Social Media Best Practices

The Blog

Your blog is a way for your customers and potential customers to get to know the “real” you.  Be sure the voice you use sounds like the person they would speak to on the phone if they called you.  Be friendly, helpful and warm.  You can be a little less formal than you would be on your corporate site. Never try to sell to your customer from the blog.  Yes, you can mention the services or product you offer, but as in all social media, avoid the hard-sell here!  Better to include links to your corporate website from a post and let the site do the selling.

Aim for two blog posts a week.  If you use a post from the Scalable Content library, be sure you change it up a bit to include your local information, resources, etc.  Aside from utilizing our content, try to add completely local content whenever possible.  For Home Instead Senior Care offices, you might blog about:

  • Local community events – will your staff be at a local health fair, parade or gala? Announce all the details and where you can be found there.
  • Informational Resources – do you know of a great caregiver seminar to be held in your area? Give all the details, including what topics will be covered.  Will you be there?  Take notes and later share what you learned (we’ll get to that in a moment).
  • Local issues of concern to seniors – did your local government just expand home heating assistance benefits? Have you learned of a new food bank or senior center? Profile these issues and include photos wherever possible.  If you can call someone involved and obtain a quote, all the better.
  • CAREGiver of the month – interview your CAREGiver of the month and post their photo.  Have a simple flip camera in the office?  Get a quick (45-90 second) video. These CAREGiver profiles would also be a fantastic addition to your corporate website.
  • Have a personal story? If you or someone else in your office has a personal story to tell about caring for aging parents, don’t be bashful, share!  If you have a client who is willing to tell their story, that would be great, too. Perhaps you could collect a list of “5 top caregiver stessors” and then find suggestions on how to cope.

Facebook

If someone “Likes” your business page on Facebook, they will see your page’s updates on their feed (assuming their settings are correct – if anyone ever complains that they don’t see your updates, suggest that they make sure that the “edit options” settings on their personal profile (way at the bottom of your feed) are set to “Show posts from : All of your friends and pages”).  So, how best to utilize this prime real estate?

Again, avoid the hard-sell.  It is all to easy for people to “hide” your posts, even if they continue to be a fan.  Think about what you like to read when you go to Facebook.  With social media,  you do really need to keep it social and keep it real.  Let the fans hear your real voice.  Don’t be afraid to use a little tasteful humor and share your opinions.  Whatever you do, though, keep it positive!  No one likes to read anyone’s whining.

Posting frequency guidelines do depend on your audience and your business, but a good start might be to aim for every other day updates.  Studies do show a higher level of fan engagement towards the weekend, so don’t miss a Friday afternoon! See my previous post on increasing Facebook fan engagement.

What should you say in your updates?

Facebook ask a question

Ask a question on Facebook! From your Home Page, click on "Question" next to "Share".

It’s easy to become overwhelmed when staring at the “Write Something” prompt. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Record a video directly from Facebook and give your fans a stress relief tip, stretching exercise, or just a friendly hello.
  • Post photos of a recent event (training session, celebratory lunch, CAREGiver of the month, etc.).
  • Say “thank you” to a local business or individual for their support of your organization or another cause that you support.
  • For Home Instead offices, did one of your CAREGivers go above and beyond?  Say thanks!
  • Have an event coming up?  Create an event, which allows people to RSVP.
  • Ask a question that just begs a response.  Then, go back as you (not as the page) and start the discussion with your own answer.
  • Find a great YouTube video?  Post it with your comments and perhaps a question.
  • Ask people to post a photo.  Ideas – their garden, their grandmother, their kids, their pets, their hobbies – anything that people are passionate about. Start the discussion by posting your own.
  • Ask people to post a video.  Offer a prize for the best (funniest, most touching, etc.) one. Again, make the first move by posting one yourself.

Twitter

Twitter is perhaps the most casual of all the social media platforms and is perfectly suited for “news-as-it-happens” posting.  Are you out and about when something occurs to you?  Set up your smart phone so you can post at any time.

How often should you tweet?  Whenever you have something to say!  Aim for at least once a day.  Because people often follow many accounts on Twitter, they may miss some of your tweets, so it’s OK to post often.  Just avoid posting in rapid succession so that your updates might show up as 5 in a row on someone’s news feed.  That gets annoying!

About what should you tweet?  If you’re completely stumped, retweet something!  Since you’re following some quality accounts, there should be some interesting/informative/provocative tweets.  If someone tweets something that you want to comment on, “reply” to it.

As for unique tweets, there are few rules, so be spontaneous!  Just keep it positive and don’t try to sell.  Here are some ideas:

  • Relate something you heard on the news that  morning.
  • Have a personal observation? Share it.
  • Have an opinion on current events?  Share it.
  • Share a famous quote.
  • Send a “thank you” to an employee, customer or local business.
  • Were you just at a local business that has a great sale going on? Tweet about it.
  • Just have a great meal at a local restaurant? Share that.
  • Have a great meeting with a client or vendor? Talk about it.
  • Just have a successful staff meeting? Share some of the ideas to come out of it.

YouTube

IMPORTANT: you do not need to be a professional to create a great and popular video! The most popular videos are funny, weird, cute or useful.  Spend some time looking at the top videos to get some ideas. So, don’t be afraid to give it a try!  Feel like your company’s image doesn’t lend itself to funny or weird?  Well, maybe not, but every once in a while, do you let loose?  Ever have or attend a talent contest?  For Home Instead offices, you could have a little fun interviewing your training mannequin, etc.

Promoting your business with YouTube

Find popular videos, learn from their choice of title, description, tags, etc.

Other ideas for videos:

  • Employee of the month – interview the employee and show them receiving a prize.  Emphasize your appreciation for them and what they add to your company.
  • Staff bios – interview your staff and find out why they do what they do.
  • A Day in the Life – follow an employee in the field and record snippets of their everyday activities.
  • Tips and Suggestions – For Home Instead offices, you could offer stress relief tips, such as a guided relaxation exercise, stretches to do at your desk, etc.
  • One of the most moving videos I watched recently was that of an elderly lady with Alzheimer’s Disease.  Her son recorded her talking about her youth and family and then 6 months later when she no longer even remembered having been married.  Perhaps one of your clients would be willing to share something personal like this.
  • Customer testimonials.  Make it easy for your customers. Have a short list of questions to ask so they don’t feel like they have to memorize anything.
  • Local events – if you’re participating in a cook-off, benefit walk, race, seminar, etc. get a quick video and post it!

Keep them short – under 90 seconds unless you have a really compelling reason to make it longer.

Look for related popular videos and see what you can learn from their titles, descriptions and tags.  Use this to get greater distribution.  You can also capitalize on popular videos by commenting on a video and attaching your video.  Don’t spam, though. Make sure your video is a good response to theirs.  Go ahead and create a video for the sole purpose of replying to theirs!

Create a playlist by adding your video to a new playlist, then find other videos on the same topic and give your playlist a descriptive title that uses your keywords.

Find some more ideas on using YouTube to promote your business.

 

About the Author Alisa Meredith (226 Posts)

As co-owner and chief inbound marketing consultant at Scalable Social Media, Alisa Meredith spends a lot of time keeping up with online marketing trends for the benefit of our customers. Computers have been a passion of hers since her first T1-99, so inbound and social media marketing is a natural fit.


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