Social Simplified

You’ve heard that your business needs “a strong social media presence.” But what does that mean? Here’s a primer for creating great content for everything from Twitter to Tumblr and beyond.

You’ve committed to developing a social media presence for your business. Great! You have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, you’re thinking about starting a blog or making a video, you’ve registered for Instagram. Perhaps now you’re wondering, “What have I signed up for?”

Relax. At its core, social media is simply producing and consuming content of interest. On a personal level, that can mean sharing a job announcement, holiday recipe or vacation video. On a business level, it’s the same—except your friends are now your consumers and clients.

The most important element, regardless of platform (i.e., delivery method) is good content. This is what gets the followers, shares, likes, retweets, comments, hashtags and links backs to your source.

Here’s how to create good content.

What I’d Wear: To a FL Football game

 

Don’t be boring.

Just as you follow what interests you, think about what content will interest your followers—and mix it up. Share updates from the shop, photos from the road, videos, memes, links to interesting stories, live Tweets from an event, or a round-up of your Top 3 [whatevers] this week.

Local businesses Bead All About It and IndepenDANCE Studio update regularly and share content from other sources on Facebook. There are photos galore, they showcase new products, give shout-outs by tagging other businesses and include infamous meme photos in their regular feed.

 

Visuals matter.

I was recently impressed with (former Rolls’n’Bowls) Yume Ume Japanese Kitchen’s transition materials and ambassador kit filled with samples, merchandise, coupons and stickers.

If you’re selling tangible goods, you must be very visual in social media. Not just an album of “here’s what happened at X event,” but new products, behind-the-scenes photos or videos, before-and-afters, photos from business trips, “what we’re having for lunch” at the local restaurant—these can all assert your voice.

You don’t need to be a pro photographer (though if you have access to one, that’s great!). Take a photo on your phone, add an Instagram filter and you’ve got a neat-looking visual.

Say you own a restaurant and post photos from the kitchen. Create a timelapse video of your dish from produce to plate. Make a “how-to” video of a dish to try at home, or a step-by-step photo tutorial of your signature cocktail.

What if you own a small garden shop? Show how your products work harmoniously by creating a few Pinterest boards of seasonal plants, flower arrangements, projects you can do with herbs and so on. The customer can visit the shop, buy their supplies and take a little piece of your expertise home.

Furniture chain West Elm did a great job of this with their How To Make a Terrarium video and step-by-step photo tutorial.

 

Be relevant.

It’s not just about being in the “now.” Post content that is relevant and make sense for your business. Share what works for your client base to keep you top of mind. Make yourself the expert in your field.

Recently, Piesanos Stone Fired Pizza on 75th Street hosted a contest to win a pizza for guessing the Gator football game score.

 

Include takeaways.

Ahhh, the old, “What’s in it for me?” factor. In addition to “how to” posts, how can you add value to your content? Can you host a contest by asking for online participation? Can you include coupons or special deals?

You can post deals on foursquare for customers who check-in to your business; you can provide exclusive deals through e-mail marketing. Local co-op restaurant Civilization posts specials for lunch and dinner daily.

 

Be choosy.

If all this sounds overwhelming (producing good, shareable content is no joke), that’s OK. You do not have to do it all. Some networks work better for some than others.

Ask yourself, “Do I really need a video? Can I realistically make one myself? Can I afford to hire a  professional?” If the answer is no, then photos might be the way to go.

If you’re really in doubt, you can always look to an expert for help. Just remember try to be original, and if not, don’t forget to Link with Love.

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Melanie Ling is the Social Media Marketing Director for Contemporary Management Concepts. She is Gainesville’s lead Foodspotter and has been featured on Mashable for her work in niche social media marketing. She also wrote a city guide to Gainesville for blog-turned-book Design*Sponge.

 

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