RI Business Forum

Lunch & Learn: Creating Great Social Media, June 2020

June 19, 2020

Social media has grown at an exponential rate since COVID hit in 2020, when "being social" took on a whole new meaning. Take five minutes and read what experts, Lori Giuttari and Scott Indermaur of Visual Thrive define as "must-do's" to get the maximum from your social media.

All the basics are right here!

Let's get started with why your company should be on social media. First and foremost, we know that social media, particularly now, is a place where people are going for connection, looking for things to buy, news, information, and where small and medium businesses, especially, can level the playing field online. It's a given that your customers are there, and social media is a terrific way for you to communicate with them on a regular basis.

When we create social media for business, we want to first start with the question, who does your company sell to? If you're a company selling to other companies, that would be considered a B2B, business to business, so we recommend that you do outreach and communication on a platform like LinkedIn, where other businesses share business information. Most of the customers on Shop Local RI are focused on B2C, a business selling directly to customers/consumers, and for a B2C, there are more platforms to consider, such as Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, etc. Whatever platforms you choose, your presence there is vital.

When you begin to think about social media for your business, it's essential that you take a thorough look at your website and make sure that your website and all your social media profiles have the same information, so that your BRAND is clear. With that online consistency you will always look like ONE cohesive company, without question.

And lastly, be sure you know the answers to the following questions when posting on social media:
What are your goals for that particular post? Do you want to increase followers? Do you want to engage and excite your customer base? Or do you want to educate your customers?

A key component of both websites and social media, is visual content, namely photographs. A lot of business owners want to know how to take better photography so what the consumer sees reflects their product, as well as a sense of the business itself. The first step is easy: take lots of pictures, not just one. Although you may feel that you've got it in a couple of shots, take more. How well your photos integrate with your written content is what makes one business's social media exciting and draw customers, while a business with limited, less interesting visuals remains static.

The second step: always make sure to shoot wide, medium, and tight shots. Think of your social media as your business's story. You want your ongoing social media to be telling your story visually as well as it's written content.

For example, say you have a bakery: the first series of wide shots you take may be of the whole room or kitchen, so you can show your audience what your beautiful workplace looks like. Your next is a series of medium shots in which you might show the baker in action, perhaps in the kitchen, kneading bread. And finally, you really focus in and take a series of tight shots, maybe of the delectable, finished product or something else that you feel "says it all" in a tight shot.

Always keep in mind, you're telling a story, and you may, at the end of the day, use three shots utilizing each of the three styles, or you may just end up showing one single shot. Remember, your goal is to tell a compelling story, so your photo decisions are based on which images tell your story best. Also, check out what your competition is doing visually, and see what's working for them, and what resonates with you. It just might boost your creativity and trigger innovative ideas for your own business. Another bonus: your social media story is also a fantastic way to humanize your business - maybe have a sense of humor around the things that you're doing, so that your customers get to know you a little bit better.

And then of course, use hashtags. For example, the "bakery business" mentioned earlier, might post hashtags like national bread baking day or national muffin day. And in addition to hashtags, there are so many other ways to engage your audience, using song lyrics, or poems, or quotes - the "this or that" or "before or after" are ones that people love. Make certain to always use positive, action words so your audience gets a sense of momentum with your business, and gain a positive feeling from your post. Whatever hashtags or quotes, etc. you choose, these are great ways to expose your company in diverse ways, and within different networks. You always want to optimize your engagement.

Social media is your brand beyond your website.

And your customers are watching. When we run analytics to gauge the effectiveness of a business's social media presence, the numbers go way up when the audience sees pictures of the business owners at work or the employees of a business engaging with customers. People are interested and really do want to see what your business is up to.

And finally, if you're asking people - customers, business associates, whomever - to contact you or to reach out in a specific way, make sure your contact information is readily available in the post or in your profile.

Most critical: take time now to look at your website and social media. How effective is your current digital marketing strategy? How well is your business's story being told on social media? Consider what positive changes might be made to enhance your visibility and expand your engagement. Use social media as the powerful tool it is, and allow your ideas, your business, your contribution to the global market meet their potential.

(This is an edited video transcript with Lori Giuttari and Scott Indermaur from Visual Thrive.)

Please click on our link, https://visualthrive.com/ for more information about enhancing your business's social media and the digital marketing services we provide.