Whether you’re just diving into the social media landscape or looking to revamp existing channels, a solid social media strategy takes a lot of work! Being honest with your bandwidth, resources, and time will help you create a consistent social media plan that works for your day-to-day workload. Social media is not a one-hit wonder. It takes time management to create meaningful, engaging content while interacting with your social community.
Each social media channel (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) needs a different strategy for success—make sure you know what you’re getting into! Don’t join Twitter unless you have a dedicated plan to consistently post and keep up with trending topics. Don’t join Instagram if you don’t think you’ll be able to take visually engaging photos and videos. Sit down, evaluate how your shop can best use social media, and create a plan for success with these six helpful tips.
1. Define your voice and tone.
Connecting with your community in a consistent voice will help build your brand’s physical and online presence, ultimately creating brand affinity. Ask yourself the following questions to help establish a tone of voice that will best resonate with your target audience:
- What’s your store’s story?
- Why did you want to open a homebrew store?
- What types of customers are you trying to attract, and how do you want to interact with them?
- What common threads can help you nail down some keywords?
2. Create and regularly review your social media plan.
The key to a great social media plan is consistency and adaptability. This can be a daunting task, but the following tips can help keep on top of it:
- Enlist your employees in monthly brainstorming sessions on potential content.
- Map out holidays, sales, events, special appearances, etc.
- Divide and conquer: task your employees with defined, rotating social media duties. Slow day at the store? Use that time to create multiple content assets for busier days down the road.
- Interact with other businesses: are there other small businesses around you? Do you know what they do, and do they know what you do? Offer an open house, pairing event, etc., to encourage customers and collaboration from outside your immediate “brewniverse.”
3. Utilize your owned social channels.
Your “owned” channels are the social media platforms that you have committed to posting to. Make sure to use the free tools they offer, like Facebook Events or Instagram Stories.
Facebook Events & Special Features
Are you offering specialized classes? Do you want to boost attendance at a weekly meeting? Are you celebrating a holiday, birthday, or sale that you want to tell the world about? Use Facebook Events to promote your business to local consumers and to individuals who have liked your page.
Creating polls, surveys, photos, videos, etc. are other simple yet effective ways to engage with your audience on Facebook.
With more than 100 million users on Instagram, you need to be Instagramming (if it’s in your marketing plan)!
Instagram Stories offer a great way to tell a story about your homebrew shop, your event this weekend, etc. This fun, interactive medium gives your small business the perfect way to set itself apart from the rest. For more, check out this great article for 13 Hidden Instagram Story Hacks.
4. Take lots of good pictures and videos that actively encourage your community to engage.
With smartphones, everyone has the ability to take great pictures and contribute visual content to your social media accounts. Here are some tips to generate captivating and engaging videos and images:
- Keep it simple: Envision your picture before you take the shot. What will make this subject stick out? Keep the background clear. When photographing objects (think beer, not people), what would the photo look like from the top down? Looking up?
- Get close: Get physically close to the subject. Seek out natural light and avoid using a flash. Do you know what features your phone offers (e.g. Portrait Mode for iPhones)?
- Interact: Introduce yourself and explain what you’re doing. “Hey, I’m Joe, owner of Homebrew Store A. I’m looking to snap a good picture to share on our Instagram. Do you have time for a quick photo?” Take multiple photos and pick the best photo later. Ask for details: they make for great captions. Get beer nerdy!
- Captivate: What would you like to see on your social channels? Fresh ingredients? First-time homebrewers? Your store’s story? Ask yourself, “Would I interact with this picture or video if it showed up on my timeline?” Get action behind the scenes (New malt delivery? New equipment being set up in the store?)
5. Life’s busy. Use these FREE social media management tools to stay on top.
There are native and third party tools available for planning and scheduling automated social media posts. This makes consistent posting much easier in a busy day-to-day environment. Here are some ideas to get started:
- Hootsuite integrated social media management tool
- Facebook and Twitter’s native scheduling tools
- Social media editorial calendar to help you plan content each month (check out this free template to get you started)
6. Analyze and adapt.
Take 20 to 30 minutes at the end of each month and see what worked for your channels. Were there any posts that blew the rest out of the water? What performed better: pics of people or photos of fresh ingredients? Start to take notes and adapt from month to month, adding in more of the successful content.
If you feel like you’re too thinly spread across different channels, consider focusing on higher-performing channels.
This is just the beginning! Don’t let the thought of social media bog you down. Instead, sit down, craft your manageable plan, get your employees involved, and kick things off! Let us know how these tips help you navigate your shop’s social media plan, and send us any questions you have.