With 40 million small business pages on Facebook and 12% of small businesses on Twitter (source), it can be challenging to make sure your social media content stands out. Based on our experience and testing, we’ve pulled together 9 powerful tips to help keep your audience continually engaged and interested in your social media content.
1. Use photos taken by your customers
Does your restaurant have a hashtag? Are you monitoring the photos your customers are posting and tagging on social? If not, you may be missing hundreds of photos being posted daily by your loyal fans.
If you haven’t explored tagged and hashtagged photos related to your business on social media, you may be pleasantly surprised by the quality and quantity. Seek out content already generated by your customers and integrate it into your social media strategy. Your customer’s artfully-angled & filtered Instagram photos often speak louder about the quality & excitement associated with your product than staged professional photography ever could.
IMPORTANT CAVEAT Don’t forget to get permission & give credit when you post other people’s content!
2. Create promotions exclusively for social
Two reasons to create exclusive promotions for your social platforms: First, it is an easy way to measure your social media ROI. Track how many people engage, share and redeem your offer. Second, exclusive promotions are a great incentive for your customers to follow you on social media. These promotions also provide a reason for your audience to regularly check your pages for any on-going deals.
3. Create unique content for each social media platform
Not all platforms are created equal – or used equally – by your audience. Know the types of content that work best on each social platform and adjust your content accordingly.
You may choose to highlight specials, local events and short testimonials on Twitter and repost customer photos primarily on Facebook/Instagram. Creating and editing your content for each platform will also encourage your customers to follow you on multiple platforms instead of just one.
4. Go local
Build partnerships, cross-promote, get involved, and share what’s happening in your community on your social platforms. Be aware of the events and businesses in your community and make sure to schedule them into your editorial calendar. Don’t forget to leverage local and event hashtags to expand the reach of your posts before, during and after events.
5. Run a photo contest
If you are looking for a way to boost your social media engagement, create fun ways for your audience to get involved. Photo competitions are easy to stand up and generate great content that can be used in the future (See Tip #1). Choose an app like WooBox, Gleam, Wishpond, etc. to host your competition and dream up several BIG prizes to increase excitement. Don’t forget to promote the competition on all your social platforms and in printed collateral in your store (posters, flyers, etc.).
6. Hand over the controls
Sometimes the best content comes from spontaneity. The “Employee Takeover” is a trending way to add a fresh perspective to your social media strategy. Give your employees the creative freedom to document “a day in the life” at your business. That being said… we recommend setting up some type of “approval” system before your employees publish their content to make sure it aligns with the brand’s image and voice.
7. Post on a variety of topics
The average person does not want their social media feeds packed with advertisements. Share content people will enjoy and want to read. Post “secret” recipes, manager bios, silly videos, etc. – as long as it is consistent with your brand and will be interesting to your audience – it’s fair game.
8. Promote your most engaging content
Setting an ad budget for social media and deciding which content to promote can be difficult. If you are planning to use Facebook’s targeted ads and “boost” feature, post your content organically first to see which posts get the highest engagement. As a rule of thumb, only promote/boost content that gets 15%+ organic engagement. This is a simple way to make the best of your social media advertising budget – big or small.
9. Be transparent
Give your followers a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes at your business. Post pictures and share information about how you make your product, what your culture is like, etc. Be transparent and use social to help tell your story.