MetroWest Chamber: Using Social Media In A Challenging Time

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By Shannon Giordano

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FRAMINGHAM – This past year brought with it many gifts but also many more challenges for businesses and entrepreneurs. It’s left us spending far more time contemplating how we sell our products and services as many of us are anxious, worried about our businesses and how we’ll stay afloat and ultimately get back to growing our business. Add to that, working from home and balancing helping kids with remote school and dishes. So many dishes! I would contend dishes are the new laundry. How do they multiply?

On the positive side, pre-COVID, I often heard from clients and friends that social media is a necessary evil. It’s something we have to do but we don’t really see the good. It got a bad rap as being shallow or negative. Now, in this new business landscape, social media is a lifeline that we all can use in our personal and professional lives. At it’s best, when used wisely and creatively, social media is a tool that can help us connect in a very meaningful way on a personal level AND on a business level.

Showing Up

You may still be asking, “How do I show up on social media now? How do I promote my business online during this challenging time?” As business owners, we all have pain points around how and what to share on social media, but there are things we can do to reshape our thinking and show up in new and creative ways.

In my years of working with clients to help them build an online presence, I’ve come to believe there are 3 things all of us on
social media need to focus on – especially right now.

1) Tone
2) Strategy
3) Engagement

Let’s look more closely at each to help us navigate our new online normal, starting with Tone of Voice.

Hone Your Tone (of Voice)

By tone of voice what I mean is – How are you showing up? This is where companies often struggle. Before COVID-19, companies were sharing their products & services on Facebook company pages, Ad campaigns, email campaigns, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Many were doing it well while others that I hear from were struggling to get the engagement they desired and to make the sales they wanted.

Here’s where I see the special opportunity RIGHT NOW: think about your tone and how you want to show up.

Your tone of voice is all about how you want to make people feel. It’s the words you use and the sentences you share in order to inspire, get customers to engage, and yes, ultimately to buy.

The first step is to think about how you want to share your products, services, and thoughts during this challenging time.

The most successful businesses I’m seeing are coming at it with a voice of hope and connection. I’m sure you’ve all seen hashtags #togetherwecan #weallrise #alonetogether. All of these are meant to make us feel connected. We’re all facing the same challenges in some form or another!

I look at it as an privilege to get to shift tone to using positive words around the products & services we share. Don’t hold back by wondering if it’s the right time to sell your products and services. Shift your mindset so that you’re coming at it from a place of wanting to help people.

The way I see it, if there is something that you DO or HAVE that can help someone, this is the IDEAL time to share it. It’s going to make the world, or just your corner of the world a better place. So share away. Just think about your tone in every post. Now that we’ve got our tone honed, let’s shift to thinking through strategy.

Be Strategic

One of my favorite quotes – which really was originally a Lewis Carroll quote but Yogi Berra changed it a bit and said “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” I believe that.

You have to have a strategy around how and what you share on social media from a business perspective.
To help you define your strategy, ask yourself questions like:

a. Where should I post?
b. How often should I post?
c. What time of day works best for my followers?
d. Am I offering wisdom? Lighthearted fun? Information? Solutions? A product?
e. Be sure to have a mix of all of those. If you only share promotions and sales, you run the risk of having your community tune out.

The final point I want to make about strategy is that you need to write it down! It can’t be something you think about. It needs to be in writing. You can create a word doc or a Google calendar, whatever works for you. The important thing is to have it accessible to you as you post and engage.

Ready to Post and Engage

Once you’ve got your tone and your strategy defined, it’s time to post and engage. Using the framework you created in your strategy, write a week of posts. You can use a scheduling tool to schedule the posts ahead of time and then sit back and engage as your followers engage with you. If someone comments or shares, make sure you engage with them. And don’t be afraid to take it ‘offline’ and ask your friends to personally like, comment, and share your posts. It will help with visibility and the Facebook algorithm. Likes are great, shares are better, and comments are gold. The more people who comment on the post, the more often that post is served up, giving you the potential for greater reach.

Be sure to monitor engagement every day and monitor analytics monthly. All social media platforms offer some engagement data that you can pull information from. It’s a good idea to look for trends on a monthly basis. It’s not enough to think you know what your clients and followers need. You really need to look at analytics to see if it pans out. And you’ll home in on the best times of day and the best types of posts for your following.

Getting Out There

One of the gifts of this challenging time is that social media is here to connect us with each other and we all need to find out the best way to do that for our own personal and business growth. Spend a little time thinking through how you are showing up and how you want to show up. Is your tone of voice where you want it to be? Do you have a strategy around what and when you’re posting? And are your engagement numbers proving out your strategy?

This is a perfect time to be on social media. Try out some new ideas, engage with others, and stay tuned for growth!

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Giordano is a Social Media Strategist and Owner of Serendipity Social Media, Inc. and partner with the MetroWest Chamber of Commerce

Editor’s Note: SOURCE and the MetroWest Chamber have formed a partnership. The Chamber’s column will run on Tuesdays on the digital news media outlet.

editor

email: editor@FraminghamSource.com call or text at 508-315-7176

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