Tag: facebook

WE’RE BACK! And Accepting New Clients!

WE’RE BACK! And Accepting New Clients!

It has been 10 weeks since I’ve sat down to write a blog, and it’s crazy to think that much time has passed! I have had the pleasure of speaking with so many individuals, organizations, and businesses through the COVID-19 season, keeping up with the weekly writing simply became too much for my plate.

With this, I cannot express how grateful I am to have been granted this opportunity to speak to so many people in such a short period of time. I hope that the insight and direction I was able to provide brought clarity to your questions and helped you brave through the storm.

This has been an incredible time for growth for every individual I have spoken with. But with that, I heard time and time again of the entrepreneur’s struggle with Facebook. What’s more, is that most entrepreneurs feel that they are alone in this struggle between personal profiles and business pages. Let me shout this from the roof tops: YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

I have heard this from every single type of business owner you can imagine, from marketing individuals (yes, us!) to store owners who operate successful business pages. The disconnect is incredible and what’s more, it is having significant effects on our mental health.

Who hasn’t taken a break from Facebook?

This year, this has been compounded by a multitude of factors, but one fact remains. Facebook is where people go for local information. New groups and pages sprung up between February and April with a wealth of activity and engagement. These pages are continuing to reach significant numbers in the local area.

This information is then being shared from these pages to individual profiles. The spread is real, and individual voices are carrying farther than ever before. Yet, I am seeing on my newsfeed that business owners are struggling with how to manage it all. Scheduling tools help with business profiles, but we all have our own personal pages too. It’s a lot, and I’m seeing more and more business owners going dark on Facebook.

I get it. The negativity is overwhelming. The comments and conversations can flow and grow without us even realizing it. We need to get away for a bit. And that’s okay! But entrepreneurs cannot and should not be completely silent on Facebook. Think of your profile as a networking opportunity, it is your spotlight to show how great you are in every single area of your life.

You should get something from your time spent online!

That is why, starting today, Symbiotic Marketing is not only officially accepting new clients, but also offering a new service to help you find your voice on Facebook, Facebook Coaching for Entrepreneurs. This service is geared for the professional in each and every one of us rather than our businesses. While each session is custom tailored to your specific needs and goals, you can expect the following areas to be discussed:

  • How to build your brand without losing your identity
  • How to best use your algorithm for maximize social capital potential
  • How best to confront negativity on your newsfeed
  • What to say on your profile and remain professional
  • Ways to increase your social capital with Groups
  • When to transition your profile to a page
  • Creating personal goals for engagement
  • Finding an identity on Facebook and why you should have one
  • How to find who you are speaking to when you post
  • Effectively using your audience for increased social wealth
  • Speaking to your target audience from your profile
  • And more!

We are very excited about where we are going as a company in 2020, as this is only the beginning of some really cool things coming to Symbiotic Marketing. We’ve spent the last three years showing you what we can do, now we are ready to begin to teach you our ways. One thing is clear, no matter what business you own, the entrepreneur must put themselves first.

Your business may be amazing and do wonderful things, but where would it be without you?

Ladies and gentlemen, we MUST put ourselves first to be able to do the things we love. It was not an easy decision for me to take a break from writing. I love to write and I love to communicate with you! But I have to put my own needs first.

In February, I told a group of women that when the airbags are deployed, we have to put ours on first to be able to help others. I had no idea how true those words would ring in my ears just a few short weeks later. Yes, I shut down paid operations for you, because I could not bring myself to charge for services during the crisis we were facing.

But during that time, I learned a great deal about myself. I found that I have to take care of myself first to be able to care for you. I went dark on Facebook but not because I needed to get away from negativity, but because I was working.

Working on me, working on finding myself and my joy.

While little was shown publicly, those that I worked with have worked hard but the results have been incredible. Individuals have been able to show themselves as leaders in our community simply by posting on Facebook.  As entrepreneurs, we cannot be silent any longer. The winds of change have come.

You should know the percentage of your friends list you are speaking to when you post. You should know your personal reach and engagement figures. You should know who you are speaking to and who you are not. You should be comfortable using your own Facebook. The choice is yours.

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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.

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!

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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