In this interview style guest post, I get to speak with Jennifer Grigg. Jennifer is the owner of Social Dragon Marketing, which offers a range of small social media services and consulting to small businesses. I’ve interviewed Jennifer in the past, and so when I had some questions on understanding social media, and how to properly use it… she was the first person who came to mind, that I thought I should speak to. Following are a selection of questions I had for Jennifer, that I hope will help you better understand social media. If you are thinking about utilizing Twitter for business, I think you’ll get the most value out of this article though we touch on general social media topics too.
What’s hot/working for small business owners right now in social media?
When it comes to social media, I think you have to look at what will work for the needs of the business. Just because something is “hot” out there does not mean it will work well for everyone. For example, Instagram is becoming more popular and I’m enjoying using it for my clients. It attracts a younger audience, but unless that’s your demographic, it’s not going to work for you.
On the other end of the spectrum, what isn’t working? What is a common mistake small business owners are making on social media?
A common mistake small business owners make is trying to be everywhere. Being in too many places at once may not fit the needs of the business. Businesses need to understand their target market and then decide which social media platform will work best for them. Another consideration is budget and time. Although the platforms are free to use, their time is valuable. How much time can they spend on social media? Is it something that be given to an employee or outsourced?
How does one learn what social media platform their target market is using? How can a business owner decide which social media platform to invest their time in?
Business owners should understand who their target market is. There is a lot of research available to what is best used for each demographic. My advice is, if you don’t know, ask your customers. Reach out to them and ask what social media platforms they use. Chances are they will love to help out.
Business owners should be using the social media platforms that are ideal for their target market. Why put all that time and effort into something that isn’t going to yield results.
How does one draw a line on what doesn’t belong on a business twitter account? For example, I find myself commenting on sports and 90s music. Sometimes I even feel like posting a silly joke, though technically my profile is that of a professional business owner. What are your thoughts on this?
My personal opinion is that it depends if your profile is set up for personal or business. If it is a personal profile then it’s great to comment on things that are non-business related. But if your Twitter account is set-up as a business account then I would be careful what you things you comment on. I believe it’s always great to inject your personality into your business social media but you need to be careful as people will judge you. If your tweets do not support the values of your business, it’s best not to tweet it.
Let’s say I’m a business and I understand the absolute basics of Twitter, but I have trouble knowing exactly what I should tweet about… do you have some suggestions? How does a small business know what they should be Tweeting? How do they come up with content for Twitter?
Always remember that tweeting should be relevant to your business. You also only have 140 characters to tweet. You want to tweet about what is happening in your business, your industry. You can tweet about sales, breaking news, trends, your blog. You also not only want to just tweet but retweet and engage with people too.
Why is engagement on Twitter important?
Engagement on all social media is important, as it is proof your social media is reaching your audience and they are interacting with you and, therefore, you build relationships with others. With Twitter, engagement consists of:
Retweets – Retweets are the same as sharing. When people retweet your tweets, they are sharing it with their followers. For example, a retweet would look like this:
— Lisa Colón DeLay (@LisaDelay) October 30, 2015
@Replies – When someone creates an @reply, your username is followed by the ‘@’ sign at the beginning of the tweet. These tweets are only seen by you and any users who follow both you and the person who started the @reply tweet. For example, an @reply would look like this:
Mentions – Mentions are like sharing. Someone can create a tweet and then tag you in the tweet with the ‘@’ sign followed by your username. For example, a Twitter mention would look like this:
— Derrick Barber (@lowdca) October 26, 2015
What opportunities exist here for small business owners?
The goal of using any social media is to be noticed by your past, present & future customers. Nurture relationships with these customers and be top of mind when they are ready to buy.
Do you have any tips for a small business owner who is just getting started with Twitter?
Here are some quick tips every small business owner needs to know:
- Complete your profile in full. Have your bio filled out & always include a profile picture and a header image
- Use hashtags that are relevant to your tweets, but no more than three hashtags per tweet
- Create a plan ahead of time to understand who your intended audience is, and what you will be tweeting about to engage with them and add value to their lives
- Tweet often to stay top of mind
- Add images to your tweets to get noticed
Do you have any tips on how a small business can get noticed and attract more genuine followers on Twitter?
Twitter is a great place for local small business owners to create relationships. You can follow your suppliers, clients, colleagues, supporters and start retweeting their tweets. Not only retweet but also engage in conversation. Just like any social media platform, it’s important to communicate and develop relationships. Customers buy because they like and trust you and your business. These relationships that you develop online (and offline) can help create that trust customers need before they purchase from you.
Twitter is unlike any other social media platform. Not only is each tweet a maximum of 140 characters, but Twitter moves fast… Real fast! You could have 50 tweets pass through your newsfeed within 30 seconds or less. There is a lot of noise on Twitter and you need to be seen. Small businesses need to understand how Twitter works. They need to use Twitter often. You can easily post 10 times a day or more on Twitter. In fact, it’s encouraged to post multiple times a day just to be seen. Business owners need to follow others, retweet others and have conversations with others.
For those who manage their own social media, do you have any tips for those who find it too time consuming? I think some people can find it particularly challenging to understand and manage their social media presence over multiple platforms.
It’s important to be armed with a strategy. Make sure that your social media accounts are all ideal for your business and will reach your target market. An editorial calendar may be helpful. It helps you plan on what your will be posting across all your accounts
What exactly is an editorial calendar? Do you have any resources you recommend where people can learn more about this?
An editorial calendar can help plan ahead and organize what content you want to create. For example: month one you want to talk about hairstyles for 2014, month two: Grooming products for men, month three: spring pedicures. This way you know that in that particular month, your posts will relate to the corresponding subject. Not all your posts or blogs have to be on that subject, but the majority should be. Sometimes an editorial calendar can make it easier to create content as you already know what you plan to talk about. There are many different resources online available. You can also do this in your online calendar or if you prefer to touch and feel, print out blank calendars and set-up your editorial calendar by hand.
Thanks again to Jennifer Grigg for agreeing to participate in this guest post style interview. If you have any questions you would like answered, please leave a comment and one of us will do our best to help you. Also, if there’s an expert you’d like me to interview for an upcoming post, I’d love to know where you need some more help and guidance when it comes to growing your business. Drop me a line.