If you’ve built up an audience on your social media channels, worked hard to get your existing customers to follow you on Facebook, and perhaps attracted a group of potential customers who haven’t yet been in to the store, it’s important to keep a regular schedule of content planned.
Facebook has functionality built in to allow posts to be scheduled for delivery at a later time or date – this is a really important feature and will help you to allocate set times in your week where you focus on content and get it all planned. You can still hop on ad-hoc to check on things or reply to comments but it means you aren’t tied to Facebook 5 times a day. It also means you can make sure your content is delivered at the most appropriate time for your customers. (Facebook insights will tell you lots about your ‘fans’, and this information includes their activity patterns and what time of day the highest portion of them will be online). Other social media channels don’t yet have the scheduling function, but if you are using Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus or other services, you can use planning tools like HootSuite to schedule and coordinate across multiple channels.
There are different types of content that you can share as a business, and they work on a scale of pushiness. At one end you’ve got a special offer or promotion for a particular product or service on offer, and right at the other end you’ve got comedy or opinion based content that has no relevance to your business at all. An example of this might be a shoe repair business sharing a cat video.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t share the occasional cat video. The key here is balance. There isn’t a definitive textbook answer on how to vary your content, but again, Facebook insights will tell you lots about what is working for you and what isn’t.
We discourage sharing anything of an adult nature (unless it is super-relevant to your particular business) and unless you want to alienate potential customers it’s best to steer clear of anything religious or political, and if your posts do touch on these subjects, remain on the fence wherever possible and post facts, not opinions. Basically anything that is likely to divide your audience is risky ground, but if done carefully it can work if your fans engage in peaceful and respectful debate (a rare occurrence on the internet).
Spend a bit of time looking at the profiles of similar businesses to get an idea of what works well. Look at the likes, shares and comments of their content and you'll soon see what makes a successful post.
Follow your suppliers' pages. Check that they’re happy for you to use their content as your own, and if so you can save images, copy the text and post the articles yourself (with a reference to them for the source) rather than just sharing their posts.
Search Google for facts and quotes relevant to your industry. Look for infographics that are applicable to your business or your customers.
Keep it visual. A picture tells a thousand words and a video is a thousand pictures! Use images and short videos to let your customers see what it’s like inside your store, what’s being sampled or what’s on offer today and friendly faces waiting to greet them on their next visit. Keep your videos landscape orientation wherever possible.
Create theatre in your store and use Facebook live to get an instant audience. Maybe you offer a product or service that words and pictures simply can’t capture or explain fully – go live and present it to the world! Don’t worry about high production quality or investing in top-of-the-range cameras, most recent iPhones or other smartphones will be up to the task.
Invite opinion and discussion. Find two competitive products in the store and ask your customers which they prefer and why. Facebook and Twitter have options for polls so you can record the results easily.
Competitions. Although we do not generally recommend ‘like and share’ competitions (They often only result in diluting your fan base with serial competition entrants who are never likely to visit your store), occasionally they won’t hurt, and if you stipulate that the prize MUST be collected from the store, this will help with your chances of keeping it local. Other competitions that might help a local business include inviting the fans to send images of them in your store or using your products / services.