Our August Monthly Luncheon focused on how your business presents itself online.
Isaac Noland from Red Tail Design Co joined us to talk about websites and social media.
We’ve organized a condensed outline of his talk and some links to resources and further reading that can help your business.
What your online presence looks like depends on:
- Your industry
- Size of your business
- Where you are located; state, city, neighborhood
- How much time and money you dedicate to using social media and your website
What is “online presence?”
A holistic view of how your brand is represented on the web.
More specifically, online presence is everything including:
- The words on the homepage of your website
- Your twitter profile pic
- The link in your Instagram bio
- The about section on your Facebook
Two main components:
- social media
It is your home on the web. It may be a person’s first interaction with your brand.
If it’s messy, it can reflect poorly on your company.
It doesn’t need to look flashy or be complicated.
Clean, clear, succinct, informative.
It’s a place where people can answer their own questions about your business.
- How do you think people use or access your website?
- Mostly on phone or desktop?
- Have you looked at your company’s website on your phone recently?
- Tried to use it? If you didn’t know the website already, what would you think?
- What elements of a website do you think are essential and why?
- Have you Googled your own business recently?
- What does the search results page look like?
- How often do you update the site and what gets updated?
- Is there a plan or process for updates? Even just a casual one?
Things to do when thinking about building a new site:
- Look at competitors and others in your industry.
- What features do their sites have? Do they make sense to have?
- Make a list of sites you like, note why.
- Make a list of sites you don’t like, note why.
- Make a “sitemap,” the pages that you need a new site to have.
- Plan out the written and visual content of each page.
- You either need to provide it all or pay for it’s creation, or some mix of the two.*
- Organize your brand files, make sure you have large pngs of your logo and as many resources as possible to provide.
- Will you know how to update your site?
- What if you want to work with a different company later?
*Website designers and developers are not copywriters, they are not photographers, they are not graphic designers. and vice versa. But, any given agency or group probably has some mix of those skills or at least works with people who do. In many cases you should be able to provide rough information and pay a dedicated copywriter (with web experience!) to make it work great for your site’s needs.
The big three:
- Professional services, B2B
- Visual, arts, creative, lifestyle, life brand, health, beauty
My philosophy for social media and small businesses
There is higher social media potential if someone directly involved with your business is actively using your social media. This means you or your employees personally managing your channels and actively using them every day.
- You care about your business more than anyone else
- You or a direct employee will most likely be frequently present at your place of business
- Newer, quicker and more casual social media offerings shine here
- Instagram stories, for example
- Newer, quicker and more casual social media offerings shine here
- Hiring someone means paying them enough so they can spend the time to know your business as well as you do, and answer questions about it around the clock
- You’ll spend a lot of time communicating with a hired outside person, providing
- Instead of just posting them yourself
- Brand resources
- Answers to their questions
- Instead of just answering them yourself
Can you cut out the middleman? Leverage your intimate knowledge and familiarity of your business while having systems in place that prevent you from getting bogged down in the actual nitty-gritty?
With a little practice, I believe you can have a more robust, active, natural and organic feeling social media presence than you could achieve by hiring someone.
As for knowing where to start and getting that practice:
You can hire someone to create a strategy and train you on its use.
- Audits your current online presence, researches audiences, industry etc
- Creates social media goals to support your business goals
- Designs an actionable plan and consults you on how to carry it out
For example, they can:
- Identify what aspects of your business’ day-to-day life can be added to an Instagram story every morning, and what the text should be, and who should be tagged.
- Develop clear, specific social media responsibilities for existing employees, allowing you to empower them with more responsibility (and compensation as necessary) to a degree that helps your business.
- Help your business build its internal knowledge base and employee skill sets.
What does it cost to hire someone month to month,
Paying more upfront for a strategy, and time spent with training and or promoting an employee .
I think that in many cases that should even out in less than half a year, and put you in a good spot.
Obviously in the real world it isn’t this clean cut. Building a strategy, sharing responsibilities, and learning new tools can and will look very different for each business.
Main point: it is not one-size-fits-all.
When hiring in the social media field, or identifying employee responsibilities:
Think about, is this person responsible for:
- Taking photographs?
- What media are they expected to write for? (Facebook posts, Instagram posts, tweets, blogs)
- Designing graphics?
- Making video?
The answer will be a combination of what you already know you want and need, and what a professional recommends. Ask questions! Play to your existing strengths and the strengths of your employees to get the most out of your time.
No matter what your media management structure looks like:
Easy things you can do NOW:
- Look at all of your active accounts
- Do you have any old or outdated information in them?
- Very important for Facebook, there are SO MANY options and settings
- Where does the bio link go on your Twitter or Instagram?
- Do you have outdated admin lists on Facebook?
- Check social media even if you think you DON’T have an account there, use their search function
- Organize your properties. Collect passwords, usernames, emails associated with the accounts
How do you determine what social media are right for you?
Questions to ask:
- What do your competitors use?
- Where is your audience?
- What tools do each social media channel offer?
- How does this channel support your goals?
Can’t be avoided:
You need to dive in and spend time. Try out a new feature on some social media. Be deliberate and think about how your business can use it.
In February, Isaac Noland spoke at the Chamber of Commerce Executives of Ohio Winter Conference, hosting sessions on social media with Libby Gierach, Director of the Hilliard Chamber of Commerce.
Included here are some select slides from that presentation. Focusing on Twiter and Instagram, they use examples from the TVCP’s social media when talking about tools available to you.
Blogs and publications to check out:
Social media management tools usually are good sources of information. They work to attract users with useful resources on their blogs.
Both have tons of articles about social media marketing.
For website stuff:
All of these publications will have way more articles than you’ll need, so it can be overwhelming if you just dive in. But if you search for specific advice or poke around a bit, you’ll find relevant information that can be enlightening about how your business can use social media and your website.
We hope this has provided you with some useful advice!
Thanks to everyone who made it to Hofbrauhaus in August 2018 for our Monthly Luncheon.