Looking to improve your businesses digital presence and better promote your products and services online? The “Businesses Helping Businesses” series features Digital Main Street Vendors located in Hamilton, ON. This new blog series is curated by Hamilton’s talented pool of digital professionals looking to lend a hand in improving the small business community’s online presence by highlighting tips, tactics and strategies you can start to use immediately for better results online!
By: Suzanne Zandbergen, The Generator
If ever there was a time to start ramping up your use of social media, it’s during a worldwide pandemic. A good chunk of your audience is sitting at home and they’re using social media more than ever to stay connected to the outside world. Your audience is literally looking for communication from you – don’t disappoint them!
Here are five ways you can use social media to market your business:
1. Look for opportunities to hop onto trends
When The Hamilton Spectator published a story on the missing Alfredo sauce from literally every grocery store shelf, that was the cue for every food-related business in town to take advantage of the growing demand. With so many people craving their beloved Alfredo dishes at home, you can bet they would be all over a similar dish delivered to their home by a local restaurant. Look for these opportunities and don’t second guess yourself that another business might have gotten to the idea first. There’s enough business for everyone, you just have to get out there with your new ideas. Was there a huge blizzard and it’s all everyone is talking about on Twitter? Then it’s the perfect time to start pushing the handmade toques and mittens you have in your shop. Hot chocolate bombs were the bomb this past Christmas? Then start working on your plan for Easter and Mother’s Day hot chocolate bombs.
2. If you’re forced to be closed, or have to reduce your offerings because of the pandemic, don’t go silent on social media
You might feel like you have nothing to share as a business, or that you shouldn’t be posting if you’re not able to serve your customers like you normally would, but trust us, we still want to hear from you! Make sure you pin a post that shares what your plans are for reopening. If those plans change, just post again with your new plans. Keep everyone in the loop! Change your Instagram or Twitter bio to keep us updated, even if it’s as simple as “Reopening as soon as provincial Covid protocols allow”. That one little sentence tells us you’re still in business, you’re looking forward to being open again, and we have an idea of when.
3. Make videos!
If you’ve thus far only been posting still photos on your social media channels, it might be time to give video a go. Especially if you post on Facebook often and especially if you pay to boost your Facebook posts. You will get more reach for your money if you are boosting a video vs. a still photo on Facebook. If Instagram is your jam, and you haven’t explored Reels yet, this might be the perfect medium for you. Don’t be afraid to get in front of the camera yourself – your customers choose to support small business because they like the personal connection. If they start seeing the faces of the business they love to support, they will feel even more connected. And you’ll connect with potential new customers. Talk about what you know, what you’re an expert in. It doesn’t always have to be business promotion. Maybe there’s another subject you’re an expert on that will help you connect with your audience. Get your dog or cat to appear in your videos with you, and connect with other animal lovers. Talk about sports. Just get in front of the camera and start recording. Hot tip: it gets easier the more you do it.
4. Explain how your customers can buy from your business
On all your social media accounts, make it 100% absolutely crystal clear how your customers can order, buy from, or schedule time with your business. This is especially important if you’ve pivoted in any way during the pandemic. If the best way to buy from your business is through your website– is your website listed in your bio on ALL your social media platforms? Post instructions like a little repeating mantra at the end of all your posts: “Visit our website at _____ (link in bio) to order for contactless curbside pickup or delivery”, or “Order by calling our shop Monday-Friday 9-5 at 905-555-5555”. If a customer has to scroll back to previous posts to figure out how to buy from you, there’s a good chance you’re about to lose the sale.
5. It’s time to go back to basics with your marketing messages and think about this: what problem are you solving for someone today?
This is Marketing 101, but it’s so easy to get sidetracked from the basics during times of stress and chaos. Your business exists because you solve a problem for people. You may be solving different problems for different people, or maybe there’s a new problem out there that your business can now solve. The more you think from this point of view, the easier it gets to create meaningful social media posts. Think about all the families stuck at home, parents who have taken on the additional role of teacher to their kids, how so many are now working from home. Speak to your audience about the problems they are facing, and how your business can help. When you’re speaking to me about how you can help me in some way, you better believe I’m listening.
The Generator is a Hamilton, Ontario based social media marketing agency whose focus is on authentic interactions with your customers and genuine conversations with real people. The Generator offers a fully customized social media marketing strategy that is tailored to your business needs, budget and goals. Find The Generator online at https://www.thegenerator.ca/. The Generator is also a Digital Main Street Vendor for digital services in Hamilton.