Posted in The Swanky Hen

Survival Strategies for your Small Business

I hope you are doing well. I don’t think any of us are experiencing much of normal life right now, but we are breathing so let’s be thankful. So many are facing job loss, shutdowns, cutbacks, and on top of the financial chaos we are terrified for our lives. COVID-19 has changed everything.

We have never seen anything like this. My constant prayer is for an end to this virus, for health and safety, and that we may show the love of Jesus in the face of hysteria and fear.

There is much to say about the Coronavirus, but that isn’t why I am writing today. Today I am writing to my small business friends! Hello & BIG HUGS your way because I know life is scary right now. I want to talk to you about what you are doing regarding sales and marketing. What is your strategy? Even though times are unprecedented we must keep moving forward. Moving forward cannot look the same as it did last year, last season, or even a few weeks ago. I have talked about evolving your strategies before, but it is more important than ever! Many small businesses won’t make it through this and those that do will adapt to an ever-changing environment.

“It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” —W. Edwards Deming.

Mr. Deming’s quote it painful, but rings true. What industry are you in? Most people that I talk with and have helped in the past work in Housing, Real Estate, Insurance, Auto, or RV. No matter what you are selling or who you represent your digital presence and strategies are important so let’s talk.

What is relevant today and what should you be focusing on?

Trends have already told us that people don’t want to be sold, they want an experience. People want a relationship. Our face-to-face capabilities are limited more today than ever before so we must use our greatest tool. SOCIAL MEDIA! Create a Digital Relationship. What kind of experience do you provide for your customer? How can you recreate that experience in the digital realm? People aren’t looking for some over produced, canned videos, they are looking for you. Reach out to your customers, be real and connect with them.

Video has long been and still is the best avenue to reach your customers. People are really looking for entertainment right now. Provide excellent content.

Tip: Virtual Tours, Product Info, Check-Ins – BE REAL! Don’t over think it, don’t be “salesy” make a genuine connection and talk to your customers.

How are you communicating?

Communicating via social media is great. Make sure you have a team member attending to all messages and comments that come in. Don’t miss a lead! Answer questions, provide information, and moderate when needed.

If you have an ad that starts generating a lot of comments be sure to engage with your customers. I am all for sending price or specific information via message but use this space to create more interest in other instances. If you are advertising a specific model and someone asks a question about something similar don’t just answer with words, answer with a picture or a link. Not only is that customer more likely to engage, but so are others.

If you haven’t heard yet, people don’t like to talk on the phone. Some do, but not many. People also aren’t into emails. The open rate for your email is about 20% YOWZER … the response rate is only about 6%. So, I would suggest calling if you want to leave a voicemail and never hear back and emailing if you want to send it there to die.

Double NOPE for me. I would focus on answering comments, working messenger leads and have a text option available for your customers. Advertise a number they can text with questions and be available to work this way.

Think about the Greater Situation in all you do.

Look through any scheduled posts you have and make sure they are not going to be insensitive. When you scheduled ads last month you had no idea what would be taking place today. Delete things that might be taken wrong and adjust.

Think about your community and what they are going through. Share relevant articles, share things relevant to your industry and things that will be helpful to customers and potential customers.

Are you doing anything to help? Can anyone on your team help? Ex: sewing masks, donating items, etc. We are all focused on keeping our heads above water but helping one another is how we all win. If someone on the team is helping please share that good news!

It is ok to mix in some cute and funny things! We are all stuck at home and we need to smile. Please don’t be insensitive and don’t make light of the situation. People are dying and this is real. The things you do during this terrible time will be remembered for years to come. We want to be remembered for the good things.

Be Proactive

So many businesses, especially small business are behind. We don’t have to be, but we must change our thinking. We can’t just follow the trends anymore if we want to survive. We need to constantly evolve and be proactive in all that we do. Live in today. We are moving fast, changing fast and you must be willing to outwork and outsmart the competition.

What does this look like? Think about your customers. What do they look like? How has this pandemic touched their lives? Is there more of a need for your product? Is there an aspect of your business that is more attractive now? When we start thinking about our own industries, we can generate so many questions that are exclusive to what we do. When we answer these questions, we can create new strategies for our evolving workspace.

Tip: Housing – Virtual Tours of model homes. I am not talking about manufactured tours; I am talking about personal touches. RV & Automotive – Virtual Showrooms and Home Deliveries

We can get through this, but old thinking will sink our ships. If you have been reluctant in the past it isn’t an option anymore. In the last month many of our realities have completely changed. Business have gone from having record setting months to praying they can hold a team together and keep the lights on. None of the above tips are going to ensure your success or get you back on track, but they might help you stay alive. In all that we do we have to be proactive; we have to evolve with the landscape, and we have to work for our customers. My prayers are with all of you. I am praying for your health and safety. Remember to give grace in your daily interactions. We are all doing our best and we don’t ever know the extent of someone else’s situation. Be kind.

If you have any specific questions you can reach out to me on social. I have additional articles, research and tips that I am happy to share. Find me on Facebook, IG and Twitter.

Posted in The Swanky Hen

6 Tips for Insta Business Page Posts

Who are you targeting? Think about where your audience is. FB is becoming a place for ‘boomers’ and Insta is where ‘millennials’ live. Stop discounting ‘millennials’ because you need them to be successful! This group is made of the generation born between 1981 and 1996. That means that in 2020 the oldest millennial is 39 and the youngest is turning 24 years old. These people are most likely out of college, working, and should be on your radar no matter what industry you are in (unless you are selling walkers or adult diapers … then don’t worry about catching the millennials).

1. Find your audience and target them

  • Don’t just find them, follow them (not in the creepy way just click follow), interact with them and build IG relationships.
  • What do I mean? Search hashtags related to your business/industry/area and follow those pages, comment on their stuff and watch them start following and interacting with you.  

2. #usehashtags

  • Its all about the # on IG – Search hashtags related to your business and location and follow some of them.
  • # your posts with related tags that get a lot of traffic (people search by the # and your post will show up in that tag feed = more views and follows. Ex: #abilenetx #traveltx #mobilehomesoftx #dealsonwheels #countryhome #farmhousestyle
  • Create # for your business that will be ‘catchy’. Ex: #ccrvfamily #clearcreekrvs #a-1isnumber1 #a1homesvictoria #shannonsellshouses #sellwithshannon #theswankyhenhome

3. Make it PRETTY

  • Insta is all about how pretty the pic in that little square is. It must be engaging, relevant, and visually appealing.
  • Use high quality images – find some editing software on your phone and make your photos pretty. You never want to share grainy or dark photos. Make sure they are bright, sleek & beautiful!

4. Write an AWESOME Bio

  • People are going to decide if they like you in a few seconds, this is a short space where you can make a big impact. This is going to be the 1st thing someone sees when they click on your profile, please make it count!
  • You need to say a little bit about who you are, find a way to make it appealing to your audience, and connect with your community (family owned, Texas Proud, etc).

5. Include a Link

  • Understand that the ONLY place you can share a clickable link on IG is in the BIO!! Huge facepalm every time I see someone sharing a link in their description … doesn’t work, folks!
  • You want to drive the traffic to your homepage … right? Duh
  • In the beginning use it to lead them to your website
  • As you develop and get more savvy – use this space to send your audience to a specific piece of content (has to be done regularly)
  • If you are really savvy – use this link to send followers to a landing page where they can find different content to click on

6. Use Your Stories

  • At first you might think that this is useless, but its not. People, especially millennials LOVE IG stories. Yes, they disappear after 24 hours, but they can increase your engagement, visibility, and its another place to share content.
  • You can stay at the top of your customers mind with these regular shares – they don’t have to be super wow! Just be regular, fun, and diverse.
  • Real-Time Y’all – reach your people in the right moment! Live sale, promos, live event, new arrivals – help people that aren’t there feel ‘in the moment’.
  • Have fun here – this doesn’t have to be perfect, experiment!

This information is intended to help you increase your traffic and be more successful in the social realm. These are things that I have learned and studied over the past 8 years. I don’t have a degree in marketing, but I have a few certifications, years of experience and am constantly researching and learning. I am not an expert and I do not have all the answers. This is just free advice. I do have a degree in psychology (I only studied that for 4 years and they gave me a piece of paper for it). I feel a lot better giving you marketing advice than advising you on you psychological well being. Remember that things are always changing, and you must change with the platforms to stay relevant and be successful. Work smarter, not harder. Maximize your following and see how the success of organic posts will lower your dollar cost on paid ads. If you have content that you really want eyes on, spend money. Always keep in mind what you like to see on social platforms, what different generations like to see and how you need to build content to target different age groups and consumers. Good luck!

Posted in The Swanky Hen

4 Tips for Facebook Business Page Posts

Social media is always changing. This is a constantly evolving space that you must learn to conquer to be successful. Study your followers, page traffic and how the entire space is evolving. Facebook is constantly adding more tools to make the business page more friendly for less savvy users. At least once a quarter take the time to research current trends. A quick google search will lead you to a plethora of information. Always read the most up to date articles and follow trends. Even with this you can read 4 studies that will tell you 4 different results about the best time to post. My research and data from the housing, RV, and homestyle industries have led me to the following conclusions. I always suggesting starting your marketing program and studying your own audience to uncover the “best” time to post. (aka: look at the data on page manager) We need to flip the conversation from the ‘best time to post’ to focusing on the best time for YOUR BRAND to post. Study the competition (look at who is killing it on social in your industry – when are there posts scheduled and when do they get the most amount of traffic, what are they posting).

1. When you post is IMPORTANT! Schedule, Schedule, Schedule!!!

  • Consider the FB algorithm and understand that organic interaction drives the success of your page. (but we get less organic everyday … FB puts “meaningful” 1st with their last algorithm update)
  • Wednesday is historically the best day to post, specifically mid-day. (mid-week slump goofing off at work)
  • Sunday is the WORST day to post. It historically has the least engagement. (Sunday-Funday … aka not stuck at work)
  • Peak times = LUNCH Breaks (#1 time for B2C) MORNING Scroll – Right after people get to work (get to work stop playing on FB) END of Day (4-5pm goofing off again) BEFORE BED (think about when you are mindlessly scrolling … other people probably are too)

If you are arbitrarily throwing posts onto FB you are wasting your time (and possibly great content). Your data will tell you when the best time to schedule is, follow the data. The page manager is full of insights (click the insights tab and study) that will help you be successful. FB wants your marketing campaigns to be successful, so they provide the tools to help. If you are more successful = you spend more $ in their space.

2. One, Two, Three … then Sell to Me – AKA: Make this fun!

  • Content is everything! You are here to sell something, but people don’t want to be sold.
  • Try to make only every 4th post sales related
  • Get creative, follow trends, make the experience about the lifestyle of the consumer
  • Every post does not need to be related to your business.

3. Be Relevant – This isn’t scientific, but it will lead to success!

  • Do you want more organic traffic on your 4th post (aka sales post) then gain momentum with relevant shares, posts, videos, etc.
  • What is trending? Cat memes, football, cute kids … I can show you hundreds of posts on business pages I have managed they get hundreds of organic likes, shares, etc. Then I follow this momentum with something beneficial (product info, RIPL of a specific home/model) and watch the organic traffic that builds off of the fun/relevant post ahead. AMAZING to watch!

4. Sell the Lifestyle before the Product

  • People want to see themselves in your product – not just some sleezy sales video (sorry old timers)
  • Create relationships with past customers – have them send you photos of them enjoying the product & share
  • Look for unique shots of your product – share beautiful images with short info blurbs or a fun message
  • Share vlogs from consumers using your products (just make sure they aren’t plugging someone else in the video)
  • Consider your audience and what THEY want to see
  • Age of consumer = interested in different things, schedule posts targeting them at times they are on. Ex: Product demo for a “boomer” feature specific or Walk through with style – lifestyle in mind “millennial” minded
  • When you must get “salesy” keep it light. Price point ads get traffic, but beautiful photos/videos of products might get even more.

This information is intended to help you increase your traffic and be more successful in the social realm. These are things that I have learned and studied over the past 8 years. Remember that things are always changing, and you must change with the platforms to stay relevant and be successful. Work smarter, not harder. Maximize your organic reach and see how the success of organic posts will lower your dollar cost on paid ads. If you have content that you really want eyes on, spend money. Always keep in mind what you like to see on social platforms, what different generations like to see and how you need to build content to target different age groups and consumers. Good luck!