Thank You Social Media!
Ten strategies to integrate social media into your business.
Amy Lee, PT, MPT, OCS
Why say thanks? First and foremost, the social media industry has provided every business new channels to reach populations we never thought possible. Granted, social media can be overwhelming, and many people have no idea where to start. Keeping the momentum going can be even more daunting. So here is my Top 10 list of the most useful strategies when integrating social media into business:
There are a variety of ways to reach people through social media. Do not allow yourself to be overwhelmed. You do not need to use every single avenue available. Start by picking a couple of them and use them really well. The point of using social media for business is to create an audience and drive people to your website, which is how you build your e-mail list. Social media is like a daily vitamin—a supplement to something more substantial, like broccoli.
2. Define your business
Who are you? What makes your company unique? More important, how are you going to tell your story? Have a purpose and at least a general idea of how you are going to portray yourself to the world. Take Starbucks, for example. Their message is to “share the joy of coffee,” and they consistently send this message in everything they share publically. Our business and social media marketing efforts should do the same.
3. Understand your market
Every week, check your social media insights section to see who you are reaching, and for that matter, not reaching. These statistics may be very similar to your patient demographics. Who likes you? Who are you able to reach? Who is engaging with you? What do these words really mean?
Here are some helpful definitions taken directly from the Facebook Help page:
- Impressions: Impressions are the number of times a post from your page is displayed, whether the post is clicked or not. People may see multiple impressions of the same post. For example, someone might see a page update in News Feed once, and then a second time if their friend shares it.
- Reach: Reach is the number of unique people who received impressions of a page post. The reach number might be less than the impressions number since one person can see multiple impressions.
- Engagement: Engagement is the number of actions related to your post as a result of your ad. Actions occurred within one day of someone viewing or 28 days after clicking on your ad.
4. Set a Goal
Set a bold and audacious goal and then implement a strategy to achieve it. A Facebook page with less than a thousand “Likes” is not as credible as one with at least that many. Have a plan and stick to it. Make it a challenge for your team or company.
5. Moth to a Flame
When you are first starting out, your primary objective should be to attract fans. Here are a few ways to capture people who will start following your business.
- Change the blue “F” icon to a “Like” button on your website. This will allow you to capture fans that are truly interested in your business without driving them away from your website. We should never drive people who are already on our website back to social media. Facebook has enough followers.
- Post away! You have to post at least daily on Facebook and Twitter in order to appear in people’s current newsfeeds. Consider changing your Facebook settings so that your posts automatically feed to Twitter. Make sure that it is good, captivating content with only a portion of it being educational.
- Frequently use images and short videos! Non-image posts are far less likely to be reached or spark engagement. Try designing an elevator pitch. Better yet, have some of your younger tech savvy staff create one for you. If you are going to post a quote, post a picture of the quote and ask your audience for feedback or to share that quote.
- Change your profile and background picture at least once a week. Update the cover photo with every holiday or big event. This shows people that your page is not sleeping—it is alive and thriving!
- Keep text to fewer than 80 characters. Twitter created an empire based entirely on this principle. Those guys are really rich now.
- Find the section of your Facebook page that says, “Invite your friends to Like this page,” and start rounding up all of your personal friends to join your page. Email everyone you know with the link to your sites.
- Tag people in all of your photos if possible. My company’s followers love to see pictures of us doing charity work, dressing up for holidays, and playing practical jokes on each other. When we tag these photos, our staff members can automatically show what they are doing at work to their friends and family, which is a great way to increase the overall reach of a post.
Once you have a group of consistent followers, let them know when and how you are involved in organizations and institutions outside of your business. These types of involvement improve your overall credibility just as it does when you are building a resume.
- Take pictures of everything and tell the world what you are doing.
- Actively participate in conversations. Ask your fans for feedback. You will need to check your updates frequently and consistently so that you do not give the impression of ignoring your followers.
- Ask questions of your fans to encourage them to actively connect in a conversation, which will improve their overall engagement.
- Upload images instantly. Do not wait. News is now! Yesterday is the past, and no one is interested in what happened two days ago.
7. Sell it
Once you have your fan base and have become established in the social media frenzy, try these tips for keeping your fans engaged over the long haul.
- Promoting others more than yourself or your business will improve your credibility with your followers.
- Find others who have a similar niche and follow them. Ask them to follow you.
- Practice what you preach, then tell the world how you did it.
- Say “thank you” to your fans and listeners. Let them know you are paying attention and that you are grateful that they allow you to be a part of their daily newsfeed. It is a simple but very powerful message.
Consider multiple administrators on your account, but only if this works for your company and you can trust that the content is achieving your overall goal/strategy. This may lighten the burden of being the only person that forms and shares good content.
- Tell your story with captivating images that draw people’s attention.
- Always use the high definition feature on your phone so that the image is clear and not blurry.
- Cultivate your following by linking your Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts with # and @ signs.
- Engage others by liking their photos or commenting on their posts.
- Use the video feature on Instagram to send out a message shorter than 15 seconds. Elevator pitch!
- Follow your followers.
- The longevity of an Instagram post is far greater than that of Twitter or Facebook. You do not have to post as often on Instagram in order to make the post relevant.
Hit the share button and instantly post on your other social media accounts.
10. Engagement requires
Enjoy this process. It can take your business to a whole new level.
Amy Lee, PT, MPT, OCS, is a PPS member and the marketing vice president for Physical Therapy Central, with multiple practices in Oklahoma. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.