Social media has done wonders for small business owners, helping them spread their messages in front of hundreds, thousands, or (for the truly savvy marketers) millions, without spending a penny.
Social media needn’t be a full-time job, insists Heather Waits, co-owner of Bloomtastic in Columbus, Ohio, and a featured speaker at SAF Amelia Island 2015.
But, social media isn’t really “free,” because it can be awfully time consuming. (Who among us hasn’t lost hours of productivity clicking on BuzzFeed listicles or perusing friends’ photo albums on Facebook?) Even those with steely self-discipline aren’t immune: the sheer volume of channels — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr, WordPress, Google+, etc. — can make social media marketing feel like a full-time job.
It needn’t be, insists Heather Waits, co-owner of Bloomtastic in Columbus, Ohio, the founder of profitableweddings.com and a featured speaker at SAF Amelia Island 2015. In a recent blog post, she shares her strategies to cut social media marketing down to three hours a week — or less!
- Identify your goals: Your product can mean different things to different people. Prospective bridal clients will likely want to see a hefty collection of props, flower types and styles, while someone shopping for a hostess or “get well soon” gift may want fewer options and a little more guidance, such as a note that says, “ideal for a hospital bedside table.” Waits recommends brainstorming areas of your business you want to expand (prom, corporate, charities, etc.) and writing them down for a tangible reminder of the customers you should target on social media.
- Recognize your key channels: Explore the various types of social media and choose the ones you want “based on who your target market is and which channels they are on,” Waits said. Millennials (born 1980-1995) include Facebook’s first users, many of whom have remained loyal to the platform, while Generation Z (1996 to present day) has a strong presence on newer sites, such as Instagram. “You want to focus your efforts on one or two channels so you are not spread too thin,” Waits said.
- Create a content calendar: Waits doesn’t waste valuable work hours wondering what to post. At the beginning of each month, she prints out a blank calendar and assigns types of post for each day (think: inspirational quotes for “Motivational Monday,” bridal tips for “Wedding Wednesday,” etc.) “Create a calendar of what to post when and stick to it.”
- Schedule your posts: Automating posts is the easiest way to streamline your social media process, Waits said. She has one caveat though: “If you are using Facebook, steer clear of using multi-channel platform software, such as Hootsuite, as Facebook will recognize the source and penalize you by showing your post to less people,” she said. (Facebook allows you to schedule your posts directly on your shop’s fanpage.)
- Monitor, listen and engage: Track each post to see how many views, likes, shares and comments you received. “Be sure to respond to comments, so you are engaging the people,” she said. Pay attention to other florists’ pages to see what they’re posting and what kind of response they get from customers.
For more best practices, catch Waits Sept. 9-12 in Amelia Island, Fla., where she’ll share secrets for her bridal business success (a 90 percent booking rate and an average profit of 50 percent!) during SAF’s 131st annual convention.