Engaging Through Social Media – Just Do It!
By Trish Watlington, Board President, Mission Hills BID
I awoke this morning to find that not only is summer nearly over, but I have only three more months left in my tenure as the President of the Mission Hills BID. And with that bittersweet thought, I asked myself what I really wanted to say with my final three columns. What could make the BID a better, more productive place, what was new and exciting, what are my parting thoughts on the last two years?
My October column will be all about the Taste of Mission Hills – unequivocally the most delicious event that the BID does each year. And November’s column will be a last chance to reflect on what I’ve learned and what I hope gets carried forward.
This month, September, with the celebration of Labor Day it seems timely to make a persuasive argument about using social media. It’s a tool that can help us work smarter, instead of harder, and draw more guests to our businesses. Those of you who know me and our restaurants know that I’m a big advocate of social media for developing relationships with guests, customers and potential customers. So here’s my pitch —– just do it.
And while you’re at it, engage with us! With the help of local marketers Blue Like Neon, September will mark the launch of the BID’s Facebook social media promotion. We will be using Facebook ads to develop followers and drive organic traffic to our website and social media pages. As these platforms grow and develop we will have more power, presence and reach in order to promote our Mission Hills BID businesses. We will be looking at before and after analytics and will be better able to help you promote your business as we fine tune the promotion of the BID.
So what can you do? Take a look at the three most popular, easily accessible and effective platforms; Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. While there is overlap they also reach different audiences. Are you completely new to social media? Start with a Facebook page for yourself and one for your business. Facebook’s audience is slightly older but still a good demographic for promoting most businesses. You can build brand awareness by sharing a mix of relevant links and direct advertising, especially with great photos. If you already have a Facebook page, get engaged by inviting your friends to like your page and by liking, AND POSTING ON, other business pages. Those two actions will raise your profile. If you’ve already undertaken those activities, try a promoted ad for a few dollars.
Twitter is perfect for short messages. The blog page “Mom This Is How Twitter Works” is a terrific resource. While Twitter makes it much easier to get followers, you have to post more often, as many Twitter posts get ignored. That said, if you have good engagement, a great message, effective hashtags and are connected with others on Twitter that will retweet your messages (like @MssionHillsLive, the BID’s Twitter page), Twitter can pack a big punch.
Instagram is a visual way to reach a younger demographic and is all about amazing photos. Find a photo editing app and choose your images carefully, or engage a professional photographer. Hootsuite’s blog post – “How to Use Instagram,” is an excellent tutorial. Research some popular hashtags that fit your business or develop a business hashtag of your own that will become part of your brand. By connecting Instagram to your Facebook profile it will speed your development of followers. Look for a Mission Hills BID Instagram in the very near future.
So now your job – neighbors and businesses alike, is to connect with us on Facebook at Facebook.com/MissionHillsBID and on Twitter at @MssionHillsLive and through our website at MissionHillsBID.com. We will share, Facebook and Tweet as much of your news as we can. If you follow neighborhood businesses, support them and promote them, you will find that this kind of reciprocity will come back to reward you many times over.
“You are what you share.”
― Charles W. Leadbeater, We Think: The Power Of Mass Creativity