Managing Social Media for your Small Business

Managing Instagram Learning Account Moderation and Community Engagement

I’ve been helping business owners with their social media for 8 years and even though the internet is filled with helpful tutorials and apps that make you more efficient, the top complaint I hear from business owners is how overwhelmed they feel by the amount of time required to manage their social media.

Some businesses can’t avoid having social media be a full time job (or a job big enough for an entire team of people), but generally a small business owner or entrepreneur should be able to not only manage their social media effectively on their own—-but be able to manage a successful account that is growing and bringing in business.

In order to be more efficient with the time you have to dedicate to social media, you really need to start by understanding what it means to successfully manage an account and what is required to have an account that is actually working for you. I often see businesses who are creating beautiful content and writing amazing captions, but are frustrated that all the time and money they are investing in a beautiful feed isn’t being returned in sales or clients.

On my first sit-down or call with any potential client I explain Account Moderation and Community Engagement. These are two distinctly different aspects of any social media account, and you need to be making time to do both!

Account Management: the basic maintenance involved in keeping your account active and up-to-date! Creating posts, writing captions, posting, responding to comments, answering messages in your inbox, and interacting on tagged photos of you.

Community Engagement: the part that makes these platforms “social” media! You need to not only share content and information as a creator, but you need to get out there and be active as a consumer, too. Community Engagement requires you to set aside time to log in and interact in various ways within different areas: with the people you are following, on posts within industry hashtags that you are using, on posts within industry hashtags that your customers are using, watching and responding to stories and perhaps interacting on posts within your geographic area or with specific location tags that pertain to your business.

To help you further grasp this concept here is an example:

I recently did a short-term project with a baby brand who was focusing their marketing efforts on new mothers and pregnant women. It was important that their account was posting 1-2 times per day, that the images were beautiful, the information was valuable, and that overall their account lined up with the marketing plan in place to sell their product (that is all Account Management). However, it was also important they they set aside time each week to go into their community and interact with new moms, pregnant women, and other accounts that are popular within their community. As an account manager it was my job to set aside time each week to look for new posts under hashtags that their ideal customers were likely using. Examples would be hashtags such as #BabyBump #20weeks #MomswithCameras #MomtoBe and #Nesting. We’d give the images a quick like and leave an uplifting comment about motherhood and parenting (that is an example of the Community Engagement aspect). Additional examples would be following new accounts (while also giving them quick likes/comments), and interacting on posts from popular parenting/motherhood instagram accounts, magazines or blogs (likes, comments, liking comments).

Managing your account with beautiful images, witty captions and well-researched hashtags will do a lot to get your information in front of people and increase interaction on your individual posts, but Community Engagement is what adds authenticity to your account and helps create a relationship between you and your audience. If you can find a balance with both aspects, you’ll start to feel like the time you are spending on one is paying off in the other, and soon you’ll start to feel more positively about the time and money you are investing in social media for your business.

Next week I’ll share a tip and free printable for planning ahead and scheduling time for both of these. Please follow The Mint Academy to stay in the loop about my online class, launching soon!

Looking for more of my posts about social media? Here are some popular ones:
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Learning to Master iPhone Photography (eBook)
Managing Instagram: Learn the Basics
6 Tips for Small Businesses on Instagram
How to Automate your Instagram Posts to a Specific Facebook Album 
Understanding Instagram Changes (May 2016)
Understanding Instagram Changes (March 2016)

 

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