Getting the words right for Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin can help pool, spa or sauna businesses make the most of social media.
Top tips for social media users.
Social media is here to stay.
If Twitter and Facebook and Linkedin were children they would still be in primary school but it’s hard to imagine the world without them and it’s almost impossible to overestimate their power and influence.
Everyone knows Facebook is huge but did you know that, in terms of ‘population’ Twitter would be the 12th largest country in the world and that there are 750 Tweets every single second?
Linkedin has over 160,000,000 members and that number grows by 120 every minute.
The new kid on the block is Pinterest. A place to put your pictures rather than your words but astonishingly it drives more referral traffic than Google+, Linkedin and YouTube combined.
If you have some great pictures of some great pool, sauna or spa installations, Pinterest might be well worth exploring as a way of getting people to link back to your website and drive traffic.
The world of social media is much the same as the ‘real’ world. It’s a place to make friends and influence people – it’s also somewhere that you can be ignored or be criticised.
It multiplies ‘word of mouth’ to the N th degree – but you have to manage the stories that people are telling about you and your business.
Just like the real world, you need to behave slightly differently in different social groups.
Now, how do you do that?
Tweeting with confidence.
The first rule of a tweet is that it is only 140 characters long and that is a challenge in itself.
If you were asked just to talk about your business, you would probably be happy to chat on for an hour or so. If someone said, ‘Tell me what I need to know about your business in one minute,’ you might need a little while to prepare.
Any professional writer will tell you that short and concise is harder than long and rambling.
So a great tweet gets straight to the point.
A great tweet is focussed on a single issue or topic.
A great tweet grabs attention.
Links allow people to read more if they want to – and can drive them back to your website – and hashtags help you connect with other people interested in or talking about the same things.
Twitter is a place for breaking news and for passing an opinion on a topical subject. The hose-pipe ban earlier this year was a prime example.
Twitter is the town crier of the social media village.
What’s on your mind?
Facebook status updates give you quite a bit more room to manoeuvre than a tweet but keeping it brief and to the point is still the way to go.
Your post is going to be competing with an awful lot of others in anyone’s news feed so you want to stand out. Grab attention. Get their interest.
And you want people to respond. The more comments you get the more ‘newsworthy’ Facebook will rate your post.
So what do you do?
You might post a simple statement.
But don’t you think that people are more likely to respond if you ask a question?
Invite people to comment – what do you think? – and invite them to share – shouldn’t everyone know this?
Facebook is the most ‘social’ of the platforms in that you can be a bit more indirect. Links about the health benefits of a sauna, a picture of the world’s most amazing indoor swimming pool or a recipe for the perfect hot tub party can be more effective at getting people to interact with you than a hard nosed price promotion or an announcement of a new product line.
Be topical and generous.
Give people free advice on how to winterise their pool or spa. It may seem counter-productive but people will appreciate your knowledge, see you as an expert and some of them will decide that it’s easier if you do the work for them.
Of course you can put some offers and promotions into the mix, but see your Facebook page as a local radio station. You need to broadcast some news and entertainment pieces if anyone is going to be listening when the adverts come on.
Staying with the radio broadcast analogy, choosing the right time to publish a status update can have a big effect on how many people see it too.
Think about when the people you would like to communicate with are most likely to be on-line and publish then. Do you want to catch other businesses in the morning when they are checking their emails or potential customers who are sitting at their laptops at home after dinner?
In the social media village, Facebook is gossip and chat in the coffee shop or down the pub, but hasn’t that always been a great way to do business?
Cashing in on your connections.
Of the three social media sites we have focussed on here, Linkedin is the place to showcase what a serious professional you are.
It may not be the best place to talk to consumers but it is the ideal platform to help you build a network and a strong reputation within the wet leisure industry and beyond.
Your profile on Linkedin acts as an online CV. Make it as strong and as detailed as possible. List those achievements. Display your qualifications.
But Linkedin is a far from passive site.
If you like writing then it’s a great place to share your opinions and knowledge on the state of the whole industry or the relative merits of a range of pool pumps.
If you are a bit less happy behind the keyboard then your activity can be about sharing links to stories and topics that you think are relevant to your connections. This is called ‘curating content’ and can get you just as much attention as generating your own pieces. (It’s like ‘sharing’ on Facebook.)
Whether you are writing an original piece or sharing something that you have found, make sure you preface the post with a couple of lines that grabs the attention and states your point of view.
Asking questions is a great way to get conversations started within your group and of course, you get the credit for doing that.
Share this far and wide.
With all social media content that you produce, the best result is that it not only gets read but also gets shared. Re-tweeted, shared on Facebook or re-posted on Linkedin.
A good strong headline that lets people know what the piece is all about will help.
Good writing, correct spelling and grammar will do you no harm either.
But what makes all the difference is content that is relevant to the reader and of value to your reader. Be informative, be amusing, be challenging but those qualities must be seen from the point of view of the person who is reading the piece and not just from where you sit.