Vend Biz 101 Meeting | Part 2

Hunter Frostchen and I answered the call of a Business 101 meeting from our Raleigh Mompreneurs. She covered the legal details such as LLC, DBA, EIN and more. This is part two of our meeting, marketing and social media platforms Facebook and Twitter. There will be a third part with points for Pinterest, Instagram and Google+, as well as marketing tool #1, email lists!

Raleigh Business 101, Raleigh Social Media Tips, Social Media for BusinessMarketing
 is the process of communicating the value of a product or service to customers for selling that product or service. Wikipedia
Know your demographic– Determine the audience you plan on selling to and speak to them, creating conversation appropriate for that demographic- moms or parents (moms and dads), women 30-45 or maybe women 20-30. Be sure you know who is actually buying form you. Could you actually be selling more to grandparents then parents? Then you need to change your social media engagement for that audience. 
Time of day to engage– Know when the best time to post. (Facebook insights can help.) If moms are your sales demographic, early morning posts, lunch or naptime posts and after bath/bed posts are probably best. If you are business to business, during business hours may be a better time for you to post, and probably weekdays over weekends.  Are you east coast only, or do you have (or do you want) a west coast following as well? You may want to schedule posts for other time zones.
Clients want to interact– Be sure you are checking back to read and comment on posts. Be the personality of your brand. Try new things, takes risks to see what posts/images/links get the most response. Personal, but not too personal. You’ll have to find the right mix. (From my experience, sometimes if I have a long thread of comments and I chime in with a comment, it brings comments to a hard stop, so I often let the comments run a little longer, then reply.) 
Overwhelmed by social media– Do some Google research on all social media platforms to see where your sales demographic is, and don’t forgot to just ASK your clients where they are online! Pick 1-3 social media platforms and do them well. If you have a stale account, delete it. KnowEm has an awesome tool to determine whether the social media name you’d like to use across the board for your biz is available! Picking a good biz name from the start is important- something to do with your biz, nothing cutesy or too personal like your nickname and your graduation year. 
We know Facebook isn’t exactly out promoting businesses for free right now (although not impossible to have a successful business page there without paying), don’t leave it but don’t spend all your time there. You know Facebook, you comfortable with it, but use what you’ve learned and the confidence you’ve gained there and spread some of that to another social media platform that’s appropriate for your business and customers.
Daily posts are required for Facebook (2-3 a day) and they need to be creative to promote interaction with your fans. Unscheduled posts are favored by Facebook and spreading them out proves better views also.
Recreate the same look and feel as successful Facebook business pages. Look at competitors’ Facebook pages or pages you like to visit and mimic their posts or style and evaluate your fans’ engagement after changes to see if interactions have improved. 

Facebook groups! I’m not sure how you can use them for all businesses, but not a bad idea if you can. It’s more likely that fans in groups will see yours group posts in their news feeds.  Facebook groups have been great for getting information out to you in Vend Raleigh. Be very careful not to sell there all the time, or people will leave or turn off notifications. 
What I’m seeing on my Facebook pages

Stay at Home Rock Star– I’m very personal and take more risks with humorous posts there. Some of the simplest but most daring posts get me the most views. I use little images or links. I very rarely sell on the page, only if I have a new product or special promotion. I am sure to pin a promotional post to the top of my Facebook wall so visitors will see it! Photos of fans wearing my shirts are great attention grabbers or “Rock Star Sightings” when others take photos of cars with the Stay at Home Rock Star decal on them. These posts are fun and get everyone involved to see if they have been spotted.
Social Butterflies– It’s been hard to find a personal connection there to be honest, but from the start Social Butterflies has been no fluff, professional interaction for busy parents. When I look at other children/family publications around Raleigh, they all seem to to have minimal interaction as well. Often times I’ll get lots of hits on a link, but not a lot of comments. The key to getting comments and buzz on the wall is to post something very local and news worthy to start conversation (although I stay clear on controversial topics). Time of day is important on this page, those early 6:30 am posts before everyone gets busy with their day work really well, and Facebook seems to favor even my scheduled posts at that time.
Vend Raleigh– I honestly think that because I have paid for ads for Vend Raleigh that Facebook doesn’t allow as many views on my posts.  Just my thinking, no proof. Posts that get the most interaction from my followers there (you!), are posts that give you opportunities to talk about your businesses. Most Mondays I’ll ask what Vend Mompreneurs are working on and ask for business links, those are popular and gets lots of interaction and views. 
Twitter requires many more posts a day than Facebook, 4-10 posts. If you have something new or important to share, post that same info 4-7 times in a day to catch different viewers, with varying text as not to bore the one person who did see all your tweets. Remember, Twitter is fast and furious! People won’t go back too far to see what the Twitter feed holds, there is a lot going on as soon as you sign in. Hootsuite is a great tool to schedule tweets, and it’s basic package is enough and free for most small businesses.  Twitter does not penalize scheduled posts like Facebook tends to.
Twitter allows only 140 characters in a post.  You have to be creative! Consider using 110 or 120 characters in your post if you are hoping for some retweets. A great question from a Vend Momprenuer, do you thank a RT (retweet)? It feels weird to thank a RT, right? Well I searched for answers and it seems that you do not thank a RT.  Why not? You may leave out someone that retweeted, you’ll fill your Twitter account with boring thank you posts, etc. What you can do it respond to someone’s RT with a comment that’s valid conversation.
You must interact and what I mean is, you must start conversation and you must go seeking conversations to take part in. I’ve interacted with well knows authors, comedians and designers as if they were friends because “they are there” and why not? They want to increase their social interaction, too. (What a great buzz to get a well known “someone” to tweet you or retweet you!

Oh, the hashtag! The pound sign or hashtag a search tool. Use the # symbol right before a word (no space) and you can search anyone else who has been using that hashtagged word. Want to follow what people are saying about ABC’s The Bachelor? Use hashtag #TheBachelor or ABC’s hashtag #BachelorNation (hashtags are not case sensitive). The hashtagged word or phrase can be a common searched word (or words, no space) or a branded hashtag to bring people to a specific website or business. Another example, I use #stayathomerockstar as a brand hashtag, so if a fan is wearing a Stay at Home Rock Star t-shirt and they take a selfie or they are out having fun with their kids, they may tag a post with #stayathomerockstar for me to find them, or other fans to find them. See what’s trending and get into the conversation! This week you could have used #NCsnow #NCsnowchat #WRAL. Feel free to use #VendRaleigh in your posts so your fellow Mompreneurs can see what you are up to – and gain new followers! (If you are wanting to talk with someone directly on Twitter, use the @ sign, @athomerockstar, not a hashtag #.) 
That’s a lot, right?! Look for part 3 from our Biz 101 meeting covering more social media platforms and email lists coming soon! What Facebook and Twitter tips would you add?
Cary Heise
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