president of Moxie Design and Marketing
Q: Why is it key for small- and medium-size businesses to use social media? How does it help their brand?
A: Social media is a great way to not only connect with customers but also engage in meaningful conversation with them. It's an opportunity for two-way conversation, but it's also important to not oversell yourself or your product while engaging.
By asking questions, companies can find out what customers are thinking and gain insight. Customers may already be talking about your brand, so it's important to participate in these conversations to make sure you are controlling the messaging as much as possible. The millennial generation wants to be involved with brands they believe in, and social media is a great way to make this connection.
Having a social media presence is critical in helping increase search engine optimization (SEO) and organic search. However, it's important to not assume your company has to be on social media. Depending on the industry and what you are trying to achieve, it may or may not be necessary.
What is the best way to tiptoe into social media? What do you feel a company absolutely must have?
We tell clients to pick one social media platform and do it well before moving on to another. Most companies want to pursue social media because it's “free” from a cost standpoint; however, time is not “free,” and if you do too much at once, it can become very time consuming. Also, understanding that platform's audience and what their expectation may be is very important because it's different on each platform.
Best advice I can give is to pick one and create a strong presence there because it will be easier to engage followers and create content specific to that platform (as well as keep track of competitors' activities).
What best practices do you recommend to smaller businesses for social media?
Allocate time each day to concentrate on social media and do not let notifications/alerts interfere with your to-do list. This may mean 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes at lunch and again before the end of the day to engage with users. It's more important to keep time managed; otherwise, it can get quickly out of control.
Pictures and videos normally perform better than text-only updates, and remember to always have a call to action encouraging readers to share, click or like your post.
Include your social media presence on all collateral if possible. Email signatures, letterhead, business cards, website, e-newsletters, advertisements, etc. are great ways to inform customers or potential customers you have a presence.
Measure and share your content. It's easy to measure ROI and see what posts/content had the most interest (and which didn't). You can then adjust content accordingly.
Putting time in upfront to figure out what you want to post when will save you tremendous time. Are there holidays, dates of importance that are related to your industry? Create a monthlong (or better yet, quarterly) plan of content you will post and when so you have a roadmap.
Some companies have a younger staff member handle social media, since they are more immersed in it. What added value does your company offer in terms of social media strategy?
A mentor told me the best leaders surround themselves with people who are smarter and better than them in areas where they may not have a high level of experience, and then trust them because it can only make your company stronger. I truly believe that is critical to building a great team and company.
Our digital media specialist is 23, and when it comes to ideas and ways of executing on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, YouTube and the rest of the social media platforms, she is definitely the expert in our office. Blending her know-how with the rest of the team's experience has helped elevate our clients' engagement and results they are seeing in social media.
I have always said marketing is a young person's business because the way people communicate and receive information changes rapidly and the future of marketing is controlled by younger generations. Millennials are changing the way companies do business, and we are seeing this across all industries. We educate clients about why this is so important and steps they may need to take to not only communicate with these individuals but also provide products and services in which they will be interested. In many cases our digital media team (a group of Millennials) has been involved with outlining what new products and services they need to offer or looking at current offerings and making adjustments to appeal to this generation.
About Julie Lando
Julie Lando, 41, is a York native who returned to her hometown after several years in Florida. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business and political science from the University of Florida and honed her marketing career there, last serving as director of marketing for King Jewelers.
She lives in York Township with her children — Cooper, 17, and twins Parker and Peyton, 11. She is a “big fan of the arts — whether live music, exhibits or even just going to the movies.”