10 Live Video Ideas For Facebook & Instagram

10 Live Video Ideas For Facebook & Instagram

You may think live video is something best left to influencers, musicians, and people who are supremely interesting. But no matter who you are or what you do, you should be leveraging live videos for your business. 

Why?

  1. Live videos get a lot more engagement than pre-shot videos on Facebook and Instagram. The more engagement you get, the more Facebook and Instagram will want to show those videos to other people, and the more trust those videos will build. 
  2. Live videos allow you to respond to questions in real time. People watching your videos can comment their questions and you can respond directly and get people to engage even more. Facebook live videos are the absolute best way to answer customer questions.

Ready for some ideas to help you get started with Facebook & Instagram live videos? We asked Amber, our Digital Marketing Strategist and Facebook Ads Specialist to share her top 10…

#1 Talk about what you do, where you do it, how long you’ve been doing it, and who you do it for

The purpose of this type of video is to answer some of the common questions potential customers will have and want answered before they pick up the phone and call you. 

What you do & where you do it:

Give those watching a good idea of what types of problems you solve and how you can help them. Let them know some of your top services and what areas you provide those services in. 

How long you’ve been doing it:

Talk about how long you’ve been doing it and how your experience translates to value for your customers. The more you can talk about why you’re passionate about what you do, the more trust you’ll build with your potential customers. 

Who you do it for: 

Share what your dream customer looks like. Do you service apartments, homes, and commercial properties? Give details about who could and should hire you. If people see themselves in that persona, they’ll feel like you’re a good fit for them. 

#2 Talk about price

Literally every business owner hates this one, but the ones that do it have found good success with it. What do we mean by success? Increased trust and less customer calls from people who don’t fit their demographic, can’t afford them, or are looking for a ‘cheap’ fix. 

Now, do you need to go on live video and list every single service and every single price? No. What we recommend is that you talk about price for your top five most popular services or the top five services you’re wanting to do more of. Talk about:

  • What is involved in that service
  • Why it’s important
  • An industry standard price

You do not need to tell them exactly what you charge for that service, but let your potential customers know what they might expect to pay when they call a company to schedule that service. That said, if you can go into specifics about what your company charges, DO IT.

We have a client who does share specifics. They say things like, “You know, we are higher priced than these other companies. Here’s why.” People are willing to pay a premium for a better service and a better experience — especially when the business is upfront about it.

#3 Give a safety list, to-do list, or some other step-by-step or numbered info 

When you do a live video that quickly walks your customers through things like: “#1: do this. #2: do this,” people eat that up. Here are some example topics:

  • How to find properly seasoned firewood
  • How to properly store seasoned firewood
  • How to unclog your drain — DIY

Anything that gives the customer value and makes something complicated or unclear a little bit simpler, do it. Sharing information and providing value for free builds trust with customers so that when they are in need of your services, you’re the one they think of. 

#4 Talk about how you got started in the business

What did you do before you started the business, if you’re the business owner? Bring a little bit of your story into it and a little emotion into it, because, you guessed it: people love stories. 

Where did you start? How did you get into the industry? It doesn’t have to be some magical story — just make it yours. Let it be raw. Let it be emotional. If it’s a story that’s worth crying over, cry. It’s okay. 

Live videos are where you get to show the most emotion and be real with your customers. 

#5 Interview one of your technicians or office staff about their favorite parts of their job or what their average day looks like

This is a fun, super short and simple live video that can really build trust and confidence in your company. It lets your customers see the faces of those working in your business, which is important because: people don’t do business with businesses they like — they do business with people they like. 

#6 Show them how something unique to your business works

People want to feel knowledgeable — like they know something their neighbors don’t know — and your live videos can help. 

Most homeowners or customers don’t know about all the tools you use in a specific industry. So give them that information in case chimney sweeping or plumbing comes up during table talk. 

Are you a plumber? Outside of a wrench and a plunger, many people have no idea what you use to get the job done. Plumbing relies on some pretty technologically advanced (and expensive) equipment. Equipment your customers don’t have sitting around in the garage. Let them know!

Are you a chimney sweep? People are imagining Dick Van Dyke with his filthy crew of singing and dancing sweeps. You’re not just showing up to the job with a broom. You’re not just using a Shop-Vac — it’s much more advanced than that right? Show them what you really use to get the job done and how you keep their homes from looking like London during the Industrial Revolution. 

#7 Highlight how your team starts the day or a fun activity you guys like to do together

The goal of social media is to get people to know, like, and trust you. This is the like part of that. Show them that you have similar interests. Show them your morning routine or what everyone does when they get to the office. 

Does everyone drink coffee together before heading out for the day? Great — highlight that. People love coffee!

If you get comments like, “Ew, you drink Dunkin Donuts coffee?” GREAT. Engagement is the goal, and your DD loving customers will like you even more because of that shared connection. 

#8 Get a live video testimonial from a customer

We would love, love, love to see more of this. If you have a customer who’s been a customer for years and would feel comfortable providing a testimonial on camera, ask them to do it live! All you have to do is introduce them. For example:

“Hi, my name is Amber and I’m here with my client, Jessica. She just got Facebook Ad services and wanted to tell you a little bit about her experience so far.”

Then, just let your customer share.

These videos are easy and effective — you just have to make sure your customer’s comfortable sharing their experience. And here’s the best thing about these videos: If you tag the customer in the video, it’s not just going to be shared on your page — they’re going to want to share it with their family and friends on their own page as well. And their friends and family will say, “Oh, that’s my friend,” and want to share the video to their pages.  

That’s going to broaden your post reach and increase your post engagement by so much. And funny enough, this is the #1 live video (after price) business owners don’t want to do. 

#9 Interview someone prominent in the community that would have information that your audience might find helpful

This live video is designed to provide value, but doesn’t need to be tied directly to your business. For example, if I was a chimney sweep, I might interview a plumber. If I was a plumber, I might interview an HVAC company. If you know the mayor, reach out to the mayor if he’s well-liked. Ask to do a live video to go over some info that would be beneficial or helpful to your audience.

Let’s say you reach out to a local plumber and say, 

“Hey, I’d like to do a quick interview with you. We’ll tag your business and you can share it on your page as well. What I’m hoping is that we can cover your top five plumbing tips for homeowners.”

Those tips will provide additional value to your customers and build trust. Plus, the plumber you interview will probably want to provide his or her audience with the same kind of value, and may ask you to do a video on their page (for example: providing your top five chimney maintenance tips). 

It’s free, helpful content for your customers that makes both you and the company or individual you’re interviewing look more trustworthy.

#10 Tell them what to expect when they call to book with you

There are a lot of new homeowners out there who have no idea what to expect when they hire a plumber, chimney sweep, HVAC company, or other home service provider. So get rid of their uncertainty and help them call and book with confidence by enlightening them a little bit.

Tell them things like:

  • What questions they may be asked on the phone and how they can figure out the answers to those questions ahead of time.
  • What to expect when you show up at their home to do the work. 

The best customer experiences are those when homeowners don’t have any questions because you’ve already answered them all. So, detail as much for them as you can so you can answer their questions before they have them. 

 

Have questions about Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, or how you can use these two platforms to grow your business and build trust? Reach out to Amber at amber@sparkmarketer.com. She’s got a wealth of knowledge!

 

The Answers To Your Top Facebook Ads Questions 

The Answers To Your Top Facebook Ads Questions 

Hey, I’ll be the first person to admit that I don’t know it all. And when it comes to Facebook Ads, I know just enough to get me in trouble. But good news: Today we’re picking the brain of Amber Krigbaum, our Digital Marketing Strategist and one half of our Facebook Ads Team. 

Ready to get answers to some of your most burning Facebook Ads questions? Let’s dig in…

Are Facebook Ads Worth It?

Short answer: Yes. Long answer: Yes, BUT…only if you take the time to learn the skill and actually invest in them. 

Facebook is something that you have to invest in and really learn about to be successful. Don’t just throw something up there, because it will not work. If you’re not going to put forth the effort and budget, Facebook Ads aren’t going to be worth it for you. 

Here’s why: Facebook relies on a learning algorithm, so it takes them time to really learn what your top customer looks like and how to get them to take a specific action. You have to give Facebook the time (and budget) to optimize and to learn what your end goal is. 

A lot of people want to try Facebook Ads for a week or a month and expect results overnight, but that won’t get you anywhere with Facebook. The goal of the algorithm is to get the highest quality people first, so that means they aren’t going to target everyone at the same time. 

That said, Facebook Ads are absolutely worth it if you’re willing to put forth the budget and effort. If you take the time to really learn how these ads work, monitor them, and put together creative that’s actually going to be effective for your business, you will see ROI. 

In fact, once you determine what your goal is and what you really want from it, Facebook makes it really easy to track everything and see the ROI. 

How Do I Advertise My Business Locally?

#1 Identify Your Target Market

The first step when advertising locally is to identify your target market and where they spend their time. 

  • What ages are they? 
  • What service areas do they live in/do you want to cover?
  • What habits do they have? (For instance: Where are they grocery shopping in your area? What news platforms do they listen to? What TV stations do they follow? Do they follow local schools? Do they shop at Home Depot?)

Most homeowners you want to reach will have Facebook or Instagram. And since they’re already spending time on there, you can reach them even before they’re looking for you.

With Google, customers have to already be searching for your business or services. Facebook puts the ad into their newsfeed, even if they might not be thinking about your services yet, so that trust is built.

#2 Define Your Goal

Next, you’ll want to determine your goal for your local advertising. 

Are you wanting to drive more traffic? Are you wanting your brand to be more recognized? Are you wanting people to call you?

The only platform that allows you to grow your brand recognition, expand your service areas, hyper-target specific service areas, and retarget customers in the decision making process is Facebook. 

#3 Choose A Campaign

If you’re using Facebook Ads, once you’ve identified your target audience and goal, you’ll need to decide what type of campaign you’re going to run. 

There are three campaign types that I recommend local businesses start out with:

  1. Video views campaign — It runs like a commercial, except on Facebook, so it’s a lot cheaper and a lot more targeted.
  2. Traffic campaign — The goal of this campaign is to get more people to visit your site. And since we’re using Facebook, you’ll get those people to your site at a cheaper cost than you would with Google. (Note: increased website traffic can have a positive effect on your ranking.)
  3. Reach campaign — If you have an audience of under 1 million, a reach campaign is the best one to run. As I said earlier, Facebook tries to get you the highest quality audience right off the bat. But reach campaigns don’t do that. They try to target everyone in that audience, so you’ll have the greatest reach, while also keeping that cost low for those smaller audiences.

#4 Determine A Budget

The last thing you want to do to get started advertising your business locally on Facebook is to decide on your budget. I always recommend at least $20 a day for at least three months to see results. If you’re only running one campaign, $10-$15 a day would also be sufficient. 

You can either schedule your ads to run continuously or you can schedule them to run just for periods of time. But to get started and to understand your audience and what Facebook can do for you, I would recommend that you run them continuously for those first three months. 

Special tip: After you launch your ads, let them run a week before making any changes. Facebook uses a learning algorithm and it needs that time to learn and see what they can do best. Don’t touch anything for a week or you’re never going to get out of the learning phase with Facebook, and you’ll just confuse Facebook, keeping your costs high. 

Can You Get Direct Leads From Facebook?

Absolutely! However, it’s important to note that when it comes to direct leads, Facebook is definitely for people further along in the buying process or people who have visited the site but didn’t take action. 

We do see calls and schedules with a lot of our clients, but it’s not like every person that sees a video is going to convert. So, it’s important to know how Facebook Ads fit into the larger marketing funnel.

How Much Do Facebook Ads Cost In 2019: A Cost Comparison Of Facebook Ads Vs. Google Ads, TV Ads & Newspaper Ads 

You’re probably wondering, in terms of cost-effectiveness, how does Facebook compare to other more traditional types of advertising? Let’s take a look…

Facebook Ads VS. Google Ads

A look at existing studies reveals that a ballpark cost for Facebook Ads for most industries is somewhere between $0.50 and two dollars per click. On average, small local businesses spend about $8,000 to $15,000 a year on Facebook Ads. These are businesses that like to stick to right around $20/day for advertising. Now, that’s great if you’re comparing it to Google. 

The average small business using Google Ads spends between $9,000-$10,000 per month. So that’s $100,000/year to get calls or traffic to their website. 

In other words, what you’d spend in a year for Facebook Ads is around the same as what you’d spend in a month for Google Ads, on average. But again, you have to remember that Facebook and Google are targeting different groups of people.

The four things we really use Facebook Ads for are:

  1. Conversions
  2. Website Traffic
  3. Brand Awareness
  4. Education

So that means we want people to watch videos, click, and visit your website. These people don’t have to be looking for your services, because we’re targeting them in Facebook, which is a platform people use for multiple purposes, not just when they need something. 

So you’re getting more traffic to your site at a cheaper price, and ads are hitting them earlier in the decision-making process. And since they’re already visiting their site, it’ll feel natural to go back to your site when they do need your services.

With Google, people are only going there with the intention of searching for your company name or a service that you offer. That means they are probably ready to book or make a decision on who they’re going to use. It’s only in this end-stage of the customer journey that they’re being shown Google Ads.

Bottom line: If you’re doing a direct cost comparison, Facebook Ads are cheaper than Google Ads, but they’re also different. They don’t produce the same hot leads, but they get people earlier on in the buying process, and without the customer actively seeking you or your services. 

That’s why Facebook Ads work so well in conjunction with Google Ads. They’re targeting different people at different stages.

Facebook Ads VS. TV Ads

For most of our clients, cost per impression with a well-developed Facebook campaign is around $0.15. That makes CPM (Cost Per 1,000 Impressions) unbelievably cheap…definitely under $5.00. Local commercials, on the other hand — which are a favorite way for local businesses to advertise — cost about $5 per 1,000 viewers for a 30-second commercial

The audience you reach with TV is completely dependent upon who is watching that TV station at that exact moment. You have no real control over who sees your ad, outside of zip codes and where the new station runs. So you have no way of knowing if your audience fits your target market — it may be made up of 10 year olds, apartment owners, millennials living with their parents, etc. 

With Facebook, everything is hyper-targeted. We know who we are targeting and we know that they’ll be shown that ad, no matter what time of day they visit Facebook or a partner site. And unlike the $5.00 minimum required by TV ads to reach a broad audience, the cost to reach a hyper-targeted audience through Facebook Ads tends to be more around $1.00 and under. 

Another benefit is that once an individual watches a video ad on Facebook, they can then be added to another retargeting audience and shown a special offer or an ad with testimonials and other trust builders. With a commercial/TV ad, once they watch it, that’s the end of engagement. There is nothing after that to keep them interested or to get them to engage with the brand.

Plus, with Facebook, you’re not limited to a 30-second commercial. You can run a six-second video, a 30-second video, a 10-minute video, or even an hour long video. It doesn’t matter how long it is, as long as people are engaging. 

Bottom line: With Facebook, you get cheaper, more targeted ads being shown to people you actually consider part of your target audience, and you can retarget and re-engage those individuals with other trust-building offers and incentives. 

Facebook Ads VS. Newspaper Ads

Okay, so Facebook Ads, on average, cost between $0.50 and $2.00 per click. How does that compare to newspaper ads?

Newspaper ads are actually pretty expensive! Depending on the paper, you may pay $12.00 for a black and white 4-inch ad and about $480 for a 10-inch ad. And again, your audience is limited only to people who buy the paper. Additionally, you can’t track if they’re actually looking at your ad in the newspaper — they may just pull out the Sports section. 

On Facebook, you can track how many people have seen your ad, how many people have clicked it, how many people visited the landing page — and more importantly, you can then retarget those people on Facebook. So you can use the money you’re saving by not buying a newspaper ad to show your Facebook ad to someone twice, rather than just once. 

Bottom Line: Facebook Ads are more affordable and more effective than newspaper ads, and it’s easier to track the ROI. 

So there you have your quick cost comparison breakdown. 

All that said, it’s stupid to think only about costs — you must also always consider ROI (Return On Investment). When deciding where to advertise and where to continue advertising, ask yourself:

  • Can I track the impact this has had on my business?
  • Is this making me money?
  • What effect is this having overall? 

Are Facebook Ads Effective For Small Businesses?

Absolutely. Here are the three main things Facebook Ads can do for your small business:

  • Build Brand Awareness — Facebook Ads can increase brand recognition and awareness on platforms where users are already spending their time. According to Pew Research, 68% of Americans use Facebook. That’s a lot of potential customers you could be reaching for your small business!
  • Increase Trust — Unlike Google Ads, which potential customers only see when searching for your business or your services in Google, Facebook Ads can hit people earlier in the buying process. Before your potential client has a plumbing problem or a chimney problem, they may see (through Facebook Ads) your company’s name and customer testimonials multiple times. So when they do have a problem and they’re ready to head to Google to make a search and make the call, the company name, services, and reputation are already ingrained in their brain, which results in more trust and an increased likelihood you’ll get the job.
  • Increase Website Traffic — Facebook Ads also drive more traffic to your website. While we can’t definitively say that more traffic = higher rankings, many of our Facebook Ads clients have seen an increase in website traffic and an overall boost in rankings. Causation? Maybe, maybe not. But when you have an increase in the number of people visiting your website (because of your Facebook Ads or for any other reason), Google does see that as a good indicator that you’re a relevant site that people value. And who do they want at the top of their search results? You guessed it: Relevant sites that people will find valuable!

Want some real world examples of how Facebook Ads help small businesses? Here are three quickies…

Chimney Industry

We have a chimney client who was using Google Ads, but felt they were still not reaching everyone in their potential audience. We started running Facebook Ads in conjunction with their Google Ads to see if we could help. 

We did a brand awareness campaign targeting people in their service area that hadn’t previously scheduled with them and a retargeting campaign targeting customers who had visited their site but had not taken a meaningful action. 

The result? They saw a 10% increase in profits for June-September 2018 vs. June-September 2017. 

Wildlife Removal Industry

Another client, this one a wildlife removal company, was ranking at the top of Google. But again, they knew they were only reaching the people already looking for them. They decided to give Facebook Ads a try, something none of their competitors were doing.

The result? Not only did they see a 30% increase in website traffic for June-September 2018 vs. June-September 2017, but they also saw an increase in overall brand awareness and engagement.

Masonry/Chimney Industry

Okay, one more. A masonry and chimney client was having trouble reaching new customers using Google alone. They also wanted to increase the value of their current customers by getting them to purchase more services and products. So, they decided to give Facebook Ads a try.

They used Facebook Ads to educate new potential customers in their service area,  retarget current customers, and introduce new/higher value services. 

The result of their efforts? They were able to increase the minutes of branded and educational videos watched by 6700% in March 2019-October 2019 compared to the same months in previous years.

Quick note: If you increase your budget beyond the $20/day mark and increase the effort you put forth, you could see even better results. It all depends on who you’re working with and how your targeting is going. 

What Should You Do If You Decide You Want To Give Facebook Ads A Try?

Curious about Facebook Ads and think you might want to give them a try? If you want to give it a go and see the results that I’m talking about, then here’s what you need to do:

  1. Commit to at least a three month trial period. Facebook needs time to learn what works, and so do you! 
  2. Create a goal, whether that is to drive more traffic to your site, to get more calls, to increase your brand presence, to expand into a new service area, whatever it may be. Put that goal on paper and see which metrics you would need to track to see if it’s successful. 
  3. Determine what type of campaign would best help you reach those goals. Facebook has over eight campaign types and each one of them works a little bit differently. So you need to be willing to test a few things in the beginning. 
  4. Determine what budget you have to put into these campaigns. If you don’t have at least $20 a day to put into these for at least three months, I would not try it. Stick to boosting your posts on Facebook instead. 
  5. Get creative with your ad creative and copy. If you have good photos or videos for your company, you can reuse those. But if you don’t, make sure you take some time to get some good photos of your technicians, your team, whatever you want to highlight in your ads. 
  6. Be willing to monitor Facebook. While Google and some other options out there kind of allow you to just set it, put some money behind it, and forget it, Facebook is not like that. Facebook is always changing, the results are always changing, so you need to be checking in at least once a week if you’re going to be running Facebook Ads.

Phew. Thanks Amber!

Ready to see what Facebook Ads can do for your business? Reach out to Amber at amber@sparkmarketer.com. She and Brena live and breathe this stuff!

Why Social Media Is So Important For Growing Your Business

Why Social Media Is So Important For Growing Your Business

Do you have a personal Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account? Well, so do most of your current customers and future customers. What better way to grow your business than by connecting with those customers through social media? Social media also allows your business to connect with other local businesses, which is always a plus.

A wise group of people, The Spark Marketer Crew, enlightened me on the important role social media has in branding your business, increasing web traffic to your company website, and making your online presence stronger. It just makes sense.  Social media plays a major role in businesses today because most customers do their research on a business via their computers and smartphones before they make that call. Social-Media-Icons

Our company has been using social media for years and it has been a great tool for us for building relationships with other businesses and customers.  We started off using Facebook, then added Twitter and Instagram. These social media platforms allow us and our customers to engage with each other on a regular basis, not only when our services are needed.

Don’t be afraid to try social media for your business, but remember, it takes time and commitment for it to grow — but it’s all worth it.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Don’t use your personal account — have a separate social media account for your business.
  • There are many social media platforms to choose from, so choose the one you feel the most comfortable with. In my opinion, Facebook is the easiest.
  • You need to post daily on each of the platforms you choose and always have an image with your post.
  • Keep it professional, but fun. Share repair work photos, employee work anniversaries or birthdays, helpful tips that you or your customers would enjoy, etc. Mix it up!
  • Like and share the posts of others.
  • Don’t always try to sell something — it’s social media. You need to find a balance between business and popularity and use the platform to be social.

Social Media for business is necessary if you want to stay in front and grow your company, but it takes time and commitment. Stick with it! Your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram followers will be people who know your company and have most likely done business with you in the past. Use social media to show them who you are and what you’re about and to build relationships, turning one-time customers into long-term fans. These are the customers who are going to tell their friends about you! 

Linda-RoydhouseLinda Roydhouse is co-owner of Clean Sweep of Anne Arundel County and offers social media management tools, tips, and consulting services to other business owners through Roydhouse Effect. Check her out!

There Are Only So Many Hours In A Day: Is It Better To Be On Every Social Platform Or Just A Few?

There Are Only So Many Hours In A Day: Is It Better To Be On Every Social Platform Or Just A Few?

Staying on top of all the trends in social media is a pressure, isn’t it? And that’s just for your personal accounts. What about for your business? New platforms and social avenues seem to pop up every few months. Which ones does your competition use? Did they already sign up for the shiny new ‘Next BIG Thing’???

The fear of being left behind is very real and quite valid. Should you be on every social platform your competitors are on? Should you be trying to catch a wave on every trend?

Alarm-ClockManaging your social media accounts can be incredibly time-consuming, especially if you sign up for every platform out there. Think about it. If you put the time into creating and launching content and engaging with others on every social channel out there, you wouldn’t have time to run the very business you’re trying to promote. That’s why you have to give it some thought.

Social media channels are like shoes. Like shoes, you need to try them on to see which ones are a good fit. Some are better fits than others and you need them if you are going to make headway. Instead of trying to wear all the shoes, invest in the right ones.

The social media account that bears your business’s name but just sits there twiddling its thumbs should be abandoned. You know, the social accounts that, at one time, had your full attention, until … they didn’t? It’s better to have strong channels representing your company (and YOU) rather than idle channels drifting at sea like a derelict vessel. If it’s got your name on it but it isn’t doing much – it’s not a good advertisement for your business.

Don’t look at abandoning a social media channel as a failure. People have followed your company on multiple platforms and they will continue to follow you elsewhere – where you have frequent and engaging content. Your time and energies are best spent focusing on the channels you are most comfortable with and that show signs of forward motion (Increase in Followers + Increase in Engagement = Increase in SEO). Time is, and always will be, money. Return on investment is crucial, but the ROI of social media for business can be harder to calculate than other aspects of your business. Really put thought into which social platforms will likely give you the highest ROI.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a must for business owners as well as key employees because it allows you to connect with other businesses and network with key people in your industry. Some love LinkedIn while others feel it to be a necessary evil, but it’s just that – necessary.

Facebook

Facebook is the 800 pound gorilla in the room. So many potential clients use it, so there needs to be a presence, however light, especially since customers and clients are able to leave reviews on this platform.

Twitter & Instagram

Whether you choose to invest time into Twitter or Instagram may come down to how much you like to chat and engage versus how much you take photos of your work and surroundings. What may on the surface seem like a great deal of effort becomes less so when the brand awareness and SEO impact becomes evident. Hashtags should be used with both platforms. Tweets are indexable by Google and using your SEO keywords as searchable hashtags on Instagram posts will go a long way towards helping your online visibility.

Snapchat & YouTube

Whether you choose to invest time into Snapchat or YouTube may depend upon your target demographics and what exactly you are promoting. Snapchat works well for events, retail, and entertainment. It is presently a younger demographic than other platforms. But remember, Facebook started out with a younger base before the Baby Boomers took it over.

YouTube is a great platform for building authority because you can post instructional and informational videos, and if they’re good, you’ll get shares and subscribers. As Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all allow videos, it is kind of a no-brainer to have a connected YouTube channel/account for your business. Videos can be uploaded to YouTube before sharing elsewhere or added later. You don’t necessarily need fancy video equipment to have a successful YouTube channel either. Most camera phones provide quality video footage, and 30 to 45 seconds of footage is all you really need.

This is sounding easier, isn’t it? Remember, the authenticity of your business and your message will have a better chance of ringing true and hitting the proper marks with fewer, properly focused and tended channels. So go get social and don’t be afraid to kill the platforms you don’t use – save your energy for those you can invest in!

Life’s Just A Cocktail Party

Life’s Just A Cocktail Party

Mick Jagger sings the above sentiment in the Rolling Stones’ song ‘Shattered’ written back in the 1970’s. It is just as relevant now when teaching social media to others, not just the ‘how’ but the ‘why’. (Once you grasp the ‘why’, the ‘how’ gets a lot easier.)

What is a cocktail party but social gathering, with the goal to meet other people and get to know them better? In terms a business owner can easily understand, it’s networking. It’s connecting with people and entities with whom you’d like to do business.lifes-a-cocktail-party

Like a large cocktail party, social media’s multiple channels can be dauntingly vast and off-putting. What makes it worth staying and mingling are the aforementioned connections, as well as social media’s ability to help establish your business’s presence locally and on the internet. Yup, we said it – your internet presence, i.e. ranking on search engines. I see we have your attention.

With most social media channels your posts will get indexed by search engines, alerting them that you are being relevant. If you are more relevant than your local competition, who do you think will rank higher on someone’s internet search for your services in your service area? This is good stuff.

But how does it all work? Do you HAVE to be on every social media channel out there? One does not have to be active on every channel. Presence on three to four social media networks is the norm. Find the ones with which you are most comfortable and dabble.

Find Your Voice

Think about how you want your brand to be presented. Who is the best person to represent the voice of your company? It’s you or a trusted member of your staff. Can others do the job for you? Certainly, you receive enough spam email and robo calls hawking these services, but it is a step removed, and though it can be crisp it is not as authentic as your own voice. Find your voice.

Find Your Medium

Do you take video at your business? Youtube and Vine are for you. Do you like taking photos on the job and around town? social-media-explainedInstagram, Facebook, and Pinterest are great opportunities to share. Don’t forget Twitter. You’ve got options!

Don’t think you have the time to make it work? A smart phone can record a photo and a moment for later posting, either sitting in the passenger seat heading towards the next job, at the office after work, or later after dinner at home. Both paid and free tools exist to help with scheduling so you can get work done ahead of time and remove some of the pressure.

Find Your Flow

Presenting your latest offer or deal repeatedly on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is not ‘doing social media’. It is a part – you get partial credit for that. For full credit you also need to follow other accounts, share some of their posts, like some of their posts, and comment occasionally. It’s interacting. It’s being social. How do you enjoy listening to that one person at a party who talks incessantly about themselves? You likely find yourself looking for the door or hoping for a rescue text or phone call. Don’t make your customers feel that way.

Find Your Sweet Spot

Sure it involves a little trial and error – after all, what works for one company may not work for another – but social media is a must. Figure out what works for your business and what engages your customers – find your sweet spot.

Social media for business is a little like a great chili recipe. There are dozens of viable and successful ways to do it right. The most important thing being: you are the one directing the kitchen.