There’s so much to get done as a maker and small business owner that managing a bunch of social media accounts can feel like just another anxiety-inducing thing to add to the growing to-do list. You know you need a social presence, but where do you start? And how do you know where to invest your valuable time so that it actually makes an impact?
Los Angeles-based Melyssa Griffin leads an online community for creative entrepreneurs, bloggers and small business owners. Here, she shares her strategies for managing social media accounts, from using a scheduling software to improving SEO.
1. Use a scheduling software.
When you’re running a business, you don’t have a lot of time for social media, so you need systems to manage your day-to-day. Scheduling software can help you plan your posts in advance. Some of my favorites are Edgar, BoardBooster, and Later, but there are a ton of them out there. Most offer free trials so you can find the one you like.
2. Use a hashtag to build up “social proof.”
Create a hashtag for your brand and make sure you send it out in all of your newsletters, with each product shipment, and on your social media promotions. Eventually, your customers will use it, too. Repost your favorite customer photos (always tagging them for credit!) to engage your customer base and create a natural, authentic rapport.
This creates a sense of social proof: It’s one thing for you to always be posting your own photos of your products, but it’s an even bigger thing when you have other people’s pictures and testimonials to post instead. This is important for customer service, too, as it helps your customers to know that they are seen and heard, even after they make a purchase.
3. Connect with your community.
Connect with people. Simple! Find people that might be interested in your products (hint: check out who is following your competition) and then authentically engage with those people. Like their photos. Leave genuine comments. Sooner or later, people will start clicking over to your profile and taking notice of your products and aesthetic.
4. Share the stories, styling & value behind your products.
Stories allow people to connect with your products on a deeper level. Share behind-the-scenes photos. Show them different ways to style your product — it’s all about getting readers to imagine your product in their home, no matter what their style is. If someone sees one of your posts and says, “they get me!” then they’ll be ready to buy from you.
5. Build your email…it’s your only owned list!
An email list is the only list of followers that you actually own. Send weekly emails to your list (so they don’t forget who you are!) and aim to provide a ton of value. Send exclusive DIY projects, behind-the-scenes info, ways to use or style your products, free downloads, case studies — anything that will be relevant and valuable to potential customers. This will keep you at the top of their mind and eventually set you apart as an expert in your niche.
6. Use a Facebook group to connect with customers.
Start a Facebook group that addresses the needs of your customers. Do you sell wall art? Create a Facebook group for home decor lovers. Do you create ethically sourced jewelry? Create a group for ethical fashion-lovers. Running a Facebook group allows you to be seen as the authority (since you’re runnin’ the show) and gives you the chance to connect with potential customers (and promote your products) whenever you want. Facebook pages and ads can help, but a Facebook group can work wonders…for free.
7. Don’t forgo SEO.
Start targeting specific keywords so that your posts and pages jump to the top of search engines. Choose a few phrases of 4-5 words that describe what your ideal customers are searching for. For example, don’t target “jewelry.” Target “handmade wooden jewelry Los Angeles.” Be specific. No one types “jewelry” into Google anyways, so try to get into the minds of your ideal customers. What are they searching for? Now do your best to naturally inject these phrases into your website. Don’t overdo it (Google doesn’t like that), but use your targeted keywords a few times on your site pages, if possible. Over time, this is going to boost your SEO and drive more traffic to your site.
Thanks, Melyssa! To learn more, visit melyssagriffin.com.
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Illustration by Kristen Solecki