You may have noticed that one component of The Social Larsons is a tab called Main Street Social. This is where we share topics that relate to small business and social media. We plan to use this as a venue to feature tons of great tips and strategies for small businesses to build their following and engage their customers on social media. BUT FIRST, we’re talking about what you can do as a customer to optimize your social relationship with your favorite small businesses and organizations.
As former shop owners we can attest to hearing the customer feedback, “but I didn’t see your event on Facebook, so I missed it!” With Instagram moving toward a similar algorithm based feed as Facebook, it’s important to note how you can empower yourself to stay connected as a customer & patron. Let’s start by saying…in reference to the latest hubbub on Instagram, DO NOT turn on post notifications for businesses you follow. If you are a small business, don’t ask your followers to do this. As a customer, this is only going to irritate you in the long run. You will be getting pop-up notifications on your device every single time that business posts. As a savvy small business, you need to recognize that this was an inevitable change to Instagram. Don’t ask your customers to do something they will eventually resent you for. Should this transition cause you to freak out? Maybe a little. Should you create a strategy and keep up the good fight in hopes that your customers will stay on your radar because of their organic interest in your content? Yes. Here’s why.
As consumers, we should appreciate the Facebook (and now Instagram) algorithm. These companies work hard to make sure that you see the post that are most relevant to you, thus leaving you satisfied and not bored with reams of meaningless content. Jennifer Golbeck gave an excellent talk about how we as consumers of social media should be more involved in our consumption by engaging in the companies that we like.
Here are three ways that you can tailor your social media feed(s) and not miss out on all the goodness being shared by your local small businesses (so long as they are optimizing their social media platforms…more to come on that later).
One of the first things that we tell small businesses about social media is that they need to be engaging. Well, as a consumer you need put forth similar effort. When you see your favorite small businesses post, like/comment/share the heck out of it. By doing this, you will see more from these businesses in your feed. Facebook uses an algorithm that they call edgerank, and guess what’s the main component…engagement. Your interaction literally increases a page’s visibility. Finally, those small businesses that you are engaged with will be pumped that you are reaching out and helping them out. You know how excited they get when you walk in the door to shop, catch up or just say hi? Your like/comment/share is like a mini version of that.
When you go to the brick&mortar spots that you love, check in. Or, better yet, do it later with an amazing photo or video of your experience. When we were running Dinos&Darlings, one of our favorite things was seeing a customer post a photo from their experience with us. It always made us feel like we made a difference in their day and put a smile on their face. It also served as a little glimpse to potential customers of the type of experience they could expect to have with us too.
Write a review
Finally, get out there and write a review. Experience your local hot spots, and then share with others why they should too. A review can be a few simple words along with the star rating. Be mindful and make your remarks valuable to potential customers and the reputation of the business. Not only will this improve your engagement with establishments on social media, but it will be truly valued by the hard working entrepreneurs who serve your community. (If you receive a positive review as a small business, be sure to respond with written appreciation…that goes for the negative ones too. More on that later.)
By doing these three things on your preferred social media platforms, you will find your feed filled with the enriching and relevant content you want to see. Bye bye FOMO (fear of missing out).
CUSTOMER CHALLENGE: Now, go out there and write two reviews for your favorite small businesses. Trust me, they will like it! (see what we did there?)