Updated: Dec 17, 2019
Writing last month's Content Calendar Blog inspired me to turn it into a series. So welcome to the Social Strategy Series! Let me explain a little bit about how it will work, and then we will dive into this month's topic: Finding Balance.
With this series, I want to provide value to small business owners, non-profits, and other individuals who manage an organization's social media. A more in-depth approach to the hows and whys of social media. Strategy and development are my favorite parts of my job. As I explained last month, I love a good spreadsheet. So each month, I am giving YOU the chance to submit your biggest, scariest questions on social media to get a little extra help from me. The best way to submit those questions is via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by commenting or messaging any of HeyGiud's Social Media platforms. There will be a post that goes out before the blog for the month where you can leave those. This month's looked like this:
Alright, now it's time to get down to the nitty-gritty. Finding a balance in your social media content is incredibly important. How much selling is too much selling? What should we be posting outside of a sales pitch post?
Social media strategists refer to the 80/20 rule. Basically, what that rule says is that 20% of your posts should sales-related, and 80% should be absolutely anything and everything else. I know that seems like a daunting task, right? You're on social media to sell your products and services or get people to pick you for where their donation is going. There are so many ways to get that taken care of in ways that aren't a post that sounds like Meredith Grey.
I'll use my own business as an example. If you look at my social media very, very rarely do I ever actually state that a person should contract HeyGiud for social services. A lot of that is a choice. I'm a small business, a one-lady operation, and not looking at every growing beyond that. So I don't take on projects that I don't have the brain bandwidth to handle. My posts are mostly meant to fill the other bucket: inform, entertain, and engage. As a Solopreneur, I have more freedom to use my social media more for brand awareness than being sales focused. I let people have a glimpse into my life with my social media. People do business with people they like, know, and trust. I want people to get to know me, within reason. I have a pretty wide variety of interests.
I took a day off in April to go see Avengers: Endgame in the theater the first day it came out, you better believe I shared about that. I've done that in the past with any Marvel or Star Wars film. I'm a nerd to the core, and I have often found a bond with people over that.
I also sit on the board and committees of a couple non-profits. Being involved in my community and giving back is extremely important to me. I have skills that are of value, so giving back by using them feels good.
I can usually be found in a local coffee shop somewhere. Coffee is my absolute favorite vice and there's something about coffee shops and the people that fill them that give me creative energy.
I love enjoying what Des Moines has to offer. Whether it's live music, art shows, or a festival in the summer, I like to check them out.
I also am very open about my chronic health conditions. Being an advocate for myself and making people aware of how chronic health conditions impact people's lives is something I am very proud of.
I volunteer with a political campaign. This is where I am a little more vague on my company's social media. You can always count on me to promote voting, provide resources for how to register, where to vote, and how to inform yourself of the issues that are important to you. What you won't see is me publically supporting my candidate of choice on my company social media. My politics aren't relevant to my business, even though they are a massive part of who I am.
Knowing when to share and when not to share is important. You'll almost always see a post when I am at CICIL for a board meeting or at a FuseDSM event. You may even see a picture of an art show or the inside of a venue for a concert. You won't likely know whether I'm enjoying water, Diet Coke, or a Peace Tree Brewing Blonde Fatale. Okay, you might see a picture of a Blonde Fatale, supporting my fellow small businesses is essential to my brand and me. You will see me at my polling station but not a photo of my ballot, I save that for my personal social media profiles. Being able to add elements of my personality into my brand and social media presence is part of my strategy. It helps you get to know the person behind the posts.
For a client that is looking to sell, especially one that isn't a one-person operation, we structure their strategy differently. And while the 80/20 rule is the ideal, I know that not every client I have can do that. Sometimes selling is part of the inform, entertain, and engage portion too. For example, promoting that someone registers for a lunch and learn or an annual fundraiser is selling a product. But, when your customer shows up for the event, they are getting benefit out of it beyond sales. Your posts should all have a "Book Now" or "Shop" link attached to them. It may seem counter-intuitive, but I promise it's not. Showing your expertise and providing information can do as much, if not more, than a request to buy can. I've worked with a variety of clients over the years, so the examples I can come up with are almost endless.
A photographer shouldn't only post their next mini-session opportunity or how to get on their calendar for wedding season. They need to look beyond that. They need to show people their style of photography and provide useful tips to the people who are interested in booking their services. What are the best or easiest ways to find coordinating clothes for that mini-session? What are your favorite locations this time of year? Show an artistic shot of that location without people in it will get people excited to book your mini-session. Did you shoot a wedding a year ago? Help that couple celebrate their first anniversary. Someone is going to see that photo and know you are the person they want documenting their special day.
A real estate agent, of course, wants to sell their current listings. They should also let people know about market trends, interest rate trends, and yes, even what the current home decor trends are. Yes, they need to tell people when their next open house is, but they can also help that buyer celebrate their closing date. Maybe you aren't selling properties but renting them. The key with this is talking about the community and amenities you're offering. People love learning about what a place offers so that they can picture themselves living there. Talking about different decorating hacks that can be done in rental properties is also important. We all remember what it was like living in that first apartment that wouldn't let us paint the walls and surrounded us with a sterile feeling. We also all remember what budget living was like, go back to that place in your life, and find the 'hacks' your future tenants need. Sites like Apartment Therapy or Pinterest will be an incredible resource. Keeping your audience up-to-date on the things that matter most in your industry will continue to remind them that you are the expert they want to work with.
A massage therapist needs to provide information as to why regular massage therapy is beneficial to a person. Whether it's how massage can help a person recover from a recent injury or the benefits it has for a person's mental health, informing your audience is of the utmost importance. Talking about continuing ed opportunities you are taking is essential. Do you know how to do cupping therapy? It's trendy and an incredible part of healing, knowing you offer it will help your audience decide that they need to book an appointment. None of that requires you continually requesting they book with you. Most health and wellness professionals can use the same idea.
A non-profit or community-based organization can provide the 80% by sharing any news that is relevant to their community, their mission, or their members.
Any organization can also provide the non-sales related posts by looking at the holidays, hashtag holidays, or other community events happening and share about them. If you have a representative attending a ribbon-cutting, a learning opportunity, or volunteering in the community, you can share about that too. People love knowing that the businesses they support give back. It's part of why people love supporting small businesses.
Okay, you've built the entire calendar of posts and have your schedule down. Now I'm asking you to think about how to do social posts on the fly, tricky, right? Here's how that works and why building the calendar will help you achieve social media bliss. When you sat down and planned out everything you needed to post for the month, you probably included in there that on the third Wednesday, you had an event. If you didn't, do it now. Plan your schedule or that of your employees into your calendar. If you have an employee that helps you do social media, sit down and talk about it once a month. Make sure you're on the same page. Build the plan together so that you aren't posting the same things or too close together. If you know that your co-worker is at a luncheon today, you'll make sure the post you're responsible for doesn't go up while they are there. You'll plan it well before it happens or much later in the day. I have some accounts where I manage posts with clients. Yes, occasionally we post closer together than would be ideal. To eliminate as much of that as possible, I schedule everything that I can out well in advance so that they can see a report from my scheduling program, Sprout Social. There are other programs out there that may make collaborating on social easier for your team.
What are you planning on adding to your social media to inform, educate, and engage your audience? What are you doing to change your content calendar to make the month run more smoothly for you? I hope you gained some new ideas on how to balance your social media more effectively and efficiently.
If you have questions for next month's post, I would love to hear them! Now that I have this out of the way the nerd in me is going to dive headfirst into Disney+ and check out The Mandalorian.