How To Dominate Social Media

Joleene Moody

If your business isn’t showing up loud and proud on social media, you could be compromising your bottom line. You want to dominate the social airwaves and bring new clients and fresh opportunity with it. Your social success hinges on where you post and how much effort you put into it. Consider these options when posting on social media platforms that meet the likes of your business.

1) Schedule Your Posts

     Some businesses don’t consider this an option as they circulate the cyber airwaves. But continuous posting can pull more followers your way, especially on a platform like Twitter. Use apps like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to schedule hourly tweets. Include posts that inform, engage, and promote sharing. Your followers choose to trail you because of what you do or what you’ve posted in the past. Make them happy and share their posts as well. The more followers you have, the more you open the space to be recognized as the expert in your field. If you seek more sales and a powerhouse reputation, share great content and post regularly.

2) Use Video to Share Content

     When Twitter released Periscope, the response was both immediate and overwhelming. Within a few short months, small business owners and entrepreneurs across the globe were Livestreaming tips, stories, and useful information to followers. With a chat that allows comments and hearts for likes, Periscope is ideal for the business owner that wants to stay focused and instruct. Many followers convert to fans and clients for those that regularly use the app.

     If Periscope doesn’t thrill you, consider Blab, a social video platform still in its Beta stages. With four video seats and a chat section that allows hundreds of attendees to engage, Blab is shaping up to be the new wave of Podcasting. If the host allows, a single attendee can briefly take one of the video window seats and be heard. Blab chats can go on for hours. Some Blab users actually schedule 24-and-48 hour marathons. While this isn’t necessary, a short 30-minute show can prove invaluable for business owners that want to share content and elicit trust.

3) Use Platforms that Match Your Business

     You don’t have to exist on every social media platform to dominate in social media. For some businesses, determining which platform works best is a challenge. But it doesn’t have to be. Spending time on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Pinterest can answer that question for you. If you are a coach or consultant, Facebook and Facebook Ads are where your tribe exists. If you are a social media or content marketer, Twitter may be where it’s at. And if you own a design or bakery business, Pinterest is the ideal platform for you. Overwhelming yourself with too many platforms can actually work against you. Choose two or three that fit your business well and shoot for the moon.

     Regular posting and highly valuable content will give you the exposure and leverage you need on social media. Offering information that is actionable is also key, as it leads followers to your website and other social platforms. Show up with integrity and your business will shine above all others.

JOLEENE MOODY is a freelance writer, blogger, and speaker who lives in Oswego County with her husband and daughter. Learn more at: www.takeyourvoiceback.com

Don’t forget Facebook in media mix

Jennifer McCluskey

Jennifer McCluskey

As you are planning out your business’s advertising budget for next year, you may want to consider adding targeted Facebook ads if you have not done so already.

Being able to be very specific in defining a target audience is one of the reasons many businesses are turning to Facebook for advertising in addition to their more traditional advertising methods. For example, you can set up an audience of men ages 18 to 22 who like snowmobiling and live within either a 10 mile radius of Gouverneur or a 20-mile radius of Watertown. You can be as specific or as broad as you like, depending on the certain type of customer you are trying to reach.

If you’ve never set up a targeted audience for your Facebook ads before, here’s how you do it. At the lower-left corner of your Facebook page, there should be a blue button that says “Promote.” Facebook likes to move stuff around regularly, so if it’s not there, it will be somewhere on the page. Click it, click “see all promotions,” go to the bottom of the screen and click “Go to Ads Manager.” The dropdown menu in the upper left hand corner of your Ads Manager should give you a link to set up an audience. If it does not, click “Create Ad,” and choose an objective to be able to see the audience creator.

There are several ways to develop an audience. One way is to upload information about customers, and Facebook will match that to other people who share the same demographics and interest. Alternatively, you can create an audience of people who have interacted with your Facebook page, mobile app, or visited your website. Beyond those criteria, you can target customers based on their age, gender, and location. You can also use the detailed targeting search bar to find people that match certain interests. This is where the fun part begins. Start typing a phrase and see what comes up. Some examples are parents of teenagers age 13 to 18, people who are interested in magnum ice cream, people who are interested in handmade jewelry, people whose home value is more than $200,000, and people who are credit card “high spenders.” Yes, it is pretty scary how much information Facebook has about us. The list goes on and on, so you can craft an audience that is detailed as much as you want.

You can also choose to include or exclude people who like your page, or send the ad to friends of people who like your page. You can choose to have your ad or boosted post come up within your audience’s newsfeed (it will say “sponsored” above the ad) or in the sidebar. Ads in the newsfeed are a little more subtle, but it might be worth trying both to see which is most effective. You can also choose to have your ads show up on Instagram as well.

Once you have created an audience you can save it for future use. It can be useful to test several different audiences to see which works best to meet your goal. Continue to add audiences for variety, so you won’t be showing the ad to the same people every time.

Finally, and most importantly, you want to make sure you have a measurable goal to know if your marketing is effective. Your goal may be to get more clicks through to your website, to get more emails or calls from customers, and of course to make more sales. You will want to track the results from your ad campaign. Facebook has some insights in the ads manager, but you can also use website analyzers like Google Analytics to track clicks to your website from Facebook. You can also include a coupon code with your ad so that you will know how many actual customers come in because of it. It is also good to test two different ads, audiences, etc. to find out what works the best to bring in more customers.

Feel free to get in touch with us at the SBDC if you want help designing your Facebook ads or if you want any other assistance for your business. We are always here to help. The Small Business Development Center has offices at SUNY Canton (315) 386-7312 and at JCC in Watertown (315) 782-9262.

June 2016: Entrepreneur’s Edge

Tips to improve social media response

Joleene Moody

Joleene Moody

There’s a saying out there that says, “If you’re not on social media with your business, you’re not in business.”

I believe this to be true. And if you’re in business and disagree with this, you should check your resistance and ask yourself why. Why are you resisting a social media presence? Whatever answer you come up with is the very block that needs to be removed so your business can grow. And trust me, it will grow. [Read more…]

June 2016: Business Tech Bytes

Coming soon: ‘Facebook at Work’

Jill Van Hoesen

Jill Van Hoesen

You have a Facebook page, your business has a page, so does the social club you belong to, but most importantly so do all your “friends.” With more than 1.59 billion users worldwide, Facebook seems to be here to stay and is permeating further and further into our everyday lives. What do you think about Facebook at work? Did you know that “Facebook at Work” is already in the works? [Read more…]

St. Lawrence County’s golf courses, cycling, wineries and more draw tourists

Brooke E. Rouse, director of St. Lawrence County’s Chamber of Commerce, and Joseph R. Goliber, visitor center manager, pose with copies of the agency’s visitor’s guide and angler’s guide at their Canton office. Photo by Susan Mende, Watertown Daily Times.

Brooke E. Rouse, director of St. Lawrence County’s Chamber of Commerce, and Joseph R. Goliber, visitor center manager, pose with copies of the agency’s visitor’s guide and angler’s guide at their Canton office. Photo by Susan Mende, Watertown Daily Times.

Boxes filled with 3,000 copies of the 47-page St. Lawrence County Chamber’s Visitor Guide headed across the border Wednesday for the Ottawa and Kingston areas to showcase golf, cycling, fishing and other recreational opportunities that continue to attract people to the rural north country. [Read more…]

May 2016: Small Business Success

Are you ready to open for business?

Sarah O'Connell

Sarah O’Connell

It’s very challenging to operate a seasonal business that’s open only part of the year, but it’s a financial necessity when your business depends on the weather and tourism. At the Small Business Development Center, our new clients often state that they are going to operate their weather- or visitor-dependent business year-round, but after the first year they often realize that it’s not financially viable to maintain payroll, utility and other expenses when the sales are just not there. [Read more…]

March 2016: Business Tech Bytes

The right tools to manage IT disruption

Jill Van Hoesen

Jill Van Hoesen

Is information technology management in your enterprise increasingly about coordinating a concoction of disparate systems? Do you have varying departments making purchasing and usage decisions independently? Has the consumerization of IT, with all the tools and solutions in the palm of your employee’s hand, invaded your enterprise?

I’m sure most of your employees are using some cloud or personal software to abet them with their job.

In the 2015 Harvey Nash and KPMG CIO survey, “Into an Age of Disruption,” a full range of information technology topics, from recruitment and business strategy to overall IT priorities were explored. Nine out of 10 survey respondents believe that digital disruption will impact their organizations within the next decade, and 61 percent said they think they’ll capitalize on this disruption better than their present and future competitors.

“The speed of technology is what’s driving IT today,” said Bob Miano, president and CEO of Harvey Nash USAPAC. “Disruption is the norm now, so it’s about how fast companies can innovate. Pressure to produce at an accelerated pace is felt across all vertical markets, and has direct ties to the talent war.”

So the quandary, how do you deliver stable consistent IT performance that will drive revenue while still containing or even cutting costs? To be successful in managing your IT solutions more effectively, Janco Associate’s CIO Concern Management Toolkit recommends three focus areas of consideration: people, infrastructure and technology.

People — Security rises directly to the top. From cyber attacks to phishing emails, your employees are your biggest security concern. It goes hand in hand with cloud computing, how many new applications are being used each and every day on your network that is not under complete control of your IT organization? If you think you know, look again. No matter your business, technology applications are constantly evolving and changing in this digital age.

Infrastructure — Gone are the days of everyone accessing the IBM mainframe in a single location with IT approved standardized hardware and software. As new technologies are being implemented, traditional functions are being eliminated, making way for even further automation. This automation brings with it mountains of data which needs to be analyzed quickly and efficiently so that the decision making process within your enterprise can be improved. Records management, version control, retention and destruction are just a few of the traditional areas that still need to be under internal management and control.

Technology — BYOD, mobile applications, cloud storage. These represent non vented IT platforms that your employees are using in order to improve theirs and your bottom line. Your employees will use whatever applications are in the palm of their hands to get these results. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, just to name a few, are the wave of the future and need to be managed more efficiently in most every enterprise today. This management needs to span from advertising to productivity losses. Does your business have a Facebook page? Check out Facebook Business Manager; that will assist with advertising. As for time spent on Facebook and other social media sites during work time? I’m soliciting your comments, suggestions, policies and procedures for an upcoming column.

To be sure, clouds, mobility, social media and BYOD has redistributed power within most very aspect of most every business. In the light of the every growing list of cyber-attacks, now more than ever there is a need to focus on designing an enterprise security and privacy strategic roadmap. These policies and procedures need to be based on governance models such as PCI, HIPAA or SOX depending on the nature of your business. Your end goal is for your people, infrastructure and technology to evolve beyond the point of being a motley and disjointed collection of software solutions, tools, and technologies. You need to attain the mindset and approach that will harness the full power that digital technology has to offer. It will be a challenging balancing act, but many IT teams and technology leaders have the innate aptitude to propel an organization through this complex “age of disruption.”

Jill Van Hoesen is chief information officer for Johnson Newspapers and a 25-year IT veteran. Contact her at jvanhoesen@wdt.net. Her column appears monthly in NNY Business.

March 2016: Small Business Success

Maine-ly business with some extra salt

Sarah O'Connell

Sarah O’Connell

This is part two of my 1,500-mile solo road trip through New England to visit a small entrepreneurial venture way up in Down East Maine. The story begins when it seemed that everyone I knew started touting “Pink Himalayan Sea Salt.” I don’t exactly possess the palate of a gourmet, so I’m thinking, “Isn’t salt just salt?” Because basically, all salt was originally sea salt, whether it’s mined from deep beneath the earth or extracted from the ocean. But connoisseurs of salt believe that there are big differences in taste, mineral content and processing, and they are willing to pay the big bucks to have their condiment transported 7000-plus miles. [Read more…]

February 2016: Small Business Startup

Attic Treasures Antiques and Gifts

Susan M. Sunderland, owner of Attic Treasures Antiques and Gifts in Evans Mills, and Dale Munn, brother and business partner. Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business Magazine.

Susan M. Sunderland, owner of Attic Treasures Antiques and Gifts in Evans Mills, and Dale Munn, brother and business partner. Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business Magazine.

[Read more…]

January 2016: Small Business Startup

Fabric and Sew Much More

"Fabric and Sew Much More" owner Debbie L. Wood with fabric samples inside her Clayton store. Photo by Amanda Morrison, NNY Business.

“Fabric and Sew Much More” owner Debbie L. Wood with fabric samples inside her Clayton store. Photo by Amanda Morrison, NNY Business.

After Debbie L. Wood, 56, retired last year from her maintenance job at the Clayton Recreation Park Arena, she decided it was time to turn her passion for sewing into a full-time business. [Read more…]