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How to Create a Winning Content Strategy for your Small Business

How to Create a Winning Content Strategy for your Small Business

You have a brilliant business plan and dedicated clients on board who support you. But, how are you meant to boost the reach of your business beyond your initial client base? We have the answer for you. It’s content creation!

Creating content is a fun and rewarding way to increase your business’ reach. It helps validate you as a reliable source of information, one which prospective clients are more likely to buy from. It’s definitely worth your dedication!

Content strategies help you organise and optimise the content you produce. So, we can’t understand why 63% of businesses don’t have one. If you’re included in that statistic, this is the article for you!

Read on and we will explain exactly what a content strategy is and how to implement one perfect for your business.

Enjoy!

First of all, what is a content strategy?

As a small business owner, creating online content is a brilliant way to attract prospective clients. Your content could include;

  • Educative blog articles on subjects associated with your business.
  • Tips and tricks shared through social media posts.
  • Email newsletters keeping clients up to date on information to do with your company.

Offering up resources for free boosts the credibility of your business. It shows that you’re an expert in your field and that you want the best for your customer. If prospective clients see you as a reliable resource, they trust in you as a business owner and are more likely to use your service.

Creating content might sound like a lot of work. But, that’s where your content strategy comes in.

Content strategies help you organise the content you put out online. They span different platforms and give you a week by week plan of what to upload. Content strategies make your life easier as well as optimising what you upload, week on week.

Content strategy meeting

Brainstorm content ideas

Next, have a think about what content makes sense for your business. It’s a good idea to work in a team for this step. Bounce ideas off each other and see what you come up with!

Whilst brainstorming, ask yourself the following questions;

  • How can I be helpful to prospective clients?
  • What content will my clients want to see?
  • What draws clients to your business? Is there one, particular reason?
  • How can I make the most of my expertise to attract new clients?

Remember, your content doesn’t need to shout about your business in every paragraph. Putting content online is all about attracting prospective clients to your website or online profile. For example, if someone is looking for advice on social media management, they might search google with a query and end up here! Indirectly, we’ve lead people (or you in fact) to our website. You can do the same with your prospective clients!

You also need to consider what sort of media suits the content ideas you have. Blogs, videos, Q&As, image posts, quizzes – you have plenty of options to go at! Here’s a useful statistic for you. Nearly 6 million adults in the UK listen to a podcast every week. New media is worth thinking about. Get creative!

Now you’ve got some ideas together, it’s time to build them into a strategy.

Team brainstorming content strategy ideas

Your weekly view – investigate the best times to upload

The first step of your content strategy should be making a weekly plan. Organise your plan by day and by platform. For example, which days will you upload to Instagram? When will your blog post go up? Planning routine upload times makes it easier to stay organised.

It’s a good idea to calculate when is best to upload to different platforms. Take a look at this Sprout Social article. They compiled data from their 250,000 customers to work out when the highest engagement rates are on social media networks. From their data, we can see that around 10 am is the best time for engagement on Facebook. Whereas Twitter saw a spike at 9 am. Work these statistics into your strategy so that your content has the best reach possible.

Also, consider your clients specifically. If your business caters for young professionals, uploading content early, to catch them on their way to work, might be useful. Alternatively, if your primary clients are students, later on in the day might work better. Experiment with times and take note of when you’re getting the best engagement rates. Your strategies should be constantly changing and improving. So, don’t be afraid to stray from suggested upload times if you find they are working for your business.

Weekly plan for content strategy

Consider the differences between social platforms

When creating your content plan, consider which social platforms suit your content best.

We compared Instagram and Facebook in a previous Sole Source article. In general, it concluded that Instagram is better for engagement but certain demographics are higher on Facebook. Take a look at the article for more detail. It’s worth investigating platform trends before creating content for them.

The type of content you want to produce may also dictate which sites you use. For example, image-based content works better on Instagram as it’s a more visual platform. If you want to share links such as blog posts, Facebook is best as links are easy to share through status updates. There are many video upload options on Instagram. Though, Facebook is becoming increasingly popular for video sharing. How do your content ideas fit around the pros and cons of each platform?

However, don’t be afraid of repeating select parts of your content. Remind your followers of your most recent blog post in case someone missed it the first time! Repost a high-performing Instagram picture on Facebook to encourage people to follow you on both sites. See what works for you on your platforms and alter your content plan accordingly.

Choosing suitable platforms for content

Scheduling tools make content easier to organise

As soon as you have a plan, start scheduling your content!

Scheduling is easy with sites such as Later and Tailwind. Some platforms even have scheduling tools built into their software. This means that you can create your content ahead of time and the site will auto-upload it whenever you want it to.

Set time aside each week to sit down and take a look at your content plan. Write out all your Facebook updates at the same time. Have your Instagram posts ready to go! Have you completed your weekly blog post? Schedule that to upload at the optimal time you have decided on.

Once you have your content sorted, you can spend more time engaging with your audience! Talking to prospective clients about your content should be a key part of your content strategy. Reply to their comments. Be personal with them! Add even more custom value to their experience with your business.

Use analytics to keep track of which content is working

Most importantly, keep track of how popular your content is! Part of your content strategy is your weekly plan. But, make sure you’re thinking long term as well. Each month, it’s worth reevaluating and altering where you see fit.

Check out how much engagement your posts receive with analytics tools. If some are doing better than others, adjust your strategy to give prospective clients more of what they love. Being mindful of successful content is sure to improve the quality of what you’re putting out.

Additionally, make sure to note down trends. Some content might boost your follower count. Other posts might result in more website clicks. Keep track of these changes so that if you wish to replicate them in the future, you know how!

And that’s a winning content strategy! Just remember, content creation is a major way to drive traffic towards your business. Adapt your strategy as you go, experiment, and achieve success.

If you would like further information on content strategy, contact us today! Sole Source Digital is a Social Media Consultancy business. We specialise in boosting small businesses with brilliant social media plans and content strategies to give them the success they deserve.

We look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

How to Optimise the Appearance of your Business’ Instagram Profile

How to Optimise the Appearance of your Business’ Instagram Profile

No-one carries business cards anymore, and that’s down to one simple thing. Our real business cards are available to view online, from anywhere, and at any time. Yes, that’s right – our Instagram profiles!

Our online profiles have become the primary way we present ourselves to the world. They are easily accessible and should tell a prospective client everything they need to know about your business. Your Instagram profile is a brilliant place to cultivate your brand. Take the opportunity to show the world exactly what your business is about!

Nowadays, users spend an average of 53 minutes a day on Instagram. This is a huge chunk of time! And, considering that over 200 million Instagrammers visit at least one business account daily, they’re worth getting right.

Read this article and learn how to optimise Business’ Instagram Profile so it makes the best impression on prospective clients. By the time you’ve finished with it, your account will look professional and slick!

Let’s get started!

Convert your profile to an Instagram Business Profile

Before we get down to it, check that your profile is set to an Instagram Business profile. This is simple to do, free of charge, and means you get access to some special features. Follow this link for a step-by-step guide explaining how to convert your profile. But don’t worry, it’s super easy!

What are the benefits of having an Instagram Business profile? Firstly, you’ll be able to view your Insights. They give you access to information on how well your profile is performing. This includes;

  • The number of times each of your posts were seen.
  • How many times each of your posts were engaged with.
  • The number of profile visits you gained in the past week.
  • Once you have 100 followers, you will also be given information on your follower demographics.

Now you have access to all this data, you can understand which content is working with your following. This will help you out when it comes to content creation, which we will speak more about further on in this article.

Having an Instagram Business profile also means you can set up action buttons. For example, on Sole Source Digital’s Instagram, we provide the option to ‘Book’, ‘Call’, or ‘Email’. This makes it so easy for prospective clients to engage with your profile.

Convert your profile today. It’s invaluable!

Sole Source Digital's Instagram profile

Selecting your profile picture

Next, onto your profile picture. The little circle next to your name is the first thing prospective clients will look at. You need to make sure it’s a brilliant representation of your business.

You have a few options here. If your company has a logo, that’s a brilliant place to start. It will make people aware of your branding, so they can recognise the trademarks of your business. Logos also look very professional. So, they’re sure to validate your business’ reliability.

Alternatively, a photograph of the business owner (you!) is a lovely way to appear more personable. This is especially effective if you are a smaller company. Seeing a picture of person reminds clients that your service has a personal touch to it. You’re not a big corporation, but a human-led business! More than anything, a picture of yourself makes your business more approachable.

Whichever you go for, make sure the image is clear and eye-catching.

Person taking a photo for their Instagram profile

Writing your bio

Once a client has been drawn in by your profile picture, they’ll be taking a look at your bio. You need to make sure it’s short and snappy but contains all the relevant information a client needs to know. You only have 150 characters, so make every one of them count!

Below, we’ve listed some of those key bits of information you should be including in your bio.

  • The benefits of following your account! It can be tempting to only write what sort of business you are. But really, this should be obvious from the content you upload. Instead, it’s more effective to tell prospective clients what they’ll get out of interacting with your business.
  • Include a call to action in your bio. This could be anything from ‘check out our website’ to ‘give us a follow.’ Be direct and get user’s attention!
  • Create a hashtag for your business so clients can tag you in related content they upload. Hashtags unify your branding, creating an atmosphere around your business. They encourage clients to get involved and be part of your exciting company.
  • Include your location if clients need to know where you are to use your service.
  • Create a Linktree. This means you can include multiple important links in your bio, rather than just one. For example, your Linktree could include your website, Facebook page, blog and online booking system. They are easy to set up and ensure that your Instagram acts as a portal to all your other online platforms.

Just remember – make sure your bio has some personality! It may only be 150 characters, but you can say a lot with the right choice of words.

Person writing a bio for their Instagram profile

Creating Story Highlights

Next up, we have Story Highlights.

Story Highlights are one of Instagram’s newer features. They’re always visible at the top of your profile and give an overview of what your business is about. They’re made up of selected Instagram Stories that you can store together in groups. For example, on Sole Source’s Instagram page, we have Highlights for BTS footage, shoots, and one for further information on the services we offer.

What do you notice about these categories? Some are formal, and others informal. As they are Stories, it’s brilliant if some of your Highlights have a behind-the-scenes feel. It’s your chance to show that there are real people behind your business. Equally, we also included our more serious ‘services’ category. Here, clients have access to straight forward information about our business.

Also, notice that we created thumbnail images for each Highlight to make them look slick. These are really easy to make on sites like Canva. They could feature text or a little illustration, whatever suits your brand best. Again, this is all about making your profile as clean and easy to understand as possible. The message should be clear – you mean business!

We spoke about Highlights in our Instagram Video Marketing article. So, go and take a look if you’d like any further information.

Person taking a video to add to the Story Highlights on their Instagram Profile.

Optimising your content

Finally, your content needs to look clean for anyone finding your account for the first time.

When we stumble upon new Instagram profiles, we don’t normally click on individual images. More likely, a user will quickly scroll up and down, getting an overview of the content. So, make sure your images work well together, as well as standing alone beautifully.

A brilliant way to do this is by planning out your content. This means coming up with a well-thought-out order that you post pictures in. For example, you could alternate between image and text-based uploads. Small changes such as this stop your feed from being overwhelming to look at. It’s important to strike the right balance and work out what looks best.

Also, take a look at your content from an outsider’s perspective. Do your six, most recent uploads sum up what your business is all about? Are you happy with those images representing you and your company? It’s important to ask yourself these questions every time you upload so that you maintain a high-quality feed.

Tune back in next week as we will be giving you a whole article devoted to content planning!

That’s it. Our guide to optimising your Instagram Profile has come to an end! Enjoy making the most out of your online presence.

If you would like any further guidance, why not book our one-on-one Instagram Consultation Call? Or, if you have any questions for us, just shoot an email our way at hello@solesourcedigital.com. We’re here for all your social media management queries, so get in contact today!

 

Instagram Geotags and Hashtags: How to Engage your Local Following

Instagram Geotags and Hashtags: How to Engage your Local Following

The first step to success for any small business is engaging with your local following. Instagram makes it easy to connect with those around you. Geotags ensure that your content is reaching the right people – those close-by who are most likely to use your service. They also increase your discoverability. Soon, you’ll build a body of local patrons who openly support your business on Instagram.

To add, posts using geotags result in 79% more engagement than those that don’t. More likes on your content make prospective clients trust your service more too. It’s a win-win.

This article is split into two sections. Firstly, we will run through how to use Instagram’s geotag and hashtag features, both on feed posts and Stories. Then, we’ll delve into how tagging your location helps you engage with your local following.

Enjoy the article and strengthen your relationships with prospective clients around you!

 

A practical guide to geotags and hashtags

Here’s the how-to guide, explaining exactly how to use Instagram’s location tools.

 

Feed Posts

Adding geotags to your feed content is simple. While you’re uploading a photo or video, Instagram allows you to add a location. This option comes after you have selected and edited your content, just before pressing ‘Share’.

When you arrive on this screen, click ‘Add location’ and Instagram will take you to a list of nearby places. You can either choose a location from the list or search for one. The location will be displayed above your content. Your photo or video will also be visible when people search for that location.

It’s also popular to hashtag your location. To do this, type the hashtag symbol ‘#’ into the ‘Write a caption…’ box. Follow it with the name of the place your post was taken in. Then, if someone searches for that hashtag, your content will be visible.

Screenshot of 'new post' on Instagram, how to geotag and hashtag to engage your local following

Instagram Stories

When you share a picture or video on your Instagram Story, it’s possible to overlay Instagram stickers.

We spoke about stickers in detail in our Video Marketing on Instagram article. There are lots of options, including geotags and hashtags. They work in a very similar way to feed posts.

Click on the ‘Location’ sticker and Instagram will take you to a list of places near-by you can tag. Or, you can search for your location. This will then be visible on your Story and will be added to the location’s Story as well.

When you click on the ‘Hashtag’ sticker, a hashtag box appears on your screen and you can type in whatever you want. Again, once tagged, your Story will be added to the Story of that hashtag.

Screenshot of Stories stickers on Instagram, how to geotag and hashtag to engage your local following

How to create a geotag for your own business

Make sure your business has its own geotag! To do this, you need to use your Facebook account.

On your business’ Facebook page, click ‘Edit page info.’ Add your business’ address is listed under the ‘location’ section. Next, update your Facebook status with a ‘check-in’ at your address. This creates a geotag on Facebook which will also be visible on Instagram. Now, when users location search your company on Instagram, they will be lead to your page.

How to use Instagram’s location tools to your advantage

There are so many ways you can use Instagram’s location tools. In this next part of the article, you’ll find tips that will help you engage with your local following.

 

Tagging your content

Now that you have a geotag set up for your company, you can start tagging your posts. Remember what we said in the introduction – posts with a geotag receive 79% more engagement than those without. So, get in the habit of including your location.

On a practical level, geotags give new followers information about your company straight away. If someone new to your business sees a geotag, they can quickly work out how far away they are from your business. Also, once they have clicked on the geotag, they can choose to ‘View information’. This takes them to a page listing basic information about your company. If you fit the bill, you may have acquired a new client.

To infiltrate the local area, start producing content on-the-go. This works particularly well with Instagram Stories. If you upload a story and tag ‘Manchester’, your Story will be included in Manchester’s Story. Just think about how much more discoverable you become!

Meeting at your business' offices

Encourage clients to share their content with your geotag or hashtag

Discoverability is everything. To further push your business out to more people, encourage clients to use your geotag. Suggest that they share a post after a positive experience with you. If your business has a public-facing premise, display your Instagram details. In general, people are happy to support businesses they like, especially if they are starting up. Their post will spread information about your business to their followers. It also means that when anyone else searches for you, they’ll find lots of positive posts about you. There’s nothing better than word of mouth!

You can stay on top of client’s experiences by checking your location and hashtag results. Take this opportunity to engage with clients. Like their post and write a comment, thanking them for using your service. This makes their experience feel more personal. You can even repost their content on your Instagram story. Make sure to tag them so you aren’t stealing and so they know you appreciate them. Reposting is easy content for you to create and is seriously effective.

Local influencer marketing

To push your marketing a little further, get involved with local influencers. 93% of influencer marketing campaigns happen on Instagram. So, you are in the perfect place.

Search the general location of your business on Instagram and take a look at the ‘Top’ posts. This is the content which has received the most likes in your area. Look for people who have large followings and who you imagine would use your service. Think about getting in touch. Direct message them on Instagram or take a look at their bio for alternative contact methods. Would they like to sample your service and feature it on their Instagram?

This sort of marketing does pay off. A recent study found that 82% of respondents were highly likely to follow a micro-influencer’s recommendation. It’s always good to have people on side, so find out if a local influencer wants to support your business!

Local Instagram influencer sat at laptop

That’s all you need to know! Get your business recognised on Instagram and reach out across your local area.

At Sole Source Digital, we offer a range of social media management services, including services specific to Instagram. Get in touch with us today!

Instagram Vs. Facebook: Which Social Media is Best for Your Small Business?

Instagram Vs. Facebook: Which Social Media is Best for Your Small Business?

The success of your business relies on building your prospective client’s trust. A brilliant way to show what a consumer can expect from your business is through your social media channels. But, which platform is best suited to you and your consumer?

In this article, we compare Instagram and Facebook to help you make smarter social media choices.

1. Platform Traffic

As you may expect, Facebook continues to drive the most traffic out of any social network. A staggering 62% of the world’s adult population use Facebook. Its reach is unrivalled! In comparison, only 24% of adults use Instagram. Despite the difference in numbers, higher traffic doesn’t necessarily equate to boosted sales.

Let’s dive into what other factors are at play…

 

2. Algorithms

A social media algorithm dictates who sees your content and how highly it’s ranked on a user’s feed. Across different platforms, algorithms perform differently. It’s important to understand the distinctions to increase the reach of your content.

Likes fuel Instagram; posts with the most ‘hearts’ are shown to more people. Thanks to the Instagram ‘Explore’ page, content related to posts a user has already viewed is easy to find. Instagram has an unbiased approach to business-related accounts. As long as your company’s profile is receiving likes, users will be able to find it.

However, Facebook is a different story. In January 2018, Mark Zuckerberg announced some major changes to Facebook’s algorithm. The platform altered its focus. ‘Meaningful social interactions’ became their top priority. Posts from businesses and brands were marked as less important. Despite this, Facebook can still be an effective marketing tool. It only means that interactions with your consumer also have to be more meaningful. Encouraging your prospective client to engage with your profile is a great way to do this, which leads us onto the next topic of this article.

 

3. Engagement

Engagement is vital for building solid relationships with potential customers. The last thing you want is users aimlessly flicking through social media content. Instead, make them want to stop, watch your video, like a post; anything to make your brand memorable to them.

Engagement rates differ dramatically between platforms. Sprout Social compiled a study on over 3 million social media interactions. They found that Facebook has an engagement rate of only 0.1%. On the other hand, Instagram’s rate was 58 times this at 4.21%. But, why is Instagram receiving so many more likes?

Instagram has many features which make engagement easy. As well as Stories, Instagram has recently developed IGTV. Videos related to a user’s preferences auto-play back-to-back. If a user is engaging with profiles like yours, the algorithm may select your content to play next. If you haven’t experimented with video yet, now is the time to start! It’s so easy for a user to double-tap a post, confirming that they are on board with what your business has to offer.

Facebook also has its fair share of tools to boost engagement. You need to work out if they’re suitable for your business. Does your business host events? Events pages which users can click ‘attending’ to help spread the word through friendship groups. If your business has a blog, you can share your articles in status updates. This encourages prospective clients to click on your business’ profile. Be smart and Facebook helps you engage too.

 

4. Platform Demographic

Finally, it is useful to consider which social media platform your consumer is most likely to use. For example, if your client tends to be older, they are less likely to have an Instagram account. With teen presence on Facebook dwindling, other platforms prove more useful to reach a younger audience. There are definite trends in who has profiles where; including gender, level of education and income. Knowing about these differences can help you make smarter social media choices. Take a look at these statistics compiled by the Pew Research Centre.

 

 

With this information, you can build a social strategy perfect for your business. For further queries, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of the Sole Source Digital team. Email us at hello@solesourcedigital.com for a free social media review. Alternatively, take a look at our ‘Services’ page and find out about what we offer.

Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

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