Photo of the Women's March on Washington, Jan. 21, 2017, via Twitter
If you aren't utilizing social media, this is what you can't do: Share your ideas and opinions with people in your community -- and around the world, personally invite people you don't know to join you, promote a sense of togetherness in a big, busy world. And do it all instantly, from where ever you happen to be.
Social media is just that -- social AND media. It's the first place many people now go for information.
You never really know what will strike a chord with others, what will become a viral video, what will start a fad, what will launch a movement.
It's got to be the right message at the right time, said the right way and targeting the right people.
You may not want to organize a global event, but you can harness the power that did just that.
From Jan 21, 2017 article in The Washington Post by Paul Farhi:
The organizers of the many women’s marches that filled the streets of cities across the world on Saturday got the word out about their projects primarily via Facebook. ...
“Social media has entirely changed the organizing landscape,” says Karen North, the director of the social-media program at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. “It is a way to ask people to join with friends and with like-minded people and promote a sense of belonging. Social media allows us to organize people in a manner that feels like a personal invitation and also in a manner that suggests a groundswell of support and passion about a cause.”
Bon Jovi is not French for "good content." Bad content, however, is bad medicine.
Your website and social media are two of the most valuable resources you have to grow your business. But the technology doesn't work in your favor if you don't have good content.
What is good content? Information that is timely, efficient and wanted by the consumer. Content that is fresh and engaging. Content that is relevant to your community and your customers.
Tell consumers about your new products or services, offer specials and giveaways, even share some behind-the-scenes glimpses and personal anecdotes.
And good content is not always about you. Use your Facebook page to remind people of events going on in the community or to congratulate the local sports team on the big win .
Update your website weekly with blog entries, new inventory or up-to-the-minute market trends.
Make your content a priority. Make your content grow your business. That's how to stay healthy.
It all matters.
Your website and your social media reflect your business, your service, your attention to detail.
A customer is in the market for your goods or services and has now found your website or Facebook page. Basically, the person just walked through your front door. Now what?
You need good content. You need good images. You need words spelled correctly. You need proper grammar. And you need it all consistently.
It all matters.
I have seen firsthand just how difficult it is for a small business owner to consistently create compelling and engaging social media posts while growing and servicing customers.
Because I have been focusing on writing insightful website content, creative blogs, and unique Facebook and Instagram content for our clients, I have neglected the Bee There Media blog.
Time to get that flow ... ride along the ocean of creative ideas, work deadlines and just living life.
Sail away, sail away, sail away.
Do your social media accounts reflect the image you want to portray to potential customers and clients?
Whatever you post online can be seen by a global community, so you must present your best face to the world.
Take a good, hard look at your website, blogs, Instagram images, Facebook posts, Tweets. What do they say about you and your business?
Is the content compelling? Cohesive? Creative? Engaging? Accurate? Positive?
If it's not, you aren't using social media to your advantage.
At Bee There Media, we encourage our clients to take a step back and think about who they are and what they hope to accomplish through social media. Then we can create content that is authentic and original.
Who are you? Who do people think you are?
When you sign up for a social media account, you need followers.
You want people to "friend" you on Facebook, "like" your Facebook business page, "follow" you on Instagram, "subscribe" to your emails or blog post notifications, "follow" your Pinterest boards.
Your friends and family and your current customers and clients will be your first followers. You can invite them to "like" or "follow" your social media accounts -- and they usually are quick to respond. If you have lots of friends and clients who use social media platforms, you can get a quite a number of followers immediately.
But what then?
The key to having a successful social media account is to increase the number of people who engage with you. And to do that, your content has to appeal to people who don't know you, who haven't shopped at your store before, who haven't eaten in your restaurant, who aren't already your friend.
To gain more followers, you must post compelling, engaging content on a regular basis. It's that easy, and that difficult.
We'll share tips for creating great content for your social media accounts in an upcoming blog.
Reinvention is essential to staying relevant.
The old adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" could not be further from the truth today.
Businesses that work to tweak and refine their marketing, business plans, social media presence, products and services will reach new audiences and prosper.
Businesses that stay the course will break down.
Bee There Media is trying lots of new things, thinking outside the box and working to find solutions that work for us and for our clients.
You've got to break it to make it.
You've got to be flexible in today's world.
Technology is advancing so quickly that when you buy a new iPhone, it's already obsolete.
Bill and I were part of the traditional media -- newspapers and network television -- for much of our careers. The trusted information sources in our community have been frustratingly slow to respond to the way people communicate today. Newspapers and local broadcast news are pillars of local enlightenment, but they have effectively turned to stone, refusing to budge when it comes to modernizing the way they deliver content.
People still want their news from a trusted source, they just want it when they have the time to sit down and watch it -- not necessarily at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. They want to read an in-depth article about a local issue -- but they want to read it on their phone while they are waiting for their kid's soccer game to start. They want to be able to share their opinion immediately -- not by writing a letter to the editor to be published several days later.
And this is just a tip of the iceberg that is sinking the Titanic that is the traditional news media.
Bill and I decided to use our skills, which include flexibility, to launch Bee There Media and a digital magazine, 252buzz.com, that embraces change rather than avoids it.
Bill and I decided to take a break from our nonstop work schedule to go see Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band in Raleigh Thursday. The name of the tour is "Workin' and Playin', and we took that as a directive from Jimmy, the king of Margaritaville. It was time for some playin.'
We got settled on the lawn in time to hear the opening act: Huey Lewis and The News. I immediately was transported back 32 years, to Jan. 31, 1984. That's the day I met Huey Lewis and had one of my most memorable experiences as a journalist. It happened just over a month after I had graduated from journalism school and started working full time at The Daily Reflector.
Because I was the youngster on the newspaper staff, I was assigned to interview Huey the morning of the band's Greenville show. They were touring in support of their new album, "Sports" and already had three hits with videos playing in heavy rotation on MTV.
The concert location was The Greenleaf, a converted warehouse north of the river across from the runway of the Pitt-Greenville Airport. (By the way, I also saw legendary blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan and his band Double Trouble almost literally raise the roof of that same venue.)
Anyway, back to Huey Lewis.
He shows up at The Greenleaf freshly showered and bleary eyed but pleasant. After shaking my hand, he asks the venue manager if he can have a cup of coffee. There isn't a coffee pot. Oh, no. I am nervous now. The man needs some coffee and there isn't any.
So Huey asks his tour manager if he can have the keys to the bus so he and I can go get some coffee. The answer? A laugh.
So Huey turns his handsome face to me, a 23-year-old recent college graduate from a small town in North Carolina, bats his eyes and says coyly, "Jane ... would you rescue me and take me a get a cup of coffee?"
Now what was I supposed to say?
We walk out to my four-door Buick in the parking lot and Huey Lewis gets in the passenger seat. Of MY car. Panic ensues. What if I have a wreck with Huey Lewis in the car and he gets injured and has to go to the hospital and he can't make it to the show that night and it's front page news that I was responsible for hurting Huey Lewis? I sit there with my keys in my hand.
Obviously sensing my trepidation, Huey reaches over, places his hand (comfortingly?) on my thigh and says words I will never forget. "It's OK, Jane. I trust you." And he pats my leg.
OMG. Huey Lewis trusts me to drive off alone with him. Why? And he's patting my thigh. OMG.
Somehow I start my car. I drive north on Memorial Drive, turn onto Airport Road and stop at the nearest convenience store near Greene Street. I park (thankfully I don't run into the curb) and he gets out. "You coming with me?" he asks. I shake my head no. I know as a journalist I should have stuck to him like glue, taking notes all the while. But truthfully, my legs were shaking so badly I was afraid I would fall down.
So Huey goes into the store and I try to calm myself. I take deep breaths. I am feeling better. I can do this. But Huey doesn't come out of the store. Why hasn't he come out with his cup of coffee yet? How long has he been inside? Surely long enough to get a cup of coffee. Maybe they needed to brew a fresh pot. Surely that's it. How long does it take a brew a fresh pot of coffee? What if something has happened to Huey? What if he walked into the store in the middle of a hold-up? What if he gets shot trying to be a hero, and it's front page news that Huey Lewis was shot in a convenience store in Greenville, North Carolina, because a dumb young reporter took him to get a cup of coffee? Should I go into the convenience store to get him? Will I look even stupider if I do? Oh no, I am panicking again.
And out of the store walks Huey Lewis with a smile on his face, a cup of coffee in one hand and a bag of freshly popped popcorn in the other. Whew.
"Sorry that took so long," he says as he slides back into the front seat of my car. "I got my cup of coffee, but then they started making some popcorn and it smelled so good I just had to wait until it finished popping so I could get some."
Well, I don't blame him. I would have done the same thing.
As I drive the block back to the concert venue, Huey chats with me about the locals he met in the convenience store who recognized him and wanted to shake his hand. It's a great anecdote for the story I write for The Daily Reflector.
And that's what I remember as I watch Huey perform with The News Thursday night.
We both have aged a lot of the past 32 years, but we're both still workin' for a livin.'
And I will forever be grateful to him for trusting me when I wasn't sure I could be trusted.