or terms people will actually search for. 

Use Hashtags to Get Followers Involved 

Another good way to use hashtags is by creating a memorable one and encouraging your followers to use the hashtag. For example, every week comedian Jimmy Fallon plays the hashtag game with his followers. He will give them a hashtag subject and ask them to write a tweet based on the subject. The followers then add the hashtag to their Tweet so that Fallon can find it. Each week, his hashtags become worldwide trending topics on Twitter. Some examples of his hashtag subjects have been: #momtexts#worstgiftever#myweirdwaiter#misheardlyrics 5. Use Hashtags to Market You

Want people to spread the word about your business or product? Come up with an interesting hashtag that people will want to repeat. For example, television shows will post silly words or catchphrases their characters say as hashtags. You can make up a hashtag that relates to your business in the same way. Make up a funny or catchy turn of phrase that relates to your product. Here are some examples other companies have used: 

Neosporin to Go- #NeoReady 

Ivory Soap- #SudLife 

Puffs- #PassThePuffs 

Once you start using hashtags the right way, you will find your social media becoming a much more effective marketing tool.