Tag Archives: social media

Stay in Touch with Facebook Fans when You’re Crunched for Time

As a small business owner, do you often find yourself crunched for time? Are you wondering how you’ll ever maintain a consistent posting schedule on Facebook? Well good news is here! Simply schedule your posts on Facebook for up to months in advance! It just takes 15 to 30 minutes to schedule several posts, keeping you in touch with your customers.

How to Schedule Facebook Posts

How to Schedule Facebook Post
Write your status update as you normally would on Facebook, adding a photo or link if desired. Then, click on the clock icon in the lower left. Choose the current year from the drop down menu. Once you do this, a new drop down box will appear allowing you to select the month you want the post to appear. After choosing the month, you’ll then be able to accept the hour and the minute. Minutes are offered in 10 minute increments. You don’t have to choose a minute option if you don’t want to. Once you’ve chosen the correct date and time for your post, click the Schedule button. It’s that easy!

Editing a Scheduled Post

How to Edit Scheduled Facebook Post

If you decide you want to delete or change a scheduled post, you simply need to access your Activity Log. At the top of your page, click on the Edit Page menu and then choose Activity Log. You’ll then be taken to your list of scheduled posts. To the right of each post is a small drop down arrow. Click on that and then choose to Change Time, Publish Now, or even Delete Post depending on what you want to do.

How to Change a Scheduled Facebook Post

Scheduling posts on Facebook allows you to line up your posts for the next day, or even the next week (or month for that matter). Simply take some time in the evening or on the weekend when you’re not working and line up several posts. Be sure to check on your page a couple times to respond to any questions or comments that your fans might have posted. You’ll save a lot of time by scheduling posts in advance and it’s reassuring to know your Facebook page is working for you even when you’re unplugged.

Do You Have a Social Media Strategy?

I know what you’re thinking. You don’t want to think about a social media strategy. You want it to just happen. You’re hoping a social strategy just means posting some stuff on Facebook, pinning photos on Pinterest, and writing 140-character tweets on Twitter. You don’t really want to take time to think it through. After all, social media is supposed to be fun, right?

strategy definition

What if I told you that you don’t need a social media strategy? I want to share a concept with you that I just read about this morning. It’s a thought that has been floating in my head for quite some time now; I’ve just never heard anyone verbalize it … until now.

Jason Falls Quote

Simply put, your social strategy should walk in lock-step with your business strategy. This approach should actually make social media easier for you to execute. Hopefully you do have a business strategy and your social media campaign will simply echo that strategy. Once you have your business strategy in place, simply determine what social media outlets you’ll use to “socialize your business.”

You might find you have different audiences in certain social networks. For example, Aquascape’s Facebook audience is primarily consumers. On Twitter however, our audience gravitates more toward the wholesale market. The information we share on each is slightly different and is packaged in an appropriate message, but all content is aligned with our overall business strategy.

As we move through 2013, be sure to plan an effective strategy to help your business succeed and make sure you employ specific tactics to execute for reaching your goals. Then socialize your business through a variety of social networks best suited for your target market.

Are You a Good Social Listener?

Most of you understand the importance of marketing your business on social media sites, but have you stopped to consider if you’re a good social listener?  Are you watching what people say on your Facebook page? Do you ever read conversations on other Facebook pages … specifically the pages of businesses in your industry? Have you ever taken time to conduct a Twitter search on a topic relevant to your business? Do you ever look to see what topics are trending on Google+ and other social sites? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you’re on your way to becoming a good social listener.

You might think it’s more important to market your business than to listen to social conversations, so let me give you a couple examples how social listening can benefit you.

Solis Quote

Awhile ago I was curious how many people were talking about rainwater harvesting on Twitter. Specifically, I wanted to learn if rain barrels were a relevant and trending topic in regards to water conservation. In Twitter’s search box I typed the words “rain barrel” and found quite a few individuals were talking about it. One particular person stood out from the crowd … an editor for Hort magazine tweeted a request for a rain barrel product to include in the magazine. I immediately emailed a couple photos and a product description of Aquascape’s RainXchange® rain barrel to the editor and she included it in their publication.

Another example of effective social listening pertains to Hometalk, the up-and-coming home-related site for contractors and the DIY crowd. I looked through the site and then hopped over to their Facebook page. That’s where I noticed a pond photo they had shared was getting a lot of positive feedback. The photo was from a project that a homeowner posted on their website and people were lovin’ it … giving it a lot of Likes and Comments on Facebook. I also noticed that the pond was a preformed pond with plastic waterfalls. Not very natural looking. I realized that if people loved that water feature, they would love Aquascape’s water features even more (not meaning to be egotistical, but Aquascape does pride itself on creating very natural-looking water features).

After listening to all the conversation surrounding that preformed pond, I posted several pond photos on Hometalk’s site and was rewarded with immense social activity. Hometalk shared several of our pond photos on their Facebook page, which greatly increased our exposure on both Facebook and Hometalk. I’m happy to say that our website received more referrals from Hometalk than it did from either Twitter or Facebook for the next 2 months! I’m confident this trend will continue.

Social listening is critical to your success on social sites. You don’t want to be viewed as merely a broadcaster. Listen to what your customers are saying and answer their questions. Also take note of what potential customers are saying on other sites and then optimize your presence on those sites to gain additional exposure. You’ll find it’s time well spent!

Why You Should Change Your Facebook Cover Photo

Most of you Facebook users are familiar with changing your profile picture and you swap it out when you want to express something new about yourself. But what about your business page’s cover photo? Have you changed it since Facebook rolled out its new timeline?

The cover photo on Facebook is like the header photo on your website. It’s the first thing people see when they come to your page and says a lot about you and your business. In fact, it’s the first step toward marketing your business on Facebook.

When choosing your cover photo, think about the message you want to send. Since the page I manage is all about water gardening, I want to showcase the beauty of a water feature in the landscape, and I want that photo to draw the person in and inspire them to add a pond, waterfall, or fountain to their own landscape.

Once you choose your cover photo, make sure that your profile picture complements it since they are shown together at the top of your Facebook timeline. Here’s an example of a creative cover/profile picture combination:

Pretzel Crisp Facebook Cover

To add interest to your Facebook page, update your cover photo from time to time. You could choose to go with seasonal themes, swapping out a summery pond photo for a colorful autumn pond photo. In the winter, a snowy scene works well since it shows your customers the beauty of a waterfall with ice formations. If you don’t have winter photos, try an evening photo of a pond with night lighting that sets a serene scene during the shortened days of winter.

Facebook cover photos are 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels tall. But if you’re clueless when it comes to editing photos, Facebook makes it easier by giving you the opportunity to drag and reposition your cover photo after you upload it.

Aquascape Inc on Facebook

You can also add text to your photos before uploading them, however, Facebook has some restrictions on what type of text you can add. For example, you can’t promote a sale with your cover photo, but you can add a quote or similar.

For more information, read Facebook’s guidelines on cover photos.

Use Facebook to Create a Vision of Life

Aquascape WaterfallRecently I heard someone mention that businesses should use Facebook to create a vision of life for their customers. I couldn’t agree more! Create an experience with your Facebook page and you’ll be far more successful than if you’re simply peddling your wares.

I cringe every time I see a business post something like, “Need a good plumber? Call Joe at blah blah blah.” Before I call Joe, he better give me a good reason for calling him. For example, has Joe spent time on his Facebook page providing helpful plumbing reminders like turning off the outdoor water spigot before winter rolls around? Is Joe answering questions on his Facebook page that customers are posting? Has Joe shared a photo of an oversized tub filled with bubbles surrounded by candles? Something that inspires me to upgrade my bathroom?

Take a look at your own Facebook page. A critical look. Are you creating a vision of life for your customers on your page? Are you showing photos that draw them in and make them want to be a part of that photo? Do you provide tips and knowledge to improve the quality of their life? Or are you simply broadcasting why they should tell all their friends about you?

Make sure you’re providing value and having authentic conversations on Facebook. For example, if someone complains about algae in their pond, provide feedback on why they might be having that problem as opposed to saying, “call me and I’ll fix it for you.” Once you provide them with knowledge and insight, they’ll grow to trust you. And once you have their trust, you’ll likely have their business, as well.

 

Aquascape Fish PondPond builders and retailers have the ideal opportunity for creating a vision of life for customers. Photos of children playing in a waterfall, families dining on their patio by the pond, butterflies and frogs visiting a water feature, the family dog sticking his nose in the pond to play with the koi … all of these images create a vision of enjoyment and relaxation for your customers.

On occasion, it’s okay to promote your business, just don’t let it hog the conversation. Follow a 70/30 rule of thumb for your Facebook posts. 70% of your posts should create a vision of life … the other 30% can be promotional. If you keep in mind that Facebook is a community site where people connect and share life, you’ll find you have greater success.

How to Email Photos and Status Updates to your Facebook Page

Busy work days can make it challenging to check into Facebook and post a photo or status update. You know it’s important to be active on Facebook, but how do you find the time to participate … especially if most of your work is done outside of an office setting?

Facebook provides an email tool to make it easy to create status updates and upload photos to your page using a mobile device. Here’s how to get your unique email address for sending photos and status updates to your page:

  1. Log onto your business page on Facebook. From the Admin Panel’s “Edit Page” menu options, choose “Manage Permissions.”
  2. Once the new page loads, you can then choose “Mobile” from the list of options on the left-hand side of the page.
  3. Facebook provides 3 options for accessing your business page using a mobile device. The first one shows an email address. Save the email address to your phone’s contact. You can give it a contact name like “Facebook Fan Page” or similar. Once you’ve saved this email address, you can start using it.

To post a status update using the email address, simply open your email on your mobile device and choose the Facebook address as the recipient. In the subject line of the email, write your status update and then click “send.” It’s important to remember that you must type the info in the subject line of the email and not in the body of the email.

To post a photo using the email address, choose a photo from your mobile device to send. Once again, use the subject line of the email to write the caption … do not put the caption in the body of the email or it won’t show up on your page. Choose your Facebook page’s email address as the recipient and then click “send.”

You could, of course, simply log onto your Facebook page using the Facebook app for your mobile device and post status updates or photos. However, I’ve noticed that when posting photos to your page from a mobile device, there seems to be an annoying rate of “Update Failed” occurrences. Facebook’s mobile email option simply gives you another option for posting updates and it appears to be more reliable, as well.

Visiting Aquascape Marketing on Facebook for more helpful tips.

Using Social Media to Dispel Myths and Fears about Ponds and Water Features

Many of you understand the importance of promoting your business via social outlets, but are you aware that social media can help you conquer homeowners’ objections to water features before you even go on a design consultation?

Today’s consumers are conducting more online research before they commit to buy a product or service. The internet has  made it fast and easy to comparison shop before any money leaves your customer’s wallet. A quick Google search  provides a wealth of product information within just minutes, from pricing to consumer reviews and more.

Do you know what your customers are saying about your products and services? Are you talking to potential customers online, much as you would over the phone or face-to-face?

Many folks who desire a water feature have concerns that you need to overcome before they’re willing to take the plunge. They worry about mosquitos. They wonder if it’s okay to keep the fish out in the pond all winter long. They’re concerned their pond will become an ugly algae monster. You should use social media outlets to dispel pond myths and overcome objections so your potential customer a) is not afraid to make the purchase and b) trusts you as a source of reliable information.

Hometalk

Case in point … at the end of June I posted a “Small Water Gardens” photo album on Hometalk and started receiving several questions about the beautiful ponds. The first question asked whether the fish would freeze during the winter. The next question asked whether a pond should be located in sun or shade, or a little of both.

And then there was Judy B who was craving a pond but had a relative trying to talk her out of it. Her cousin had a pond that was a maintenance nightmare (obviously not built properly) and he didn’t want Judy to suffer the same tragedy. I mentioned she might want to start with a Pondless® Waterfall, and then after gaining confidence, she could always add the pond at a later date. She was thrilled with this notion, having never heard of installing a waterfall without a pond.

Aquascape on PinterestAnother example of dispelling fears occurred on Pinterest. I had pinned a photo of a Pondless® Waterfall paired with our RainXchange® rainwater harvesting system. Debra asked if the waterfall experienced any rainwater washouts and I was able to ensure her that the RainXchange® is actually designed to help manage stormwater runoff.

Questions are also posted frequently on our Facebook page frequently, from potential current pond owners alike. Answering each person’s question not only gives you the opportunity to designate yourself as an authority on ponds and water features, but it also provides invaluable opportunity to present yourself as someone who provides attentive service and concern for customers.

Be sure that while you’re posting photos of your beautiful water features and linking to your website, that you’re also paying attention to what current and potential customers are saying. Respond to their questions and comments in a timely fashion (within 24 hours is best) and they’ll grow to trust and like you. And when they’re finally ready to get their feet wet with a pond or waterfall, you’ll be the first person who comes to mind.