For locally-owned businesses, summertime marks an exciting—and important—time with respect to marketing efforts.
The change in weather also means a dramatic change in consumer behavior: With temperatures on the rise, so is consumer spending.
Research indicates that people are online and on their devices, including smartphones, tablets and laptops, more during the warmer months of the year. And the data is compelling:
- Content posted on Facebook mobile grows by 26% and video posts grow by 43%
- Facebook users share photos in summer 24% more than spring, 23% more than winter and 5% more than fall
- With 77-degree temperatures, online shopping increases 49%
- 34% of people say they watch more on their smartphones (with cooking videos topping the list)
But that’s not all: Not surprisingly, people are more active during the summer months:
- 48% dine out more
- 50% of homes are sold
- 80% of Americans plan a summer vacation, with an average spend of $941 per person
- Emergency room visits increase 15–27%
Whether you run a string of fast casual restaurants, a bed and breakfast, a daycare and boarding facility for four-legged friends or an auto-repair shop that specializes in German cars, small business owners should take note.
With summer in full swing, now is the time to ramp up social media campaigns and get in front of the flurry of potential customers out and about for the season.
Whether you are a sole proprietor managing every aspect of your business including all promotional activity or have a dedicated marketing manager and generous budget, below are some basic tips and helpful information to ensure even the most novice social media user is in a position to make the most of this seasonal opportunity.
1. Get to know the networks
You’ve likely heard of the major players in the social media universe. But the massive pool includes more networks than there are days of summer, and there’s no need to go swimming in all of them. Familiarize yourself with the “Big 8” (Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Yelp, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter), and then determine which make the most sense for your particular company based on your industry, product and service offerings and target customer.
2. Start at the beginning—with Facebook
With 1.8 million active users worldwide, it’s the largest social media network. Stateside, 79% of Internet users are active on Facebook, and it also has the highest engagement rate based on the amount of time users spend on the network.
If your company doesn’t have a Facebook page, it’s time to consider launching one (it’s free). The benefits include establishing yourself as a legitimate enterprise, making it easier for customers to find you and having the ability to share news of interest, such as new product arrivals, upcoming events, sales, seasonal hours, new staff members, etc.
3. Basic information is key
This likely goes without saying, but make sure your business’ social media profile is completely filled out. Customers need to know the essentials—including your website URL, location, hours and contact information.
Your company bio should be short and sweet. Some networks restrict the length, such as Twitter limiting the bio to 160 characters or less. Include information like types of products and/or services you sell as well as the type of customers you serve.
4. Image is everything
The profile image for your business on social media shouldn’t be a default avatar. Upload a high-resolution photo to all of your social media accounts. This could be your company logo or, if you’re a sole proprietor, a professional headshot.
It’s best to use the same image for all your social profiles so customers can easily recognize your brand on whatever platform their busy thumbs are scrolling through.
Consider image sizing. It’s also a good idea to name the photo files as your business name (e.g. yourbusiness.jpg) so they will show up in image searches for your business.
5. Make actions clear
Want customers to visit your website, email or give you call? Let them know with a call-to-action (CTA) button, which is an image or line of text that prompts visitors to take action. You can include a CTA in your bio information or as a button on your Facebook business page.
6. Get social
Social media is all about engaging your audience and, ultimately, growing your following. Start inviting people to follow your business, and connect with friends, family, customers, vendors, business partners and others within the industry by following them and commenting on their posts.
7. Drive reviews
Sites like Google+ and Facebook allow customers to post reviews and rate your business. Make sure you encourage loyal customers and followers to share their positive experiences with your business on your social media pages. And don’t forget to respond to the review and thank them.
8. Boost your following
One of the simplest ways to increase your following is to incorporate social media into all marketing efforts. Add social sharing icons to your website, blog posts, email signature, business cards and flyers to spread the word.
9. Analyze to improve
Keep up with the traffic and engagement your social media page is producing through analytics. Every social platform provides some level of analytics. Examine this information to determine which posts resonate with followers and how to better engage them.
You’ve taken that giant first step and created several profiles. Now what?
Like any meaningful relationship, digital connections need nurturing. Regular posting of authentic content will be paramount to customer engagement and growing a community of followers and brand enthusiasts.
Since folks tend to be more active, more social, happier and spend more money when it’s warmer, there’s a seemingly endless list of places to go and things to do. With their focus on health and exercise, travel, sports and home improvement, the following hashtags tend to be most popular during this time of year:
Believe it or not, the topic with the most posts, comments and shares on Facebook during the summer is running. This hashtag (#running) also topped Instagram in 2016. In addition to running, the top themes that round out the season include: 2. beach 3. parties 4. parks and 5. movies.
When planning your social content, weave in various posts that touch on these topics, and incorporate the corresponding hashtags to maximize your popularity and, therefore, exposure.
Additionally, it’s important to take into consideration the following as you begin exploring post options and becoming more active on social media:
- With 77% of Americans owning smartphones and regularly accessing information on their devices, ensure that any images or videos you share are mobile-optimized along with your website.
- Eight seconds is the average adult’s media consumption attention span. While our attention spans may be short, we have a greater capacity to pay attention in the summer. This along with an increase in device usage means you have more opportunities to keep your business top of mind. Frequent posts that are short and punchy strike the right balance.
- The “temperature-premium” effect is a real thing: Researchers have found that warmer temperatures cause people to feel emotionally warm, which makes them feel better about prospective purchases. Be prepared for an influx of web traffic and sales as the result of your social media outreach.
A free from e-book from Vivial (https://vivial.net/what-your-business-needs-this-summer/ is now available to help small businesses enhance your digital presence based on seasonal trends—to rank the highest, trend the hottest and make the biggest splash this season.
Because cool things should happen when the weather warms up.