Made a major flub in front of the whole world on social media? Here’s how to respond.
Strict formulas, guidelines, and robot-like discipline may be a snooze for your social media followers, but they keep the human beings behind your social accounts from making mistakes. Trouble is they also keep them from being, well, human and therefore interesting. When it comes to social media, authenticity is essential but risky.
Add to this truth the lightning fast and obviously very public nature of social media and mistakes become nearly inevitable–and potentially disastrous, as many companies have already found out to their great embarrassment.
So what should you do if your small business sends out a regrettable tweet or Facebook update?
First, know that the situation is salvageable. Then get some expert advice on how to respond such as social media manager Martin Jones’ six-step response plan, which he spelled out on SteamFeed recently. Jones starts off with essential pre-crisis preparations like setting up a social media policy and crisis communications plan, and giving yourself administrator access and continues to disaster response essentials, like:
Don’t have a knee-jerk reaction
A thoughtful, well-crafted response is better than a quick knee-jerk reaction. Many times businesses are not prepared to handle a social media mistake and they only exacerbate the situation by responding quickly and inappropriately. It’s better to take an extra moment to deliver a carefully worded, and measured response to your community.
Don’t hide the mistake
Even the savviest social media marketers can occasionally make mistakes. The worst mistake, however; is acting like there was no mistake at all. Whether you, or whoever is in charge of your account, made an offensive comment or post, criticized a customer, or something else, you need to accept responsibility. Deleting the message is important for damage control, but you’ll hurt your reputation by acting as if nothing happened.
Rebuild your image
Your brand can survive a social media disaster, many have, but it may be an extensive process and at the very least, take time.
What if your social media trouble has to do with trolls who are cluttering your pages with nasty, off-topic or over-the-topic comments? There are ways to remedy that problem too, according to content marketer Patricia Redsicker, who recently laid out five ways to respond.
A United States Chamber of Commerce survey of over a thousand of small businesses across the United States reveals that small businesses are using digital marketing to cultivate new business and grow their business across vast geographic areas. Facebook has emerged as the leading platform for small businesses growth. Over 60% of businesses report using Facebook to grow their businesses, increase sales, attract new customers and sell to customers they would not otherwise have been able to reach.
Why is Facebook Popular with Small Businesses?
A clue as to why small businesses have gravitated to Facebook is the perceived difficulty and cost of maintaining an online presence. More than 50% of businesses surveyed cited the cost of Internet services as keeping them from building an online presence.
Difficulty and lack of familiarity with digital tools represented another major stumbling block preventing small businesses from going on online. 57% of small businesses reported that digital tools were perceived as challenging.
How Small Businesses are Growing Online
Sixty percent of small businesses reported using Facebook to achieve a wide range of business goals. According to the survey:
- 32% reported building their business on Facebook.
- 42% reported hiring more employees since using Facebook
- 56% said using Facebook as a business tool increased their sales
- 52% reported that Facebook allowed them to grow their business by allowing them to reach customers outside of their local area, in other cities, states, and countries
- 70% of small businesses report that using Facebook helps attract new customers
- 39% of small businesses prefer to send potential customers to their Facebook page than to their own web page.
- Over 50% of small businesses reported that Facebook allowed them to take advantage of growing digital sales.
According to the report:
“In addition to facilitating firms’ successes, over half of small businesses on Facebook reported that the platform as helped them overcome challenges in increasing revenue.”
Small Businesses Lack Skilled Digital Workers
The growth in digital tools available to small businesses has outpaced the ability to hire people to take advantage of those tools. 61% of small businesses reported trouble hiring workers with the skills to manage their social media pages. This lack of skilled work presents a drag on their ability to expand their businesses. Training skilled workers for small businesses may be an important business opportunity for digital marketers today.
When you think of small businesses online, one usually thinks of it in terms of a website. Facebook has dramatically changed how consumers interact with small businesses and make purchasing decisions. Facebook has emerged as a dynamic source of financial growth for small businesses. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Report titled, Examining the Impact of Technology On Small Business is available here.
Source: Search Engine Journal
It’s rare to meet someone today who is not on social media in some way. Many people think of social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as channels to communicate with friends and family. But social media has expanded to provide networking opportunities for all types of businesses.
Below are tips on how to use social media for business and how social media marketing can help support your business goals and raise awareness about your brand and products or services.
1. Start with Social, but Plan Bigger
Whether you have a website or not, there are several benefits when you use social media for business to help establish an online presence including:
- Simplicity and speed: easy-to-use interfaces mean your presence can be up and running in minutes.
- Cost-effectiveness: a social media page can be developed for little or no cost
- Built-in base of members: social networks are a place to reach and engage existing and potential customers.
If your business already has a website, you can use your social media channels as marketing tools to amplify your company brand, message and content in order to drive visitors back to your main website.
But if a website isn’t in your strategy or budget (despite the fact that you can actually create a great website today for free), your business can still benefit from registering a unique, descriptive domain name. Two primary ways to use a domain (or multiple domains) in support of a social media presence are:
1. As a branded Web address that points to your social presence.
2. As a branded email address to reinforce your social presence while giving your business added credibility.
2. Use Content to Attract Customers
The best way to get your customers’ attention and drive user interaction is to deliver frequent, high-quality and compelling content on your website and social presence, or with a blog post that targets your audience. Here are a few tips:
- Have a plan: know what you want your content to do for your business. Are you looking for leads or brand awareness? Your plan will help you see the path ahead, and more importantly, allow you to measure success or failure.
- Define your audience: know who they are, what they know, and — more importantly — what they don’t. This can help you form your content.
- Play to your passions: your content is bound to be more compelling and attractive if you have a deep and clear interest in the subject matter.
3. Try Paid Advertising to Get in Front of New Customers
Paid advertising relies upon a variety of targeting mechanisms including keywords to put your ads into the paid advertising or “promoted ad” section on social networks where your customers and prospects spend time. Display ads may also appear on the sides of the users’ pages and as they are integrated seamlessly into the user’s experience, they don’t generally feel like typical obtrusive ads. Paid advertising can be an effective strategy and many social platforms have budget-friendly options.
- Placing ads on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, can work with any budget, and ad campaigns can easily be set up with just a credit card. You can also target your audience using age, gender, location and interests, among other demographics.
- Consider including images in your ad. Ads with images are more attention getting, leading to more clicks, shares, likes, and re-tweets.
- YouTube offers a variety of advertising options, in some cases charging fees only if users actually watch your videos.
Social Media Photo via Shutterstock
Source: Small Biz Trends
As a health and wellness professional, you need to create a solid marketing strategy to help you stand out in this highly competitive market. By now, you know that a great website is a must, but when budgeting for your website, don’t forget to include the cost of a professional photographer too. It may not seem like a necessary cost, but let us explain a few points…
Why you need a professional for your fitness photography:
There is no way to have a great website without great photos.
Think of it as your first chance to make a connection with your potential clients. Using custom photos of you and your team allows you to send the right message. Original photos give you control over your prospective client’s reaction. When someone comes to your website, you want them to feel inspired by what they see, which will motivate them to contact you. If they think, “that person really knows what they’re doing!” they are more likely to choose your business over others that offer similar services.
Stock photos seem like a great idea.
They are affordable (and even free sometimes) but they are generic, and won’t help you express what your brand is about. Website visitors know the difference between a stock photo and a photo that authentically represents a company. You want your viewers to get to know the real you and the people on your team, and see the services you offer. A professional photographer will know the best way to show off what you’re all about.
As the saying goes: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
The fact of the matter is that you won’t meet many of the potential clients that visit your website, your site has to do all the talking. If they see generic photos of stock models, they may not stick around long enough to find out about you. In fact, many visitors leave in less than 5 seconds! Yikes! That is not a long time to grab their attention! Make sure the first thing they see will pull them in and make them want to find out more about you and your business.
You are not a photographer!
You may have an amazing camera and think that it’s no big deal to create great photos. You are wrong. It’s possible to use a high-quality camera and take mediocre or even bad photos. Doesn’t it make you crazy when you see unqualified gym-goers taking on the role of a personal trainer without any education or experience? Not just anybody can do your job! People who want to become more fit and healthy benefit from your expertise, guidance, and experience – going out & buying the latest and greatest equipment is not going to cut it. The same thing goes for professionally trained photographers. They not only have the proper equipment and lighting tools, but they have the experience and skills to use that equipment to communicate your message.
The point is that if your photos look amateur, it makes you look like an amateur. If your photos look generic, it makes you look generic. We know that isn’t true, but potential clients only know what you show them with your marketing efforts.
You have worked to build your skill set and experience so that you can offer top-notch services. Now it is time to take your vision and create something eye-catching and authentic that will encourage prospective customers to choose you!
Call us today to discuss hiring a photographer who knows how to make you and your business look amazing. We will help you promote your fitness business in the best way possible.
At MyFitCoach, we spend our days helping others to build their fitness businesses and over the last few years, we have learned a lot about what traits are likely to make your business successful. Over the next several weeks we will be sharing a series about what we have found to be most important in establishing your fitness business. This week we will discuss social media for marketing.
This Week’s Topic: How to use Social Media to Market your Fitness Business
There is so much to learn about using social media for marketing and one blog post will not cover it all…but we will try to give you the basics so you can get started marketing your fitness business right away.
Do your research
If you have been following this series you have already narrowed your target market and now you can put that knowledge to use. Go online and read content that is currently attracting your audience. See where they are engaged. See what they are posting themselves. Join in the conversations to find out what matters to them. This will allow you to create content that they will value.
There are so many social media outlets available today and there will be even more in the future. Choose one or two different platforms and focus your efforts there. This is another opportunity to do research. What social media platforms are your ideal clients using? If they are active on snapchat, then don’t spend a lot of energy on twitter. Don’t worry about not reaching everyone…remember that it’s about the quality of interactions, not the quantity.
Each social media platforms and each has it’s own strengths, here are a few of the main players:
- Instagram is a very visual platform. If you have the photo skills (see some tips below) and are running a business that is based on aesthetics, this is the platform for you! As an example if you run a recipe blog or you work with figure competitors, posting photos of your recipes and clients would be a great way to bring attention to your business. Your eye catching photos are guaranteed to get lots of likes.
- Be aware that many followers do not read a lot on Instagram, this platform is less likely to start conversations.
- With the newer Instagram Stories, you are able to share your day or a conversation easily. This feature is similar to Snapchat and attracts the same younger crowd.
- Instagram doesn’t allow active links except for in your bio, so followers have to do some work to get to your website or blog post.
- Facebook is the single largest social media platform out there and it now attracts clients from older age brackets. If you are looking to attract clients in their 40’s and above, this is the platform to focus on.
- Facebook is more conversational. Because of the format, followers are more likely to see what you have written instead of just your photo like on Instagram. Also, if a follower comments on your post, their friends will see this activity bringing a lot of potential attention to your page.
- If you are looking to attract Millenials, Snapchat is the tool for you. As many younger individuals are moving away from the social media platforms that their parents are using such as Facebook.
- Snapchat allows you to really tell your story and shows the personality of your business (Instagram is now doing this as well)
- Be aware that each snap only stays live for 24 hours so if a potential client sees your information but doesn’t act, they won’t be able to access it again.
Be sure to stay active on your social media accounts. We know that it can be annoying to keep all of your notifications on, but you don’t want to miss an opportunity to connect with your followers. If someone sends you a message or comments on your post you want to respond quickly…this will start online conversations that will allow clients to connect with you.
Take good pictures.
This one seems pretty obvious, but if you scroll through any social media platform, you will see plenty of businesses that post poor quality images. You don’t need a fancy camera or any expensive tools, your smart phone will do the job. Here are a few tips on taking a good photo for social media:
- Use the rule of thirds – imagine your photo with vertical lines dividing it into thirds. You want the focus of your image to be mainly in the left or right third.
- Use natural lighting if possible – outdoors is great, but in your gym you may want to be near a window (not with the window directly behind the subject).
- Check the background – Do a quick scan of the background of your photo in advance. Make sure there is no excess clutter or extra people that will ruin your shot.
- Try multiple angles – try taking multiple photos from different angles to see which one looks best for your post. You may like one better than the rest, but you may also have a few great shots to turn into a collage.
- Use a photo editing app to add filters, wording, frames and more. A few of our favorites are Aviary, Pixlr and Canva. For just adding text we like InstaQuote and WordSwag (which also allows you to add your logo to each photo).
Don’t always sell
The goal of your social media accounts is to create relationships with your followers. You will not do this if you are constantly selling. Be sure to create content that simply gives your clients something of value. For example most of your posts should be motivational quotes, encouragement, exercise tips, workouts, etc. If you fill your social media accounts with sales, you will lose followers fast. A good rule to follow is that for every sales post you should share 3-4 non-sales posts.
If you want others to share your posts, you need to do the same. Find other resources that are not direct competitors, but that may also be valuable to your clients. For example, if you are personal trainer, find a few local health food stores or restaurants and share their recipes, sales and tips on your page. Your clients will love the information and the other businesses are more likely to share your posts.
Pay attention to which posts are working and which ones are not. What images are getting the most “likes” and which ones are sparking conversations? You want to mimic those. So many different factors can be at play: What time was it posted? Are there certain colors that are getting attention? What font did you use? Did you use specific hashtags? It may feel like it would be impossible to figure out what is attracting customers, but if you really focus, patterns will show up and you will start to see what is working best.
There is so much more to cover regarding social media for marketing, but this is a good place to start.
Have you successfully used any of the tips above? We’d love to hear about your experience…just leave us a comment below!