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The Wednesday Social: How Important is Social Media Marketing to Local Charlotte Businesses?

Well hello, Wednesday!

Welcome to this week’s social! This week we’re pulling in some outside small business owners and/or social media operators for a discussion of: how important is social media to the success of local business in Charlotte?
 
We sent out a survey to some locally owned businesses doing awesome social media work to get their take on how the integration of social media into their marketing program has affected them. In sum: of those we surveyed, social media has been integral to each brand’s success…
 
8 out of 11 said that Instagram is their platform of choice, 3 of 11 said Facebook is where it’s at for them. Where is YOUR audience? This is something not often considered when writing and designing content for social media. Who are you even talking to? AND, who is actually listening/buying/giving you their money? Hopefully your audience is one and the same here, but do you know?
 
One thing they’ve learned about social media?
 
“…the importance of syncing content to each channel,” says Blair Primis, VP of Marketing at OrthoCarolina.
 
“…that different demographics live on each platform,” says Aaron Dodge, Social Media Manager of Major League Triathlon.
 
” Meet your audience where they are,” says Katie Levans, CoFounder and Creative Director of Charlotte Agenda.
 
“Through process of elimination, I figured out what our customers respond best to. Tailoring that content has helped drive sales and recognition of our brand. It took us a while to sift through each platform to find the right combination. We have the right content mix now – have mastered instagram and facebook,” says Jill Koskosky, CMO at Brewpublik.
 
So, what about the latest social media updates? 9 of 11 surveyed said Instagram Stories has been their favorite update; 2 of 11 said Facebook LiveStream. Have you tried either? Which do you prefer? Haven’t ventured into the world of video or live streaming yet? Here are some quick tips and statistics from our friends at Hootsuite.
 
Not sure about the newer updates? Here’s a recent blog we wrote about Snapchat/Instagram Stories and here are some other resources worth reading re: integrating video into your social media plan…
 
The Rise of Video Marketing on Social and How it Affects Your Business – via Gary Vee
 
The Most Important Video Marketing Trends For 2016 – via Social Media Today
 
8 Reasons Why Your Business Should Use Video Marketing via Dream Grow
 
When asked “would your business be as successful without social media?” those surveyed responded with…
 
“No, our fast growth is almost entirely attributed to word of mouth and social media,” says Haley Bohon, founder of SkillPop.
 
“…any business is behind if they aren’t using social media. Print ads or radio aren’t enough… Social media has helped the old time word of mouth that truly makes a business successful,” says Andrea Glagow, Marketing, Social Media and Events Manager at The Unknown Brewing.
 
“Yes, but growth potential would be limited. We’re fighting the awareness game. Being on social media is good for awareness,” says Garrett Tichy, Owner of Ready at 7 and Hygge.
 
“No. Social media counts for not just a large portion of our exposure, but also a more engaged segment too,” says Andy Goh, Digital Communications Specialist at Bechtler Modern Museum of Art.
 
11 out of 11 surveyed shared similar sentiments in terms of the key investment factor: TIME.
 
“It’s just a natural thing since it’s where we already spend our time and our audience does too. We are of the generation that already utilizes these channels personally so there was never a question of whether or not we would use it professionally for the brand,” says Levans.
 
The other key investment: MONEY.
 
“We don’t invest a lot of money into social media at this point (startup), but we will as our budget grows… There is a basic process of loading our social posts 3 days at a time for any general promotion we are doing, with the ability to add in anything that comes up. This helps move things along as a good pace, while keeping topics fresh,” says Koskosky.
 
“We understood within the first year that social media was (and still is) such a key player in getting people in the door so staying consistent with our time/money spent in this marketing avenue is crucial to the success pf our business,” says Brandy Newton, Marketing Director of JJ’s Red Hots.
 
Last week’s Wednesday Social talks all about investing in social media. What we say is, what you put IN to social media, you will get OUT of social media. Read last week’s blog here.
 
So, you’re investing all of this time, and money, and it’s still hard. Things are changing every single day. So we asked them, “what’s the hardest part of social media marketing for your business?”
 
“…finding time to manage it all and staying relevant,” says Jordan Dollard, Owner of Elsa Fine Online.
 
“Constantly trying to create new and unique content. There are so many talented people out there creating stellar content, the bar keeps getting higher and higher,” says Andrew Morton of Yellow Cab of Charlotte.
 
“Measuring true ROI. It’s hard to measure when the tail on the efforts is long. Sometime 6-8 months later someone comes around that engages us on social media,” says Tichy.
 
“Tracking: what’s working and what’s not, as it relates directly to daily sales. We’ve always just tried to remain genuine and not take ourselves too seriously…We try to have fun with it and use social media to simply expose our product offerings, specials and passion for our brand. I think people attach just as much to our brand as they do our food – and that’s always been our goal…” says Newton.
 
“The competition. Everyone talks about beer: trends, new releases. In order for some of our topics to be relevant, we have to be first to market, which is tough considering there are a million beer blogs, breweries, etc. talking about the same things,” says Koskosky.
 
At the end of the day, everyone who shared their opinions said that social media has been integral to their success in Charlotte. Here are some tips we pulled from their responses:
 
“Don’t be afraid to get on social, and post about what you’re passionate about. Giving your brand an identity makes it relatable. Be authentic and success will come,” says Morton.
 
“People want to feel a part of your brand and social media makes that a possibility,” says Dollard.
 
“People want to be involved and feel like they are a part of your business too. Interacting with consumers is key to bringing them back as well as including them in posts or images,” says Glagow.
 
“Know your business inside and out and be able to respond 24/7. Social Media Marketing is a two-way street,” says Goh.
 
“I’ve learned a lot about content… tailoring that content has helped drive sales and recognition of our brand,” says Koskosky.
 

Let’s discuss: how has social media played a role in your marketing plan? Have you have success with social media? Please share! Write us a comment below or tweet us @bwsocialco and use #thewedsocial.
 
See ya next week for another installment of The Wednesday Social and if you have any specific requests on what we should talk about, email us!
 
*Stellar skyline photo of our beautiful city by Nick Rend. Do yourself a favor and follow him on instagram!

The Wednesday Social: Investing in Social Media

Well hello, Wednesday!

 

Welcome to this week’s social, where we’ll discuss big things happening in the social media space and/or respond to your blog requests and/or make an observation of something we’re dealing with on the business side…
 
It’s very often we get asked questions that range across the spectrum of, and include, “what do I invest,” “where do I invest,” and “what’s the ROI,” or comments based on a lack of understanding about the power of social media. We don’t expect to sum up all of these answers in one blog post and to be honest, we don’t have all the answers, but we wanted to organize some resources we have learned from just for you…
 
If you’re considering the use of this amazingly economical and organic tool, here are some resources:
 
How to Start Investing in Social Media in the Right Way via Forbes

Which Social Media Networks Should Your Business Invest In via Bruce Clay

Global social media research summary 2016 via Smart Insights

 

And you should know, social media is NOT a fad…

Where Will Social Media Users Go in 2017? via News Cred

Why Selling On Social Is A Fad And ‘Social Selling’ Is Not via We Are Social Media

 

If you’re using social media but could use some inspiration or support:

Top Social Media Trends That’ll Change Your Business in 2016 via Post Planner

Branding in the Age of Social Media via Harvard Business Review

10 Social Media Blogs You Should Be Reading via Sprout Social
 
At BW, we wholeheartedly LOVE social media and have seen great results from sharing a brand’s message across the interwebs. But take it from us, it is a LOT of work, especially if you want to do it right. It’s an investment in money and time…
 
Here are some tips on optimizing your time and efforts and make the most of your investment on social media…

  • You don’t have to be on every platform. Focus on the one where your target audience is and/or the one you are most excited about. Once you have a captive audience, you have people to follow you onto the next/new platform.
  • Try a 3rd party social media scheduler to plan your efforts and monitor your online reputation. We use Sprout but also recommend Hootsuite and Buffer.
  • Set aside time to brainstorm content ideas and creative ideas to set your brand apart.
  • Look around. Observe what your competitors are doing and what people/brands are doing in other industries for inspiration.
  • Feeling overwhelmed? Make it a team effort: have someone collect content, have someone manage the content, have someone organize/post the content.
  • Post with a purpose. Make it good, or… don’t make it at all.
  • Make time to develop a strategy, messaging, brand voice, graphics, plan, etc.
  • Allocate some of your traditional ad dollars to your social media ad budget
  • Seek out apps that can help you manage your efforts
  • GET HELP. Ask us for help, email us with questions. We want you to love social media and to reap all the rewards it has to offer.

 
DISCUSS: If you are or represent a brand, how much time do you spend on social media? How do you decide when and where to invest? How much money do you spend on social media and how to you measure your investment’s ROI?

 

We want to hear from you! Leave us a comment here or find us on the interwebs: @bwsocialco. See ya next week for another installment of The Wednesday Social and if you have any specific requests on what we should talk about, email us!

The Wednesday Social: Twitter Engagement

Well hello, Wednesday!

 

Welcome to this week’s social, where we’ll discuss big things happening in the social media space and/or responding to your requests…
 
On last week’s blog, we got the question of: How do we get engagement on Twitter? Oh, we love Twitter! If you’re not super into Twitter, or you need help understanding the value of spending time there, take a peek here for the basics and here for 4 reasons why you should love this social media platform.
 
Once you understand the basics, let’s discuss taking your activity a little further…
 

SPCE Online

 
Best Twitter Practices

 
DO’s

  1. Get creative! Write a variety of different tweets
  2. Schedule: Use Hootsuite or Sprout Social to pre-plan a calendar of content
  3. Create lists to generate feeds specific to your information needs
  4. Curate content from others
  5. STAY POSITIVE

 
DONT’S

  1. Over-automate
  2. Underestimate the use of Twitter for customer service
  3. Go inactive
  4. Skip use of hashtags
  5. Forget to use Twitter’s tools: polls, gif keyboard, tags/comments

 
In efforts to really optimize Twitter, here are a few tips to encourage engagement with your followers…

  • Look out for a conversation! You can start it, or you can join in
  • Seek out Twitter Chats relevant to your industry, community, neighborhood, other
  • Use Twitter’s tools to have fun: run a poll asking for feedback or use a fun gif to respond to someone’s question
  • Use keyword search to monitor your online brand and engage people who didn’t tag you
  • Look at your partners/competitors feeds to see who they are engaging with
  • Schedule recurring messages that support your bio but you would forget to post regularly
  • Look through hashtags relevant to your brand and/or community and join in the conversation
  • Create your own “branded” hashtag and run a contest
  • Write shareable content that your followers will identify with and share
  • Reach out to the followers who engage most and ask for feedback
  • Touch individual followers and ask for their specific input/response or repost them!

 
Other great Twitter resources:
 
5 Intriguing Twitter Case Studies via Our Social Times

Introducing an easier way to manage and report on Twitter Ads campaigns via Twitter

30 Twitter Ad Examples to Study Before Spending a Dime via Wordstream

How to Use Twitter Lists for Business via Social Media Examiner

 
Twitter is about more than just pushing out your own content. It’s about being engaging. Your followers are following you for a reason: indulge them! Curate content, ask questionspost content designed to share, and spend time designing a growth strategy.

 
DISCUSS: What’s your favorite account to follow on Twitter and why? What do they that gets you engaged? 

 
We want to hear from you! Leave us a comment here or find us on the interwebs: @bwsocialco. See ya next week for another installment of The Wednesday Social and if you have any specific requests on what we should talk about, email us!

The Wednesday Social: Instagram vs. Snapchat

Well hello, Wednesday!

 

Welcome to this week’s social, where we’ll discuss big things happening in the social media space…
 
Let’s talk about what everyone else is talking about, and what we can’t stop thinking about: where should you be spending your energy? Snapchat or Instagram? With the launch of Instagram stories, the conversation has been interesting and has many sides. Do I re-commit to Instagram or should I stick with where I really want to be (Snapchat)?
 
First off, click here to see both apps side-by-side.
 
Our quick list of Pro’s + Cons of each….

Wake up

Instagram Pros:

  1. You already have a captive audience on Instagram
  2. You can post content that will stay, 60 second/better designed videos, for example
  3. You can plan ahead and market yourself/your brand

 
Instagram Cons:

  1. It can be very time-consuming to plan for instagram
  2. FB (who owns insta) is slowing transforming instagram into a FB look-a-like. Algorithms and business profiles… sound familiar? Pretty soon, the platform will be pay-to-play just like FB. If you haven’t changed your profile to a business profile yet, we recommend you don’t
  3. Is it just us or are there too many bots to deal? But then again, why cultivate an authentic audience when you can buy followers? JK — hit us up if you want to learn some grassroots ways to connect + grow using social media

 
Snapchat Pros:

  1. It’s live, it’s fun, it’s real
  2. HAVE YOU EVEN SEEN THE BEE FILTER? You can even submit customized filters for events or to have fun with your brand
  3. No ads, and you can totally ignore the brands on there if you want

*Honorable mention: BITMOJI’s!
 
Snapchat Cons:

  1. It’s new and you might not have very many followers there yet; it’s hard to find people if you don’t have their username
  2. How do you connect with people you don’t know? It’s tough
  3. Content is gone in no time. “Memories” are cool, but they’re sort of a pain to get to and only you can see them

 
Other takes on this topic:

How to switch to a business profile via Business 2 Community

Business profiles on Instagram via Social Media Examiner

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 6.55.09 PM

via Social Media Examiner

All of the ways Instagram stories and Snapchat stories are the same via The Verge

Why Snapchat should be very worried about Facebook’s latest move via Business Insider

Instagram Stories vs Snapchat in a Nutshell – What You Need to Know via Social Media Today
 
Who wins in our book? People were really upset about all the sponsored posts popping up in their feeds on Instagram; the stories application seems to have won many of those who have been disengaged back over. But really, will it be enough? We think as more and more ads come up, snapchat may slowly win the race. Why? Snapchat didn’t “sell out” to Facebook like Instagram and we’d LOVE to see someone truly compete in a way that keeps social media truly social, authentic and organic.
 
Outside of our personal interests, what we’ve learned from using social media marketing to support events, content, classes, brands, and well, everything… is that people want to have have an organic and authentic connection with their friends and favorite brands. Brands who can connect with people in real-time unique ways are the ones to have a lasting impact.
 
DISCUSS: Which app are you siding with and why? What do you think snapchat’s next move should/will be? What’s missing from all social media apps for YOU? Do you think there will be a new app to come out and fill the gap?
 
We want to hear from you! Leave us a comment here or find us on the interwebs: @bwsocialco. See ya next week for another installment of The Wednesday Social and if you have any specific requests on what we should talk about, email us!