Category: social media

Building a Community During COVID-19

Building a Community During COVID-19

My son’s school, like many others, has sent home enrichment projects for him to complete during his time off (if he and we want) and being the parents we are, have encouraged him to keep his mind active. He’s already excitedly picked out what he wants to do and what topics he wants to focus on and the one he is most excited about this week is building a community.

When it came to this week’s blog post, I was not sure what I wanted to write about, or even if I was going to be able to write about anything. But then I thought about my son’s enrichment project, and what he is working on. It’s perfect for what many of us are finding right now. That our sense of community, the people we interact with and engage with, are still available, although our means of communication has changed.

Communicating Virtually

This week has been filled with Zoom meetings, video chats, messages, and more on social media. We are reaching out and using it more than ever before because that is our primary source of communication with our community. We’re checking Facebook for community updates, where to find eggs, and to keep in touch with our loved ones.

I have looked at pictures from camera rolls – landscapes, flowers, general pictures sharing our lives with one another. I have had friends post unpopular opinions and watched as others commented and laughed. And I am watching as my community, comes together, works together, and is helping one another through what may very well be one of the most difficult times we can imagine. It’s really quite beautiful.

But how do we transition this movement into our business pages? Because that is the ultimate goal from all of this, to stay in business even though how we do business has changed significantly. In a Zoom meeting this week, we discussed how we can support one another personally through this time by focusing on what we are grateful for and what our gifts are. This simple shift in perception can change your audience’s interaction with you on social media quickly during this time and may set you apart when business resumes “normal” operations.

Be Gracious

To begin, ask yourself what you are grateful for. This may be difficult for some, especially if you are stuck in what I call the boot loop of doom. This is when everything sucks, nothing is working the way you want it to, and everything that happens is complicating things further and you are left feeling frustrated, angry, lost, and hurt. Maybe you are crying or have lashed out on someone in your home and now feel bad. It happens. It happens to the best of us. And let’s be honest, we’ve had a lot of shit thrown at us in a short period of time.

Find something you are grateful for, something you are appreciative to have. At a time when many of us are looking at what we have lost, look for what you have gained. Small businesses are starting to gain the appreciation that we have been asking for. Yes, we are in a sucky situation where we may not be sure how to make ends meet and if we can keep employees on, but we have options available to us now that have never been before because we ARE the backbone to our communities. We ARE the support for our economy. We ARE important and everyone is becoming acutely aware, even if they aren’t sure what to do or how to help.

Be Giving

This is where your gifts are important. As a business owner, you have a special gift – your business. You are knowledgeable about your business. You know what you provide, and hopefully who your target audience is. Ask yourself, what can you give to your audience that may help them right now because every single of one us is struggling right now. We are all looking for a bit of solace in the chaos. What can you give? How can you help? What is your gift?

For us, our gift is understanding marketing and social media and how that applies to small businesses. This is why we are hosting an AMA on our page. This is why we are offering to help small business owners without charge for marketing assistance. Because this is our gift to share with our community. From sharing this gift, we have been able to maintain a sense of “normalcy,” continue doing what we love, and most importantly, build on our sense of community.

Speak to Your Community

It’s still there, that sense of community, even though we are farther apart because we have technology with our use of social media. We are inherently social people and we need to communicate with one another, and where can we go when we cannot openly and freely meet with people? We go online. We’re going to social media. We’re sharing and connecting and learning it isn’t all bad.

So, go out there, share your gifts with your community, show them you care, and show them that this isn’t going to stop you. You are a small business owner. You are made of tougher stuff than this. Share your gifts and share your gratitude. I am sure it will come back to you in ways you never expected possible.

Speaking to Your Audience During COVID-19

I struggled on what to write this week. If I should write this week, and if I did, what would I write about? Because I’m sure, like you, my mind has been thinking about all of the things. But in opening Symbiotic Marketing up as a resource to all businesses and all individuals during this time has been a blessing to me. While many are struggling to find their footing and are looking to the only platform we have now – digital – and this is something Symbiotic Marketing was built on and uses daily. I’m saying we are blessed because we have the background and we have the knowledge, but by opening up our services to everyone, I have been able to continue doing what I love and that gives me great peace.

So, with that being said, this week’s blog is going to be focused on speaking to your audience right now on digital platforms, specifically your website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn pages. I will touch on some things and give you some ideas of what you can do. If you need help, reach out. Because while we are all scrambling, we can also pull our resources together and help each other out. I am going to try to be concise and to the point, but as we all know, that may or may not happen. If you need clarity, please ask because your audience is acting very differently right now and needs to be treated differently.

Restrict All Sales Speak

It may be tempting to drive traffic to your digital outlets when talking to your audience online right now – that’s what they were put in place for! But here’s the thing. Like you, many people aren’t working right now and don’t know when they can expect to return to work. For anyone living paycheck to paycheck, this is an incredibly trying time and the stimulus cannot come fast enough.

While some may be “lucky,” my family included in this lot, to have someone who is considered essential and life sustaining and with this pandemic.  Our finances are more secure, but at what cost? Our family members are out working every day with people who may or may not have this illness and may or may not bring it home.

And the overarching fear that we all have, no one knows how long this is going to last or what toll this is going to take on our health care system. The stories are scary. Trying to remain informed is scary. We aren’t sure who or what we can trust right now. Our very sense of security has been shaken. This is why toilet paper and food are being rationed. And this is why any attempt at sales will fall flat right now.

Drop The Pretenses

The fear is too great right now. Too consuming. In addition to this, many are feeling frustrated. Frustrated because they can’t work or because they must work. Frustrated by the closed stores and lack of supplies. Frustrated because we just don’t know. We need a sense of order for our society to function properly and that has clearly been upset.

We need something we can control to bring back a sense of normalcy. And right now, there’s just a whole lot that is out of our control. As business owners, we always have something that we can be doing. But individuals, they may not have that luxury (if you want to call it that). As a small business owner, you have resources available that you use to operate your business. Think about how you can transition what you do into how you can help someone. And this does not mean instructional how-to things, you also can help someone emotionally by bringing a sense of togetherness and community.  Think outside of the box. Again, if you need help, reach out.

With this, you need to drop the pretenses that everything is okay. Because it’s not. Whatever your personal thoughts on this matter may be, empty shelves at the grocery store say otherwise. It’s okay to talk about COVID-19 because it is relevant. It is on people’s minds. But your page is not the place to spread the fear and frustration. Focus on positivity, long-term vision, and helpful information. Now is the time to build your brand and you will have to let down some pretenses to do it.

Speaking to Your Audience During COVID-19

Website

It is imperative that your website be clean and easy to use right now. It must drive any traffic you have coming in, to their purpose for being there. While it is a personal choice to make any adjustments to your website in light of COVID-19, know that if they are coming, there is a reason for it and clear direction is necessary.

As this is an ever-changing event, it is your socials that will be of key importance. Take the time now to make any adjustments you want to your website, but the main focus should be on reaching your audience where they are right now, and that is all over social media. Currently, audiences are making adjustments on all of the platforms but their main intention, their main source of use, has remained the same. With that, let’s dig deeper into social media.

Facebook

Facebook has traditionally been “all the things” about life, literally, ALL THE THINGS. But it has maintained its focus on connecting people, getting to know one another, and communicating. While some have already used the platform to bring people together for a common good – look at all the new groups forming and informative pages. You must take the time to evaluate and reach your audience on this platform now if you are on it.

This can be done many ways based on your specific business and your options are really limitless. Status updates, shares, photos, videos, Facebook live videos, YouTube videos, Zoom meetings shared to Facebook Live. In these, everyone knows that most people are working from home right now and with that comes certain, shall we say, unexpected complications?

Everyone I have had a video chat with this week has had the opportunity to meet Sir Barnabas AKA “Barney,” my pug poodle mix. And it’s okay! Because that is life right now. A few weeks ago, this would have really bothered me but now, we’re all in this boat together. It’s okay. And know that while everyone is getting a sneak peek into what it’s like in your home, you are getting a sneak peek into what it’s like in their homes too. No one has their shit together. Drop the pretense and embrace the chaos.

Instagram

Like Facebook, Instagram is dropping some of the pretenses. Things do not need to be as polished, but it does need to remain positive and informative. Everyone is struggling right now so anything upbeat, helpful, and true insight on what you are doing to help yourself are all things being discussed on this platform.

How this transitions into what you can discuss on Instagram about your business, is just that – helpful, positive, and let people in. We are social creatures and need socialization to survive. This is where you can dig more into your why, what you do in your business, and why you do it and go personal. This is the time you can make a really deep connection with your audience.

Twitter

Twitter has remained news and opinion focused. If you use this platform, try to stay news focused, informative, up to date, and pay close attention to trending hashtags and how they may be used to support your brand. This platform may be very time-consuming right now and can easily start to affect your mental health. Be careful of the amount of time spent on this and any other platform. If you are starting to feel tired, negative, irritable, frustrated, hopeless, angry, or any other negative emotion, it’s time to hop off and do something less stressful. Bake some cookies, Netflix and chill, anything that can give you a sense of peace.

LinkedIn

Rather predictably, as businesses nationwide started to close and transition over to virtual platforms, LinkedIn’s audience behavior took quite a hit. Thankfully, with the small business loans and grants that are being offered, this audience is finding their feet again. Again, helpful and informative are what this audience is looking for. We’ve had a lot of shit thrown at us in a short period of time, so make it easily digestible.

Just Be Real

While this is a broad overview, the sentiment remains the same. We’re all in this together and no one knows what to expect. This is a time when the full power of what social media is and what it can do for us as individuals and us as business owners can be realized. The way we work may very likely be forever changed from this. At Symbiotic Marketing, we were already set up to be primarily virtual, we were set up to work from our homes remotely and we have resources we use to make this work for us. But many of you are struggling because you do not have this in place. Let us help you.

Our proverbial masks are being taken down. There’s no where to hide. And why would you? You are a business owner. You are born to stand out. You are born to make a difference. You’ve got this. Throw your cape over your shoulder and just be real. That’s all anyone is looking for right now.

Special COVID-19 Announcement

Special COVID-19 Announcement

I have been struggling writing this week’s blog. Not because what I had intended to discuss is difficult but because, right now, life is difficult. I’m struggling. And no, it most certainly is not similar in any way to some of the very difficult decisions my fellow business owners are being forced to make. But to pretend that everything is okay and write in such a way is something that I cannot do.

I simply cannot pretend that everything is okay, because it’s not. While my daily routine has not changed that significantly, my mindset has. And that has me struggling. I have not felt a depression this deep in a long time, but I am fighting it. I am fighting it because you are fighting. Because we all have something worth fighting for.

Ladies and gentlemen, your time to step up and show your community how much you care is here. It is your time to shine and each of you, in your individual ways are doing it. Those of us who can, are continuing to work from home, providing the services we need to keep things moving. Those of us who are needed on the front lines are out there, ensuring our quality of life. And those of you who have closed and will be closing during this time, you are helping lessen the curve.

So many of you are showing your community how much you care, and I am overwhelmed with love for you and for the wonderful community I live in. When I find myself pulling in and allowing the fear take over, I look at you and know that I am not alone. Because we are not. And I believe each of us on social media right now knows this to be true. Let’s be honest. It’s where we are.

Even if we have neglected our business pages, we are still on social media because it is how we can communicate right now. And I am seeing some very beautiful things. Just an incredible use of technology, I am in awe of what some of you are doing to bring some sunshine into our lives.

We are communicating more than ever and with this, we have the opportunity to help in so many simple ways that can make a huge impact. And with this, I am hoping that I may be able to give back to you the support you have given me.

Starting today and until further notice, the Symbiotic Marketing Facebook Page will host an AMA (Ask Me Anything). Come and ask your questions, from social media marketing and websites, to marketing in general. I will PM you with questions so I can fully understand your question and any details needed and then help you with find a resolution to your specific issue. Pick my brain. In addition to this, I will be addressing as many questions as I can in a general format to assist others who may also have a similar question. These will be specific posts because at times, answers can get lengthy.

I know you may be feeling very uncertain right now and probably downright scared, but I want you to know that you inspire me every day. I am incredibly honored to be a part of this wonderful group of crazy small business owners. Because we are crazy. And you are my people.

I sincerely love you all and we’ll come out of this better for having gone through it together. I firmly believe this.

See you on the other side, Ray.

What, How, When? Social media etiquette explained

If I have learned anything in life, it is that at times, it is going to be hard. Some of the most beneficial lessons we can learn come from a hard place and sometimes, it’s that hard pill that we need to swallow. And, this may be a hard pill for some to swallow. But it needs to be said. Ladies and gentlemen, I need to discuss social media etiquette.

I get it. It’s hard knowing how to get people to look, actually LOOK at what you are doing. Knowing that you have less than a second to capture someone’s attention is beyond daunting! Add in trying to increase your page following, because more must certainly be better, and it’s easy to become so frustrated and overwhelmed you aren’t sure what to do. And that’s just your business page.

As a business owner, you inherently will have two accounts on Facebook and potentially two on LinkedIn. What to post, where to post, and how to share are all important because they affect your brand awareness. Likewise, who you are friends with and who you follow on your personal page affects your brand. Whether we like it or not, as the owner of the business, we are the face of the business. How you interact with those you follow, and how they interact with you says a lot about you and how you run your business. With that, let’s get into those hard truths.

1. For the love of all that is holy, leave dirty laundry offline.

This may seem like a given, but dirty laundry presents itself, even when we do our best to filter it. This may be someone shooting off on your page, responding to a comment in an ugly way, or even a negative review.

If it is something directly related to your business, respond in a respectful way (even though you may feel very differently) and offer to take the complaint offline. Period. “I am sorry you have experienced this. I will call you to discuss how we may be able to resolve this issue.” Keep it respectful and professional and most importantly, take it offline.

If it is related to you personally, you should remain respectful in your response but take the conversation to a more private space if necessary. Something as simple as responding, “I’ll PM you,” lets those who can see that conversation know that you have boundaries of what you will accept publicly and what you will not.

We all have that one relative who just won’t stop. Redirect to a more private area and save some face. Know that no matter what, some dirty laundry is going to come out at some point. How you handle it matters because nothing just “goes away” in digital.

This is not to say that you should not have opinions and show them online but keep it in check and don’t go overboard. When you start to feel emotions coming up, get offline, regroup and then come back to address it. When you are frustrated and angry, the socials are not the place to be until you can respond in a logical manner.

2. Be aware of who you are friends with and who you follow.

This is such an easy one to fall into. The more people on your personal page, will transfer to more people on your business page, right? Not necessarily. And, it may actually hurt your brand. Here’s the hard truth, people create fake accounts to snoop. We all know someone who has done it or have heard of someone who has done it. But it is more than that, especially this year.

There are things called “bots.” These are NOT people but look like people online. They often have posts shared to their newfeeds and are tagged in the posts. They rarely post themselves, and when they do, it is primarily directed toward an overall theme. If someone looks highly stereotypical in the type of posts shared to them or they themselves share and do not post anything personal – no status update, it is most likely a bot.

We are going to see an increase of bots this year because it is an election year. These are “individuals” who post highly politicized posts and posts associated with those values. The issue with these is twofold. First, by friending a bot, allows it to work like a virus and send requests to all your friends. Others will be more likely to accept it because you have, so it must be legit, but it isn’t. This discredits your integrity. Bots happen on business pages. They shouldn’t happen to personal pages.

Secondly, who you interact with says a lot about you. While you should have a diverse list of friends, it should be reflective of who you are personally. In accepting a request from a bot opens you up to more bots sending requests. This is why people make Facebook sweeps and clean their friends lists. They want to see from the people they care about (this comes back to the algorithm) and if you are someone who falls victim to bots frequently (we can see who our “mutual” friends are…) you may become unfollowed and you would not know.

A good rule of thumb to follow, if you think you may have received a request from a bot, do not accept it right away. Look at their newsfeed and something seems “off” let it sit for a few days. It won’t go away, but it will give you time to think about whether or not accepting this request will be beneficial for you. Come back to it later and if it still doesn’t seem right, it’s probably because it isn’t a person.

3. Be careful with emojis.

Oh, emojis. Aren’t they fun…? Here’s the thing. Emojis are meant to enhance and complement text. They are meant to show the emotion behind the words typed. This is an issue that many of us have faced. How to transfer tone and emotion through text alone is difficult, because while we (the one who is typing) is trying to be effective in communication, emotions don’t always transfer through. What’s worse, is the reader (the person who is responding) to what was written, may respond in a very different manner than what was expected.

I am sure I am not the only one who has written an email that I thought was very clear and concise and to the point, to have it received differently than I expected. We first tried to combat this with self-created emojis – colon, dash, closed parenthesis for a smiley face or carrot, 3 for a heart. But this has transformed over the years into the emojis we know today.

Now we have hundreds of emojis to choose from. Literally, anything and everything we can think of, including poo. Even more so, we at times, choose to not respond with any text, but rather just an emoji to show our emotion. This completely acceptable depending on the situation. Other times, we intermix emojis with our text, and that is acceptable as well, but only in small doses. This is important, because when we are online, we are looking to read what has been written. This is the expectation.

When you mix emojis throughout your text, or use them incorrectly, it not only makes what you are saying difficult to read and more likely to be dismissed, it also reeks of dirty sales. This is a ploy that has been used by many multi-level marketers (MLM) to help sell their products. If you are an MLM and don’t mind being associated as such, go for it. Just be aware that your posts are difficult to read and may not be read. If you are not, you should stop NOW.

The issue with this, is that by presenting yourself as an MLM through your use of emojis, you are presenting yourself and your business that you are not professional and that you may not be in it for the long haul. Let’s be honest, we have all met someone who has joined the MLM bandwagon, sold the product for a bit, and moved onto another. This is not saying that all MLMs are bad, because they aren’t. But the expectation has been set, lots of emojis throughout a lot of text sends a message that you may not want.

This is what too many emojis reads like.

4. Business should start with business and transfer to personal.

This one also seems to be a given, but it’s so easy to share from your personal to your business page – what can be the harm? This comes down to a fundamental issue. You are the face of your business, but your business needs to stand on its own. You are more than just your business and that’s how people know you. The goal of branding is that people know your business first, that is your brand awareness, and you secondly. The brand you build is the business you will have.

This is incredibly important. If you do not focus on your brand, you will be perceived as mixing business with pleasure. That is not to say that you cannot find pleasure in your business, hell, you should! Why else would you be doing it? But with that, you should start with your business first, and then share to personal. With this, you should also be speaking to two very distinct audiences and using two distinct voices, your professional voice and your personal voice.

What I mean is this, every week, I publish this blog and share it to my socials. I start with the business pages first, because I am building on that brand. I want all the work I have put into building the brand to be associated with it. I also write to the specific page audience in a professional tone. Then I share it to my personal page, using a personal tone.

Additionally, if you are sharing information about your business to other pages (such as groups), see if you can join the group from your business page. Some, not all, allow users to be able to do this. Not only does it continue to build on your brand and brand awareness – because you will be again addressing the audience in a professional tone, but you will also be free of spamming your friends and followers. Here’s the hard truth, if you only share from your personal page to these groups, any friends who are also members of the same group you shared to, see that you posted to that page. Now, consider how many groups there are devoted to things happening in the area and how many of your friends may be following those pages as well. It adds up quickly. And if your friends and followers see you are personally posting about your business to these other pages, especially in rapid succession, it looks like spam.

 

5. Posting, Commenting, Sharing

Professional Voice on Personal Page

While it may be tempting to share every post from your business page to your personal page and simply adjust your tone for the audience, you want to be careful of overwhelming your friends. The truth of the matter is that you are a different person in the eyes of different people. Yes, you are a business owner and that is a large part of your life. But you are also a friend, a colleague, a family member and these are your friends and followers on your socials. They follow you because they want to see all of your aspects. Not just one. No one likes to go to dinner with someone who only talks about one subject, and that what social media is, a place to catch up and connect with loved ones. Don’t be that person.

Remember, you are speaking to two very different audiences on your business page and your personal page. What you post on your business page should be specific to building your brand and increasing your brand awareness. It needs to be different from what you share on your personal page because again, you are building a brand that should stand on its own. Let me say this again – The brand you build is the business you will have.

With this, share highlights of your business page to your personal page. Treat them as you would sprinkles. Sprinkles are great on any sweet treat, but you wouldn’t want them in your salad or on your burger. So, be picky and choosing what you share to your personal page from your business. By sharing the exciting stuff, people will be more likely to see what you have going on. Use this to drive them to your page if they aren’t already there. And if they are, then they are working for you every time they engage with your post.

Here’s the truth, every time one of your friends likes, comments, shares your post that you shared from your business page, it widens the overall reach of your initial post. This is how friends and family support your business online whether they are aware of it or not. Increasing your reach organically in this way increases the likelihood of an increase in your page audience and more importantly, a quality increase in this audience.

These are individuals who are interested in what you are doing, the more you can direct them to your business page, with highlights of what you have, the more likely they will be to interact with your page going forward. You want them there, give them a reason to go there.

Professional Voice on Business Page

As a business page, you can follow other businesses as your page. By following other businesses as your page, you are building on your brand awareness through their brand awareness. No small business owner succeeds in isolation. There’s a reason why we have our own community and this needs to be reflected online as well as in person.

Liking a page as your page and then sharing highlights from their page, not only shows that you care about your community, but also increases your overall page reach. Sharing events is an excellent way of increasing your page reach because they inherently can increase engagement through more options.

One may like, comment, or share but also mark interested or going, all of which are engagement and are weighted differently within the algorithm. Remember, these are the figures you want. Sprinkle in other’s stories within your own and your page will begin to show the diversity your personal page should already have and from this, begin to stand on its own.

In addition to this, you will want to post specifics about your own business. That is the point of having the page to begin with! In posting about your business, you will want to be sure that you are posting frequently enough that you are not overwhelming your audience with what you have to offer. Having specials, events, and sales are great, but be sure you do not undercut your brand to be able to do so. Your business encompasses more than sales, share about what you do but also why you do it. Give helpful tips that you have learned. Discuss topics that would interest your visitors and they will likely come back for more.

Personal Voice on Personal Page

This is where things can get sticky for many, especially right now. Not only are we in an election year, when tensions rise, but we are also facing a global health concern. Tensions are high and emotions are all over the place. Every SINGLE one of us has an opinion and right now, it’s hard to keep that opinion to ourselves because these topics are forefront on everyone’s minds.

Here’s the hard pill to swallow. If you choose to discuss these topics, do so knowing going in that you are setting up for a debate. You will need to be prepared because if you do this, you need to be firm in your stance yet open for discussion. You need to be ready to admit when you are wrong, because that may happen. You will also want to be aware of trolls because you will be opening yourself up to them. Let me be quite firm, DO NOT ENGAGE WITH TROLLS. YOU WILL NOT WIN.

Your safest bet is to take a middle ground or keep your opinion to yourself. Because in addition to this, you need to pay attention. People will be ready for an argument and sometimes, some rather unexpected results may happen. Try to put out fires when they are small and respond to each comment individually if possible. Fires spread quickly when emotions are high, and a small fire now can lead to pretty significant repercussions down the road.

These topics aside, what should you post on your personal page? Everything you feel you would want to share on your personal page, just be aware that portions will be reflected on your business. This returns to how you present your business in a positive light, if your business page is on point but your personal page says there’s something wrong, there’s something wrong.

Here’s the thing, we all have those not so great moments in life. And some need to be shared, but not all. Personally, since starting this business, I have seen a great deal of loss in my personal life, which I have shared in some capacity on my personal socials. I did this because this information needed to be shared. But not all information needs to be shared. Often, during these periods of loss, I was struggling with other stressors, both personal and business related. This information was not shared, because it was not necessary.

Friends and family will respect that you are going through a lot but do not need to know everything on your plate. Although your emotions may be all over the place, it does not need to show publicly. In these times of difficulty, it may be best to take some time off from digital. People will understand and accept that you may need to “go dark” for a bit to regroup.

Or, you may choose to regroup publicly, and find posts that speak to you in a positive way. You may see on my Facebook page, that during some of the times of loss, I posted a lot of motivational and uplifting memes and posts. These were as much for me as they were for my friends and family. There isn’t a one size fits all option, but both are acceptable. Just be aware that if you go dark, you will want to put a time limit on it because people will want to know you are okay.

Outside of this, post anything that speaks to you on a personal level. Share photos from your life, tag your friends and family, share status updates about what you are doing, share other’s posts that are meaningful to you. Tell people about you, who you are and what interests you. If they like you, they’ll want to know more about you and how they can support you.

 

For more small business marketing insight, check out our previous blogs and come back next week when I will discuss what we mean by brand awareness and how to use it effectively in your business no matter how small you are.

 

Presentation is EVERYTHING (Part 3): Building A Sense Of Community

Oh, the struggles of understanding digital media, especially social media. There are so many things to learn and terms that seem to intertwine with other terms, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin, let alone how! And yet, you know you need to use it and it adds to the frustrations you already have, some of which were discussed in the first two blogs in this series: Presentation is Everything and It’s All About Convenience.  So, let’s start simple and build on what we already know.

Where to Begin?

To know where to begin, you need to first know which platforms you should use to reach your people, your target audience. Knowing who and where they are will help narrow down the platforms you need to think about. While we advocate that every business owner should be on Facebook (research shows that about 7 in 10 U.S. Adults use Facebook), there are other platforms that can be just as powerful, if not more so when used correctly. But do you need to use them? That depends on whether or not your people are there.

With Instagram and YouTube showing great success, especially for influencers, these platforms seem to be an easy way to find easy money, if only we knew how to do it…and then there’s all the others, Snap Chat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter – it’s a lot to consider. But is that where your people are? Instagram and Snap Chat are popular in younger age groups, 18-24 and Twitter users also, tend to be younger, and have higher education and incomes. So, if your business gears toward older adults, you need not consider these platforms.

If your target audience includes a younger demographic, then you need to consider how you will speak to that audience because each platform has a different means of communicating with others and needs to be respected. Not only will you present your business in a poor light with your inexperience with the platform, but you will also feel all of the frustration from the time spent for little return.

Speaking to The Audience: Facebook

To understand how to effectively communicate with people on these platforms, we need to know how they work. Let’s start with the big one, Facebook. People use this platform more than any other to keep in touch with friends and family and be in the know locally. It is highly centered around the idea of digital communities. Photos, videos, memes, events, updates, and shares (both personal updates and friends) are all centered around creating a sense of community digitally. This is why you can tag individuals, places, and even check in at events.

Groups are becoming more and more popular on this platform as well, which again builds on this sense of community. Facebook speaks to all the aspects of life, from the not so great moments to celebrations, it’s all there and discussed openly and frequently within these communities. In speaking with this community, you will want to have a clear idea of both who you want to speak to and where they are located. Other than that, your options are fairly open, just be sure to follow the 80/20 Rule and focus on your brand first.

Speaking to The Audience: Instagram and Snap Chat

Instagram also has a sense of community. However, this platform is focused on visual components – photos and videos with supportive text. As visuals are the key component of this platform, “stories” are very effective. Stories are a compilation of visual information that support your brand. While this may sound a bit complex, in reality, it is quite easy.

Let’s say you have an event coming up or something you want to promote. Creating a story can help boost interest by sharing photos with text and emojis that show for a 24-hour period. In creating a story, you can build excitement, but you are also using a key factor in how this platform is used, you are engaging with your community.

Because the communities on this platform can be so diverse, hashtags are used to associate with other pages as well as other communities on that platform. Such as if you have a restaurant in downtown Chambersburg, you may use #chambersburgpa to reach others who may also be interested in that community. This helps build your brand recognition within that community and builds on your own brand awareness, all in the same locale. Remember, it’s not just who your people are, it’s also where they are.

As hashtags are used heavily on this platform, it is acceptable to use up to 30 different hashtags! That can be just a little overwhelming. Determining which hashtags to use that support your brand may take some time. It comes down to some good, old fashioned research. Search for different hashtags, and see what is posted to them, does it support your brand? If so, make note of it and use it for future posts. You can also see what hashtags other businesses like yours are using and use it for your own business.

To keep posts clean, you can put your top hashtags (those that relate most with your business) in the post itself (up to 10) and any additional in the comments. Lump them together in packages of 10. This keeps everything clean and is less overwhelming for the follower to decipher.

Instagram is known for being a bit perfection forward and positive. Things posted on this platform should be uplifting or showing at your best. Presentation matters here. With this, you will also want to be aware of who you are following. Who your business follows says as much, if not more, about your brand than what you post. So be sure who you follow on this platform also supports the brand you want to build.

Snap Chat also shows stories for a 24-hour period but is used in a very different way from Instagram. Snap Chat is much more of a slice of life, it’s moments during your day and often funny. Let your silly side show and share moments of your day. People on this platform are looking for real, not glossed over like Instagram.

This platform can also be used to promote events and specials, but you should use it for more than that to keep your audience engaged. Share moments in your day with photos and videos with supportive text, emojis, and stickers, or have some fun with it and use a snap filter to become a pretty princess, a puppy dog, or even a scary monster, the possibilities are really endless. Snap Chat offers a great deal of filters that you can add to your post including based on your location – where you took the picture. Again, like Instagram, this can help build your brand awareness within your community both physically and digitally.

Speaking to The Audience: Twitter

Twitter, like Instagram, also uses hashtags but in a very different way. Yes, they are still searchable, but on Twitter they “trend.” This means, those who are using that platform are discussing a particular topic. This platform is much less focused on community, although that aspect is still there. Rather it focuses on discussing something that is on people’s minds.

Twitter is very news-focused and because of this, the majority of tweets come from a small portion of the users. With this platform, you will want to address things that are current and keep your audience up to date. You will also want to be aware of who you follow, because like Instagram, this says a lot about your brand.

This platform is known for being clear and concise in messages. Previously, you were limited to 120 characters in a post, including hashtags. This has now been increased to 240 characters, but the expectation remains, you should say what you need to say.

Supportive photos and videos are used on this platform, but it is focused on text – what you are saying. Conversation is key on this platform and with that, you will need to “talk” to or “talk about” others to your followers. This can include a shout out to another business in your area for a job well done or posting an update about something someone else has going on that supports your brand.

While this sounds a bit muddy, it really isn’t. It all comes back to what we do. Business owners know other business owners. We’re the ones who are asked, “Do you know someone who…” because yes, we probably do, and we probably know several! So following businesses on your account, especially those that relate to your brand and support what you do, and either retweeting (sharing) their posts, or tagging them in a post not only helps build their brand but also your own. It also starts a conversation, which is what Twitter is all about.

Speaking to The Audience: LinkedIn

We should all know what LinkedIn is used for, it’s where the business people are! But how we communicate with business owners is very different from how we speak to the general public. Treat this platform much like you would a networking meeting with a lot of people you know.

Tell them about what you have going on in your business, share posts or links that relate to your business, and if you own a business, create a page for it. This solidifies yourself and your business on this platform, it gives validity to what you are doing. It shows you mean business. Post business specific topics on your business page and share these to your personal page.

In addition to this, you will also want to maintain the sense of community. LinkedIn recently added different reactions to posts, which helps build on the sense of community the other platforms use and it is becoming much less of a sales dumping ground. So, post things specific to you or your business, celebrate others’ successes, comment on their posts. It’s the little things that matter.

LinkedIn also recently started using hashtags, which as we know, has worked for other social media outlets as a means of searching for information and communities. While there is no limit on the number of hashtags you can use on LinkedIn, you want to be aware of the community you are speaking to. Business owners don’t have time to go around looking up hashtags to determine if it fits the brand and on LinkedIn. Nor do we want to see a lot of hashtags in a post. It looks spammy and we all know how spam filters work. Keep hashtags concise and no more than 5.

Speaking to Your Audience In A Positive Light

Now that you know who is where and how to start a conversation with them, you need to know a bit more about who you are specifically talking to so that you can present yourself and your business in a positive light. From here, it is quite simple. Each platform, including YouTube, offers insights on your specific audience. These are the people who currently like or follow your page. And you can know a lot about them by looking at your insights. You can see their age and location, both of which are key in speaking to them.

Think about this, we all have a variety of people in our lives, from young to old. But we speak to them very differently, even when we’re talking about the same thing. Sometimes it’s simplifying the language to something they would understand, but often, we do this because of our relationships with those around us. Generally speaking, we talk differently to those within our age group than we do other age groups. But more than that, different age groups have different frustrations.

The frustrations experienced by a 25-year-old man may be very different from that of a 40-year-old woman. Whereas one may be looking for options to finance a first home, the other may be looking to refinance a current mortgage. While one business can speak to both these individuals, how you speak to them should be reflected in who you are as a business and how you speak to that age group.

Let’s return to the restaurant. A restaurant can service one frustration felt by many different ages, hunger. Sometimes choices are made based on convenience, what’s quick and easy. But often, decisions on where to eat are a bit more. Something as simple as deciding where to eat can be downright difficult! But as you have found, being concise and clear in what you say, who you say it to, and how you say it, can make all the difference.

So, with this information, start with who you have. Look at your audience, who is already on your page. How old are they? Where are they? How would you speak to them in person? Sometimes it helps if you can think about a specific group of people you know personally, try to be as diverse as possible. Once you have that group, think about their frustrations and how you have a solution for one of their frustrations. Now post about it – sell that 4.99 foot-long! But also, be sure to understand the community you are speaking to. What are their expectations for your communication? Do they want text or visuals? Do they like hashtags or not so much?

In addition to this, you should also be aware of how close your current audience is to that of your target audience. If there’s a discrepancy, you will want to focus your branding on speaking to both audiences while speaking to each individual audience. Yes, you can sell a foot-long to a lot of people, billboards do just that but you will also want to speak to your current audience. Post something later in the week that will play on a frustration – too tired to cook, need something fast and easy because the kid has practice, haven’t gone grocery shopping – and use it to promote the deal on your foot-longs.

But it’s just a little more than that. Because you must be more than just that on social media. These are digital communities. And you need to be a part of that community, an active part of that community, to have it work for you and build your brand. To do this, you are going to have to give a little bit of yourself, tell a little bit more about what you do and why you do it. You’ll want to be aware of who you are speaking to and how they communicate. You will want to meet their expectations and when you do, that’s when things start happening. And that’s when it’s time to get excited, because it will start to reflect in all other areas of your business.

This, like everything else, takes time. And in that time, you still have a lot to do. Come back next week when I am going to finish this series by discussing how you can present your business in a positive light in your digital presence – we’re talking websites and SEO!

Building Quality Relationships

I have recently reconnected with some people who due to life happening, we had lot touch. It’s funny, how quickly and easily we fell back into our old patterns and behaviors. It was as if the time that had passed has only been a few weeks rather than a few (or in one case several) years. The ease of which we were able to reconnect and reestablish our personal relationships started me thinking, could this be true for business relationships as well and if so, how could a business owner (mainly, I) go about doing this?

Let’s be honest, going to networking meetings and picking up business cards is a great way to get the word out about what you are doing, but it is what is done afterward that makes the difference. Relationships and the quality of your relationships can make a huge difference in your business. Think of it this way, you can have a lot of capital and spend a lot of money on your marketing but if people don’t know you or aren’t comfortable being around you, they will be less likely to do business with you or refer others to your business. As a small business, it is the continued support of those around you that keep your business operating because you are most likely focused on a smaller demographic area. While for some, this may mean a “take what you have” approach, I believe a “work with what you have” approach will be more beneficial and help you grow your business more successfully over time, because as you may remember, time is our most valuable asset.

Working With What You Have

So, how do you “work with what you have?” Let’s start simple, with those business cards you collected. Reach out to those individuals and follow up with them. Do some research, look up their business online to see what you can learn about them and what they do so when you do reach out, you are knowledgeable about their business and ask to meet to learn more. Business owners like to talk about what they do and why they do it. Once you have a better understanding of their business, the work really begins, building that relationship. You see, being a business owner is only one aspect of their lives and while it may be a large aspect, there are others that are just as meaningful, if not more so. Getting to know people on a personal level heightens your awareness of that individual and brings them closer to the forefront of your mind.

A quick example, I had someone I know personally reach out and ask if I knew a spiritual medium. Not a request that many would receive, I am sure, but the answer was yes, I know several, two of which I have a personal relationship with. Because of the personal relationship I have with the two, they were the first to come to my mind. Additionally, because of the personal relationship with these mediums, I knew that although both would provide my friend with the services she was looking for, they are different not only in approach but in personal interaction as well. From this, I was able to refer her to both and explain how the experience may differ between the two. While I know several spiritual mediums, it was the personal relationship formed that brought my mind to those two and from that, I was able to give my friend a recommendation that I feel good about and know that whomever she chooses, she will get what she is looking for.

But following up from business cards is only a part of building the relationship because as we are all aware, the Internet is where we spend most of our time. From watching cat videos to getting our news and weather, we are so acclimated to having the Internet at our fingertips, we feel lost without it. And understandably so, it’s where most of us get our information but it is also where a lot of us communicate with friends and family. We create digital communities of people we have personal relationships with and intermixed with these communities, we are inundated with ads and promotions. Often, we glance over them enough to recognize what they are, like flipping pages in a magazine, without stopping to look at what the ad is trying to sell us. Yes, there are some tricks to get people to stop and look (video has a huge return on this) but how do you turn this impression into a follow and a follow into a sale and most importantly, continued sales? By building the relationship.

Building Digital Relationships

Building a relationship online is different than in person, but the core aspect, getting to know one another, remains key. When we’re online personally, we share bits of our days, thoughts that run through our minds, quotes, graphics and memes that we find a personal connection with – we share information about ourselves and our lives with others and they in turn do the same. So, how can a business owner take one platform, the Internet, that is used for two primary reasons, information and communication with friends and family and make it work for them? The answer is quite simple, but many find it difficult to execute, do both.

I read an article a while ago explaining why computer sciences need humanities and while I will spare you the details, it states that in a mind digitally aware, we focus more on capability over privacy, what “could” be done rather than what “should” be done. For business owners, the equates to what “can” I share over what “could” I share, and the result is continued posting about what the business does or giving up altogether, blaming the algorithm. Neither of these two are working for you, they do not build a relationship with your potential clients. So then, the question to ask yourself is what could you share?

For us, that is sharing events in Chambersburg and the surrounding areas because we love living and working in this area. We love the people in this area and are genuinely interested in what is happening here. We especially love to share other small businesses and their successes. We want to support them in their endeavors and although that may mean we cannot always monetarily support them or attending their events, so we support them by sharing their information with others. In this, we are building relationships with other small business owners, and Chambersburg and surrounding areas, and with our own community of supporters who like and follow our pages and website. That’s a lot of relationships being built, but there’s more to it, we also need to tell others about what we do, both in the life of a business owner but also in our goods and services.

Find What You Like and Use It

Ask yourself how you could tell others about your business and continue to build on those relationships you have built. You can share pictures and videos directing people to purchase your goods or services but what could you do? For us, we write a weekly blog that both shares in our experiences and highlights our services. As the owner and a writer, this platform works well for me. Each week as I am operating my business, I am contemplating on the next blog. I think about the relationships I have and the issues they have and how I may be able to help. Often for me, narrowing down on the topic is difficult because what they are suffering from is the overall problem many of us face, we don’t know what the hell we are doing! We have this thing that we love, and we want above all else to keep it alive and we’re figuring it out as we go. It’s scary. But it isn’t always. Think about why you started this crazy journey and think about all the things you love about what you are doing and share it! Be serious, be funny, it doesn’t matter but above all else, be real.

Relationships take time to form and are never one sided. It takes two, time, and work but the result may be a separation of nearly twenty years, and it feels as if no time has passed at all. It may be that you and your business are the first to come to someone’s mind when asked, “do you know someone who…” Or it may even be that person who you have built that relationship with doing business with you. We may never know where a relationship will lead us, but it won’t start until we make the first move. First impressions count but it’s what we do afterwards that matters.

If you are feeling stuck, overwhelmed, or just not sure how to make your social media work for you, reach out to us for a free consultation. We will meet with you and discuss the front end of your page, what your audience sees and give you recommendations on how to maximize your time and begin to build those relationships with your audience. And for more defined and detailed assistance with building your relationships online and speaking to your audience, we offer social media coaching where we will discuss the back end of your page – who, where, and when is your audience online and what they like and do not like. Each session includes a written report of what was covered and how you can use that information to maximize your posting and build those relationships.

For more helpful tips and insight into the world of a small business owner and all the highs and lows and bumps along the way, be sure to check back every Friday when we’ll discuss another topic relating to you and what you are working through as a small business owner and things I have learned along the way that may help.

New Year, New Updates – Enhanced Services

There’s a saying, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” Education is key to so many aspects of our life. From the ability to decipher the written word to a direct correlation with poverty and crime rates, we, as a society need education. What’s wonderful is that everyone has the capacity to learn. We are born learning! Look at a baby and you can see it is looking around, listening, touching, tasting, smelling and yes, learning about the world around them. As we grow older, our education needs increase and teachers, coaches, and mentors begin to enter our lives. We look to family and friends for help with decisions of all shapes and sizes from what to make for dinner to should I quit my job? When we ask for advice or assistance, we’re really looking to others for perspective and guidance. Which is what education at its foundation is.

Education is a hand up rather than a hand out. It feeds you for a lifetime. In writing these blogs, it has been my goal that you have found a hand up, that you have learned something you can take with you. Through this, I have learned a great deal about you, the small business owner. I have learned about your dreams, your struggles, and your successes and am eternally grateful for the time we spend together from a single meeting to years of service. Symbiotic Marketing would not be where it is today with you.

In our three years, Symbiotic Marketing has grown and changed from a social media management company to a marketing and advertising agency and along the way added and expanded services to better meet the needs of the small business owner. We added photography services, website design and development, graphic design and more. But something was missing, a key component that Symbiotic Marketing was built on, education.

You see, the quote on the back of the brochures, is not by chance. I firmly believe that everyone is a genius because we all have the capacity to learn and grow. Which is why I am pleased to officially announce the first of what I intend to be a greater commitment to educating and empowering the small business owner in marketing and business growth, social media management coaching.

Social Media Management Coaching

Social Media Management Coaching will include a one-hour meeting via video chat or in person (depending on distance and availability) where we will review your social media insights together and formulate a plan for you to reach your target audience. You will also receive a written report of our discussion. As each individual and circumstance differs, we have added social media management coaching to our Basic Pre-Pay Plan so that you may choose how many meetings you need based on your comfort level. After each meeting, you will be asked if you would like to schedule a meeting for the following month. Our focus is on your specific needs, comfort level, and to give you a hand up. With this, if additional time is needed, the hourly rate would then apply. This enhancement to the Basic Plan begins Monday, January 13, 2020.

I am ridiculously excited for this announcement because it is the first of what I intend to be several expanding and enhancing of services for 2020, all focused on giving you, the small business owner and hand up when needed. I can’t wait to see what you can do.

Using Facebook Groups to Promote Your Business

Whether you should have a Facebook page or group, or both depends on how much you want to interact with your audience. Groups are set up to create more of a community atmosphere whereas a page should be more focused on your branding. Pages are great for getting the word out about your business but can easily become burdened by over posting and people visiting may not be able to find what they need. If you find you are posting too frequently or having others post too much on your page, a group may be a great way to keep your page clean and concise.

Groups are set up for increased communication and discussion between members. This means that any member may post and share their experiences with other members of the group. Creating a group page is great for networking groups to keep in touch and let others know about what is going on. They’re also great to share promotions and special events. But you can also use groups as a tool to promote your business. It all comes down to your sales funnel.

Groups are a great way to maintain your warmer audience in your sales funnel when you have a lot of specials in your business or have a lot of products to promote. Your members are individuals who know about or have used your products or services and want to keep informed about what you are doing and have going on. You will want to encourage the members to post or interact with your posts more on groups than what you will on pages, although that does not mean you can forgo posting on your page. Both are important although they interact with users differently.

Maintaining a group page also means that you will need to post more frequently. Thankfully, you can schedule posts on groups as well as pages. However, you will want to ensure that the posts on your group’s page differs from your business page as you are speaking to a warmer audience. Remember, they already know about you and are interested in what you offer! You may also need to interact with your audience more on a group page and reply to comments or follow up with likes. Depending on the interaction, you may be moving closer to a sale!

Having a Facebook group associated with your page does require a bit more work to keep up but remember, these are people in your sales funnel and need to be worked just as you would in person. Additionally, you may want to share your promotions to other group pages that you belong to. You never know who you can reach through a group page.

Using the Facebook Algorithm to Work For Your Business

When Facebook launched, its mission statement was “help you connect and share with the people in your life.” However, as time progressed, Facebook became much less of a place for friends (and family) to stay connected and more a place for businesses to try to sell you and your friends. In early 2018, Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook’s founder) mandated the social media giant to go back to its roots, moving away from passive consumption and placing focus on people – what they say and what they share. This what the Facebook algorithm is based on and why branding is more important than ever.

Branding encompasses a lot of things but as a whole, it tells others about your business. From little things like your business cards to how you want your customer to feel when they do business with you.  Branding on Facebook is daunting to many business owners. What to post, when to post, even how frequently to post, it’s a lot. Good news, it doesn’t have to be all consuming.

Assuming your page is completely set up meaning, you have a username (also known as a handle), your template is appropriate for the type of business, your goods and services are showcased, and your About tab is fully completed including “Our Story” if available with your template, you are ready to begin posting on your page.

This is the algorithm you are working with

Frequency of posting changes, however many business owners find a sweet spot with posting 2-3 times a week. Any more than that and there is a chance of diminishing return on your investment – your time! When posting, you will want to ensure that your audience will see your posts, so you will need to know your Insight numbers before scheduling out what and when to post. Checking your Insight tab monthly gives you an overview of how your page performed and what types of posts performed well. While there is a wealth of information there, the most applicable tabs are: Overview, Posts, and People.

Overview will give you figures for your page for the past 7, 14, 21, and 28 days and shows how your page performed overall. The key figures to take from this tab are your reach and engagement figures. These figures tell you about the people (reach) and what they say and share (engagement). This is the algorithm you are working with. Start with what you have and work on increasing those figures through your branding.

The Posts and People tabs tell you more about your audience. When they are online (be sure to adjust for time zone), what types of posts they interacted with, and your audience’s demographic data – age/sex/location. This information tells you when and how to interact with your audience to get them to engage with your page. With this, your posts will be more likely to reach your audience and give them the opportunity to engage with what you posted.

Branding should follow the 80/20 rule

It is tempting to post only about your business, but be cautious, it can become too much of a good thing and you will be only speaking to your specific audience, rather than growing your audience. Branding should follow the 80/20 rule, meaning you are giving 80% of the time and asking for something only 20%. The majority of your posts should be giving something to your audience such as: tips and tricks specific to your business, humorous memes or gifs that relate to what you do and sharing others successes or events. Sharing these types of posts show that you are a part of a community and that you care about that community. This also notifies the other business’s audience that you engaged with their post which in turn may lead to more page likes for you. The other 20%, which equals to once or twice a month, you should be asking for your audience to do something. This can be interacting with a contest that you’ve put together, a sale or event that you are asking people to attend, or some other form of action you are asking your audience to perform. No one likes to be sold all the time, but people do like a deal when it comes around.

The Facebook algorithm is not a terrible maze that must be navigated, rather a gentle reminder to business owners that the customer should be our top priority. By shifting to a branding first mentality, our clients have been able to see an increase not only in the quality of their audience, but also ongoing audience growth, and increased awareness and foot traffic to their businesses. It does take time for these changes to take effect, but the reward is what we’re all looking for.

Let’s Get Social

Social Media marketing, it sounds easy enough. Just put your stuff out there and people will buy it. But it’s not that easy. This week’s questions have focused on social media marketing, particularly Facebook. I discussed marketing tools a bit in the blog post “What is Marketing” this week, I’m going to dive in deeper and that 80/20 Rule is going to make a comeback. So if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend starting there before reading more.

At Symbiotic Marketing, we highly recommend when starting out to have a Facebook page or website, preferably both. The purpose of your Facebook page (assuming you have one) is to drive business to your website and to make people aware of what you offer. Social media is meant to be just that, social. It’s to give individuals an idea of who you are, what you do and how you do it. Your social media page should be informative for both individuals who are just learning about your business as well as those who may be interested in purchasing your goods or services.

That’s a lot to cover! So how does one do this? We start with the basics. Take a look at your page as a visitor. Go into your Facebook page and click on the three dots beside the “Share” button. This opens a secondary menu where you can view your page as a visitor. By selecting this, you can see your page as someone visiting your page will see, or like any other business page that you are not associated with looks like. Take a good look at your page and how it is set up and ask yourself, if you were visiting this business page, would you be able to find the information you would want? If you feel stuck, check out other business pages that may be similar to yours to see how their pages are set up. Most cosmetic changes (such as layout and page tabs) can be changed in the Settings tab.

Once that is to your liking, look at your posts. We find that most businesses perform well with 2-3 posts a week. Here is where the 80/20 Rule comes into play again. We aim for less than 20% of those posts to be asking for something (that’s a sly way of saying “buy my stuff”): asking individuals to purchase your goods or services and asking to come to an event you are hosting or attending. This includes your sales posts: coupons, BO-GOs, Flash Sales, etc. The remaining 80% of your posts should be more telling about you, your business, your story.

This is where many become uncomfortable. Remember that growth does not come from a place of comfort. Post about things that resonate with you and your business. Share “ugly truths” such as I work from home and have two very loud dogs. To combat this, I have the television on in the background almost all the time. The background noise makes me feel less alone and keeps me from jumping out of my skin when the dogs see a squirrel, or a loud truck goes down the road. While I’d rather individuals not know the particulars of working at home, small ugly truths such as this meme posted on the Symbiotic Marketing Page. While the post is humorous, there’s certainly a ring of truth to it that many can relate to. If this does not resonate with your particular business, post about what you are currently working on and why it fills your heart with joy. Happiness is infectious so share the love!

Additionally, with this, share posts from other businesses that you support either through your business or yourself personally. Individuals are literally asking for recommendations on social media from where to get a lawn mower repaired to a new dentist and everything in between. Not only will you become a resource, you are also opening your page to another page’s audience that may not know what you offer. This grows your reach and can grow your specific audience.

Finally, Facebook allows pages to create a “Story” outside of the story that is only shown for 24 hours. This is your Why. Why you started, why you do what you do and why you keep doing it. Create a story for your audience. There’s a saying in the world of sales, “Facts tell, stories sell.” Tell others of your story, your why and they’ll be more likely to buy what you have. I have a water bottle that I love. I carry it with me everywhere I go and get many comments on it. I paid more for that water bottle than any other water bottle I own. I bought it and carry it because a mother in Florida runs this business out of her garage. She shares the good, the bad, and the ugly or running her business online. She’s relatable. I tell everyone who will listen where I purchased it and why. By her sharing her story, I continue to share through word of mouth. And as we know, word of mouth is the most powerful form of advertising.

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