We all know the importance of joining Facebook groups and there are so many that you can join but don't join if you are not going to participate in the discussions in the group!
Below are my 6 top tips to ensure that you make the most of the groups you are in.
1. FOLLOW THE RULES OF EACH GROUP!
Each Facebook group has its own set of rules and it’s very important that you follow the rules. Some are standard, like “no self-promotions.” Others are more complex and often forgettable, like “no links allowed in comment replies.” They all usually have different types of content threads scheduled for different days of the week. Follow the rules of the group and this should stop you from being removed from the group for disregarding the rules! If you don’t have a great memory make notes of the key points of the rules of each group as a reminder.
2. INTRODUCE YOURSELF BUT REMEMBER IT’S YOUR BUSINESS YOU WANT PEOPLE TO SEE
When you first get added to a group you are offered a ‘free introductory post’ and this is a huge opportunity which you must make the most of. It can often be the only time you get to promote yourself because promotions are often against the rules of the group but check the rules!
3. BE AN ACTIVE PARTICIPANT IN EACH GROUP
This is key. The more you post in a Facebook group, the more memorable you will be to other members, and the more chance you will have to get referrals from other people / potential clients. This does not mean that you should spam! A few comments in each group per day is enough. Don’t comment on every post – you will just annoy people. Add something only if you have something useful to say.
If you are really trying to use Facebook strategically, then you need to spend an hour or so a day in Facebook groups. If you cannot dedicate that much time to Facebook, consider reducing the number of groups you belong to until a shorter amount of time becomes enough to be active in each group.
Part of being active is keeping track of which group has which theme on which day.
4. SHARE KNOWLEDGE AND OFFER YOUR EXPERTISE
One of the best ways to promote yourself on Facebook is by sharing knowledge. If someone asks a question about a subject relevant to your business, always try to help them if you can! Answering people’s questions shows that you are an expert in your field. Perhaps you know another business that can help – then suggest they get in touch with them. However you respond, it is promoting your brand because if others hover over your name it will show them a link preview to your Facebook business page. It also shows you to be a very helpful person and a nice person!
Adding to this, if you are answering a question about a topic in your field of experience, add a sentence at the end saying if they need help…. then get in touch (thereby promoting your services).
Even if they are not interested, people tend to come back with a “thanks” or thumbs up but people very rarely respond in a negative way. By offering help or advice and then adding a “soft sell” you are promoting your business but in a pleasant and not pushy way.
5. BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT
You will probably have noticed that often you come across a post whereby someone is looking for recommendations. From my point of view, they may be looking for help with their social media, or they may be looking for someone to build a simple website - and already they have had lots of responses.
These posts are very popular and often there are already 20+ comments from people offering their services before you have even seen the post. You would probably choose not to respond – but it may be that they are looking for you – so add your name and a link to your website on that list. Don’t miss the opportunity to promote your business!
6. FINALLY, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE AN ACTIVE FACEBOOK BUSINESS PAGE
If you’re going to be using Facebook for your blog/business, you need to have a business Facebook page. That is really important because, (as mentioned earlier) if somebody is interested in another group member, they can hover over that person’s name to get a preview of their business page.
It’s also crucial that you continue to make sure that your Facebook page is properly updated! Go through your Facebook page at least once every few months and update any old or missing information. Change your pinned post, update your header image, give your business’ description a refresh. If someone clicks over to your page, you want them to see relevant information and you want them to see that you have a fairly active page.
Happy posting – and good luck with your business marketing through Facebook Groups.
Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world and there is huge competition between businesses to ensure their “organic” (as opposed to paid) posts are seen. Whether your post is seen is all down to the Facebook algorithm or algorithms.
The Facebook algorithm is set to show posts that offer the most value to an individual but there is not just one single algorithm, the Facebook algorithm is a machine of many layers that is constantly learning and changing.
This means that if your business wants to reach people without paying for Facebook Ads
you will need to create content that Facebook ranks as highly engaging and meaningful.
Does that seem like a challenge?
So how can you work with the algorithm?
The algorithm analyses the content you post and if a user has liked or commented on your post the algorithm is likely to show that person more of your content. Therefore you need to be engaging to increase your engagement and ensure that you make promotional content personal. If someone has commented on your post, like and respond to their comment, reply to complaints and share compliments and other sharable comments.
The algorithm really values content that people want to share and comment on, so ensure you ask engaging questions and encourage people to share their advice.
Post when people are online – simply because the latest post goes to the top of a person’s newsfeed, ie. If you post at 3pm and the person log's onto their Facebook page at 3pm, they are likely to see your post at the top of their newsfeed.
The three top times during the week to post on Facebook are currently...
11am, between 1-3pm and 8pm
The optimal times to post are currently...
Thursday and Friday between 1-3pm when 71% of Facebook users are online. However, do look at your Facebook Insights to find out when your own audiences are online.
If you have found that your likes, comments and shares have been dropping off recently then you perhaps need to reconsider your Facebook content strategy. I now suggest to my clients that we do a mix of organic and paid content which keeps their page alive and this increases the reach, likes and comments on posts, thereby ensuring the business is noticed on Facebook.
If you found this blog of interest, please SHARE IT with your business colleagues. Let’s all help each other to promote our businesses and reduce the amount of time we spend writing content that no one appears to see in their newsfeed.
I am often told “I can’t build my business brand on social media because people use social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram for staying in touch with friends, they don’t want to be sold to”.
If done correctly, social media is a great way to promote your business but the key is not to sell but to engage with your connections, and those connections will sell for you through quality testimonials and referrals.
So, what is Social Media Marketing?
It is a form of internet marketing which uses free social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and a range of other free platforms to help you achieve your communication and branding goals.
Social Media is user-generated. It was originally used by journalists, magazine editors and celebrities who created “content” for us to read. Now, as a business, you can create content for others to read - and you can read and comment on the content produced by others!
Social Media has changed how we communicate with each other. As a business owner you need to include social media in your Business & Marketing Strategy to help you reach your business goals. Using social media within your Business Strategy was something to be considered - it is now necessary if you want to make use of every angle in terms of developing your Marketing Strategy!
How do you make Social Media Marketing Work for your business?
The key to successful campaigns across all your social media platforms is “customer engagement”. You have done your market research and chosen the social media platforms where you believe your customers hang out, you post regularly, therefore you are building awareness of your brand. However, customers no longer see your advert and choose to buy, they want to read the reviews of others that have purchased your product or service before they make that decision to buy.
Have you heard of the Feedback Cycle?
When you post to your social media account, you are building awareness, next you are hoping that people will comment on your post or ask questions relating to the product of service – it is important that you respond to these questions. This is where “others” are considering a purchase – depending on how you respond, this is where those that have considered buying then choose to buy or click off your page.
The key to successfully “selling” on social media is to build trust and interact with your social media “fans”.
Three things you might want to add into your social media marketing to make the above work for you:
Now it is over to you to really make your Social Media Marketing work for you and if you need help with any of the above, please get in touch and if I can't help, I will know someone who can.
So you have decided to start a new business, you have done your market research and now you are ready to build your new website.
Before you start these are the things you need to consider
You have identified your target audience and so will you use the website to:
Remember, what you want your website to accomplish and what will your visitors require from your new website may differ. You may be concerned about the visual aspect of your site and your visitors may just want to find information quickly.
Consider the content you will need to support the objectives of your site and how you feel it should be best presented. Look at your competitors sites and get a feel for what looks and works best.
Put yourself in your customers shoes! Try to understand what will make them want to visit your website and what will encourage them to return. You need to make your customer’s journey effective and efficient.
There is some information you must display on your website as a minimum. All companies in the UK must clearly state the company registration number, place of registration, registered office address. A common place to put this information is in the 'About us' or 'Legal info' page of the site - it does not have to appear on every page.
Planning Your Website
Before you decide on which platform to build your website, start with a blank piece of paper and create a diagram or wireframe to show the structure of your website. This diagram should include the content, navigation and layout of the web pages. You can use drawing packages such as Word, Canva or Illustrator to create your wireframe which will allow you to amend them as your vision develops.
Once you have created your wireframe show it to friends or customers who are a representative of your intended audience and get their feedback. Their comments can then be quickly added into your wireframe which will then form the template for your new website.
Technical website design considerations
There are several technical issues to consider when designing your website:
You will have to design webpages that can be displayed by many different browsers. Common browsers include Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and Google Chrome. If you use a pre-designed website template you may find that they have already been tested on these web browsers so that makes life easier.
Not all internet users have high speed access, so connection speed should also influence your webpage design.
Too many images or rich media (such as video or audio) will slow down the speed at which your webpage loads. Generally, pages should load within eight seconds or less to keep the attention of your visitor. If your pages download slowly, your users will probably move on to another site. Slow download speeds may also impact negatively on your search engine ranking.
The Equality Act 2010 makes it illegal for a website provider to discriminate against a disabled person by refusing to provide a service that is generally available, providing a service of a lower standard, or failing to comply with a duty to make reasonable adjustments.
Making websites accessible
There are many adjustments you can make to your website to make it easier for disabled people to use. For example, your web designer should attach a text description to every image and link on the site. This means that blind users, who rely on a browser that reads out the contents of the webpage, can hear a description of what an image is and where a link will take them.
Designing your website
When designing your website, plan a theme and structure that will hold all the pages together. Many of the FREE website builders provide templates to allow you to continue your chosen brand throughout your website.
Create a common theme of colours, fonts, graphics and page layouts. Simplicity and consistency in your visual design can be the most effective way of presenting your online brand.
Plan to create a unified look for the various sections and pages of your site, so that the users are aware that they are moving around within a single site as they move from page to page. Use templates to create a common page layout across your site.
Don't be afraid to use white space or blank areas in your webpage design. Good use of white space can help define areas of your page and can be used to structure and separate content. A lack of white space can give the impression that the page has too much content and this may encourage your website visitors to log off your website.
You will have already developed your brand or image and so ensure this is incorporated into your website design.
Hierarchy of information
Don't make users navigate through too many layers of the site to find the information they want. A standard navigation bar that is in the same place on every page enables the user to move quickly through the site. Again, many website templates allow for a menu bar to be shown across the top of each page.
Optimise Your Website
Once your website is live, you should continue to optimise it and it make it more accessible to search engines such as Google. This SEO Best Practice document from Weebly provides top tips on how to improve your SEO.
Finally, if you are in the process of setting up your own business and you need help in building a Weebly Website please get in touch with Sunflower Creative today. If you were specifically looking for a Wordpress Website then we would suggest you get in touch with local Kenilworth Web Design Agency Rapport Design.
I am often told: "I have social media accounts but I don't really post to them that often." Social media is the perfect platform to build interest in your products or services.
Points to consider before your start:
Look at your competitors. If every café in the area is posting images of cappuccinos on Instagram, it doesn’t mean you need to be doing the same. What sort of response are they getting?
Decide how you want to differentiate your brand from your competitors and decide how you are going to convert social media followers into customers – and agree which platforms will support those goals.
Then plan 10-15 samples posts for each platform and agree with your team which ones work best. Get your team and friends and family to give you feedback and what made them stop scrolling!
Next – put together Social Media Guidelines which are personal to you or your business.
There may be a particular style of branding you prefer on your images.
Questions to think about:
If you are creating a personal brand (in which case the answers to many of these questions will fall in line with you or the person you’re representing), your brand’s personality should be a reflection of the people you want to attract.
Write your Social Media Guidelines as if you were explaining things to a new employee who doesn’t know anything about your brand. Who are you? What are you selling? How are you using social media to enhance user experience with the brand? When are you posting, to which accounts and how often.
NEXT – CREATE A SOCIAL MEDIA CALENDAR
Based on the platforms and quantity of posts agreed with the client, you should then create your first month’s social media calendar, even if it changes throughout the month. Include key dates around your brand and ensure you include a reference to these dates in your social media calendar.
You need to ensure that you allow yourself the flexibility to comment on current events and your plan will allow you to set your social media goals for the month, including how often you will post and have some planned shares included too, especially when you are too busy to respond to comments.
This is also a good time to start thinking a few months to a year ahead. Drafting a tweet months in advance may be pushing your marketing knowhow! However, thinking about where the brand is headed in the next year can provide ideas for the types of social campaigns you’ll want to launch in the coming months.
As with most tasks, launching a social media campaign typically takes more time and planning than it may seem from the outset. If you can start getting the details together a few months out, future mini-launches will go more smoothly.
Ensure that you at least two people sign off your posts before they are scheduled (ideally the content writer and a proofreader) - Typos can and should be prevented!
Launching your brand on Social Media
Before the launch, create a checklist and double-check every detail. Ensure that:
Your Social Media Launch Day
If you’ve planned well in advance, launch day is all about watching your well-prepared copy go live and viewing the likes, comments and shares.
Today is know as the day you start to engage with your online “fans” by responding to questions and comments. It’s your first chance to show off your brand’s personality.
Ensure that you measure your engagement and take screenshots of post successes throughout the day, particularly if a post received an above average interest in its content.
After your launch date, by continuing to create great content (always with a call to action) you need to stay active ad positive and respond to comments to ensure you grow the personality of your clients brand.
If you receive press coverage on launch day, select pieces to share with key journalists too. Most journalists have a Twitter profile, so find their profiles and tag them in on posts directed to them.
At the start of your brand building campaign, get to know your first few followers and frequent posters and build a conversation with them. Who are these people? How do they compare to the people you anticipated interacting with your brand? Do they have lots of followers?
The great thing with social media is that you can experiment until it starts to work. If your plans to get fans to buy hasn’t quite worked as expected, try something different. Just keep your brand fresh and content in line with the “guidelines” you set up at the outset.
Don’t aim on getting out a piece of content which goes viral immediately as it could make or break your brand’s success. You need to build on your brand and your success will come.
Don’t launch on one social media platform just because everyone is there. Where are your competitors? Where are your customers? Sometimes your competition can get it wrong!
It can seem a little odd to send out a tweet saying “Hello and welcome to xxx we are looking forward to chatting with you on Twitter.” However, if you follow the tips and timeline set out above you will be starting with your best social foot forward.
Good luck with Developing your Social Media Strategy and if you need help with the planning stage, just get in touch.
All blogs are written by Amanda of Sunflower Creative and they are based on my experience.