The number of social media users worldwide in 2018 was 3.196 billion, up 13 percent year-on-year.
This is why it’s so important to have a business presence on social media. The trick is to think carefully about the content you want to present, and who your audiences are for each channel. Once you’ve done some research and written your posts, scheduling them using one of many online tools is an excellent idea for saving time and resource.
There are several social media scheduling tools available for start-ups, small businesses and independent businesses to use, but in the spirit of keeping this simple, we’ll focus on Buffer and Hootsuite. These two tools are both key players that have been around the block and adapted with the market.
Using Buffer, you can link your Instagram Business, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+ and schedule social media posts in advance, directly to your chosen channels. You can also access insights and analytics for each of your channels within the app or desktop site.
Costs and packages
If you’re using Buffer to schedule posts for three social media channels or less, the free starter plan is ideal, allowing you to forward-schedule ten posts per channel. Add up to eight social media accounts with up to 100 posts per channel for $15.99/£12.43 per month on Buffer’s pro plan. Buffer also caters to bigger businesses, with larger business plans available, priced at $65 and $99 per month respectively. Each of these plans allows you to add extra team members and schedule up to 2,000 posts per channel.
How simple is Buffer to use?
Not as simple as we hoped. Users should allow a little extra time to get set up with Buffer. Most importantly, you’ll need to locate your on-screen keyboard to access emojis (worth noting that we’re using Windows here). Don’t read the how-to guides online, they’re overly confusing. Just search ‘on-screen keyboard’ on your Windows menu and it will pop up. Make sure you pin it to your taskbar for easy future access.
Another obstacle with Buffer is the extra steps involved in setting up Instagram posting. Now Instagram has altered its API to allow direct scheduling, this should be very simple. With Buffer the set up is overly complicated. You have to go through a verification process, make sure you have the app installed and then turn mobile notifications on. Unfortunately, the last step can’t be skipped, and the app didn’t allow us to set up notifications (even after reinstalling), so we’re still using the Buffer reminders to log in and post manually to Instagram. This isn’t the end of the world and does copy the message text and image across for you but can be risky business if you don’t have time to check your phone.
On a serious plus side, their overview page is very clear and simply shows how many posts are currently scheduled for each channel linked to Buffer.
Hootsuite is a social media service which allows you to plan and schedule your social posts in advance. Using Hootsuite, you can link your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest accounts.
Costs and packages
Similar to Buffer, Hootsuite offers a free plan that allows you to link up to three social media channels and schedule up to 30 posts per month. For £25 per month, you can add 10 social media profiles and benefit from unlimited scheduling. The next package up is for marketing teams and costs £99 per month. This gives you the option to add up to 20 social media profiles, 3 users and unlimited scheduling.
How simple is Hootsuite to use?
There’s a lot to love about Hootsuite. It’s been LIT Communication’s go-to social media scheduling tool since we launched, and for good reason.
You can link your social media channels in a few simple steps. To check or edit posts once they’re scheduled, the publisher page conveniently displays each post along with the planned time and date in, also allowing you to filter by channel to quickly see the content you’ve scheduled for the week.
Once you’ve worked out what all the symbols mean, it’s simple to get started. There’s an emoji tool built into the scheduling section, so no need for any additional keyboards. You can also build reports, but we recommend getting to grips with the basics before you start analysing results.
Hootsuite is the clear winner in our opinion. It’s easier to set up (anything for less short-term frustration) and the free plan includes 30 posts to schedule, not limited to ten per channel like Buffer. For some reason, Instagram is 10x simpler to setup on Hootsuite, and because the photo-sharing channel is more popular than ever in influencing buying decisions, it’s important to make sure the right posts go out at the right times.
Whichever scheduling tool you use, both have multiple how-to videos and guides to follow to help you get started, so no matter which you pick, this will inevitably simplify your social media posting and ensure you spend less time worrying about individually posting on each account.
If you have any questions on social media management, LIT Communication is more than happy to help. Simply read our other blog posts for more handy social media tips or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
At LIT Communication, we always recommend that our clients share regular content on their business blogs. You’ll be surprised how many people actually read the blog on your website, and the positive results that news stories and industry updates can generate.
Updating the blog or news section on your business website is a simple way to help with online visibility and business growth. Particularly when it comes to search engine optimisation (SEO). By strategically selecting the keywords you choose to use (based on what your customers search for to find your website/service), you can help boost your position on Google and appear higher in the search results.
For example, if your potential customers are searching for the term ‘PR in Huddersfield’ and you include these specific keywords within your blog post, you’re immediately helping strengthen your appearance in the search results for that search term. Each time you post a blog post, you add an extra page to your website for search engines to index, which in turn, means more opportunity to drive new traffic to your website.
Posting regular company or industry news updates/blog posts goes a long way to help with lead generation. It may take valuable time to pen an engaging blog post, but the pay-off is long-lasting. Once your blog posts are ranking in search engines, they’ll continue to gain traffic, which will eventually convert to leads as the content becomes increasingly visible online.
If your potential audience is already considering using your services or buying your products, reading a great blog post might be the very thing that encourages them to go for it.
Building brand awareness
Blogging is an excellent way to increase the awareness of your brand via digital search and social media (especially important if your website is new). The more expertise you share, the more chance your brand has to be seen by a new audience, and the more they’ll recognise your brand’s name when it pops up, taking them further on your customer journey. During this time, you’re also building up important ‘owned’ content which you can use on your other marketing channels, including social media and newsletters.
Creating content that’s helpful to your audience, also helps attract new interest in your product/service and impress existing customers. This will cement your industry expertise and help grow the authority of your business.
On the LIT Communication blog for example, we share lots of industry insights and tips to help customers get on top of their business marketing. The topics we write about are inspired by real-life problems our potential customers experience. We also see people missing out on opportunities to market their business effectively, from small things such as using hashtags incorrectly to bigger fish like missing out on maximising their company news and achievements.
You can view all the latest LIT Communication blog posts here. If you need specific advice on what to blog about or would like support with writing content for your website or blog, don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’ll be more than happy to help you create some engaging content – email@example.com
Held once a month, MyNetwork Huddersfield is an informal, free networking event run by the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce and held at Huddersfield’s local business hub – the Media Centre. There’s no need to book, and the purpose of this event is to network with other great businesses and make some new valuable contacts.
Where? Café Ollo, The Media Centre
When? Every third Wednesday of the month. Check Media Centre’s what’s on page for exact dates.
Another event held at the Media Centre; Huddersfield SOUP is a business event with a difference. The event focuses on socially crowdfunding new business ideas in Huddersfield, and for a £5 entry fee you get the chance to hear four local people pitch their ideas ranging from art, social enterprise, education, technology and more. You also get a bowl of soup to help you warm up on these cold winter nights’ while you’re listening to some great ideas.
Where? Café Ollo, The Media Centre
When? Once a month – find out when the next event is being held over on Huddersfield Soup’s website.
Huddersfield Business Show
Bringing together over 40 local business exhibitors and over 300 delegates, the Huddersfield Business Show is held at John Smith’s Stadium annually. As well as being able to meet and connect with other local businesses, the show features an extensive programme of seminars, workshops and networking opportunities.
Where? John Smith’s Stadium
When? The Huddersfield Business Show is an annual event held around October time.
Organised my Network B2B, this weekly networking event is one for the early risers and allows attendees to share business advice and network. One positive aspect of this event is that only one attendee from each business category can sign up each week. Keep in mind that you need to pre-book and pay a £15 fee to attend.
Where? Manor House, Lindley
When? Every Thursday morning from 7.15-9am
Head to the Network B2B website to book your spot.
This one’s reserved for Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce (MYCCI) members and is held on the first Thursday of each month at a local location. This event is set-up like speed dating, so it’s an excellent way to meet lots of different business owners/representatives 1 to 1 and create new business leads (and hand out a few business cards along the way).
Where? The location can differ, with previous events held at the Textile Centre of Excellence and Manor House.
When? The first Thursday of every month. Check when the next event is being held on the MYCCI website.
CSince the promotion of Huddersfield town last season and a rumoured boost in investment towards the future of Huddersfield (HD One), we’re beginning to notice a positive change in the perception of our beloved West Yorkshire town.
While neighbouring Halifax has had a flurry of government investment and been the beneficiary of floods of subsequent tourism, Huddersfield has been slower to catch up. Business rent in the area is significantly higher than bordering towns/villages and many retail stores have tried and failed to make a permanent home in Huddersfield. The result? Empty buildings and a lack of investment in the town centre.
While Huddersfield continues to claim back popularity, we’ve explored some of the independent businesses going against the grain – helping to boost Huddersfield’s presence and strengthen the town’s business and tourism prospects.
Om is Where the Heart Is
A great spot to find your zen and sample some delicious homemade grub, Om is Where the Heart is has been occupying space in Slaithwaite since 2016. With a purpose-built yoga studio and an attaching restaurant/bar, Om has rocketed in popularity in the past couple of years. The energetic husband and wife team have gradually grown the business, increasing both their yoga and their dining offering. As well as a large selection of staple menu items, there’s a daily specials board - the gift that keeps on giving.
Tip: Visiting for food? Sample the all-mighty tacos, you really won’t regret it.
Magic Rock Bar & Brewery
If you haven’t been to experience an evening in Magic Rock – you’re seriously missing out. Founded in 2011, Magic Rock brewery has pumped out some of the UK’s most popular beers, including the Salty Kiss and Highwire. Their on-site brewery is something to be marvelled at (you can even book an in-depth tour to learn more about how it all works), and their on-site bar is equally impressive. Choose your poison of choice from a big chalkboard behind the bar, then head to the outdoor seating space to pick up some street food from one of the many vans they have stationed there each weekend.
Tip: Check their social media accounts to find out which of the many local street food truck’s they’re hosting throughout the month. From bao buns to vegan mac ‘n’ cheese – there is something for everyone. There's also free parking on the street nearby.
We recently had the pleasure of visiting Colourcube Automotive to meet the amazing team that consists of Liz and Mike (husband and wife, naturally). Be warned, this is not just any bodywork repair company. Colourcube only use the best equipment and their humble front office leads out into a monster workshop – ft. onsite spray oven, water-based mixing system and proper extraction to minimise the environmental effects (you won’t see many independent Bodyshop’s with this type of equipment!).
These guys take health & safety seriously and have fast become known in the area for their remarkable vehicle repair expertise and friendly service. Ask your colleague or neighbour to recommend an automotive Bodyshop, and it’s more than likely that they’ll point you in the direction of Colourcube.
Tip: Call in when you next need a bodywork repair and take a peek at the impressive facilities for yourself.
Top Bodies Gym
We’re yet to find a gym which rivals the community/family atmosphere of this one. Situated in the town centre and run by two brothers, Top Bodies has been in Huddersfield for over 30 years. The owners and the gym members really know their stuff, and there’s always someone on hand to help you with your squat technique. The gym also has a penchant and reputation for bodybuilding – becoming the stomping ground for several male and female bodybuilders each year as they get competition ready. Top Bodies is also equipped to provide valuable expertise on bulking up, cutting down, posing and prepping for your upcoming competition.
Tip: Try it out and see for yourself – one-off training sessions are only £3.50.
The Golf Travel People
Situated in Holmfirth, The Golf Travel People is five-star rated on Trustpilot for a reason. Run by golfers and aimed at golfers, the travel operator provides a personal touch for its band of loyal customers. They recently rebranded and added an exciting line-up of new destinations to their offering.
What we love the most is that you can’t book online. The Golf Travel People encourage you to ring up and chat to them so they can tailor your golfing trip completely to your needs. They also meet regularly with their suppliers, making sure they only offer the best breaks and hotels to customers.
Tip: Check their social media each accounts each week for exclusive deals on golfing breaks in Europe and beyond. They also have an exciting competition running until the end of October for two people to win a five-star golfing break to Tenerife.
As well as these fantastic businesses that are helping to put Huddersfield on the map, Huddersfield boasts a range of exciting events throughout the year (both for business and residents). Look out for our upcoming blog post on business events in Huddersfield.
Comment below if you’ve been lucky enough to visit some of these exciting businesses.
For many start-ups and small businesses, social media posts are created in-house to minimise marketing costs and maintain tight control of initial brand messaging. That said, social media can be time-consuming and difficult to navigate if you don’t have much prior experience.
Take your audience on your business journey
Audiences love hearing about how people started their business, and the challenges and successes they face on a daily basis. Why? Because these things are real, interesting and come from the heart. From the moment you start updating your social media channels, take your audience on your business journey with you (trust me - they’ll appreciate it!).
If you’re confident enough to do some live posts on your Facebook or Instagram stories, share these with your audience who will more than likely want to commiserate with you when things go wrong, and celebrate your successes.
Following on nicely from taking your audience on your business journey – the more personal your posts are, the more engagement they’ll create. We recently included a picture of the LIT Founder on the @litcommunication Instagram channel and doubled the audience engagement instantly compared with previous posts. The proof is in the pudding.
You should share some personal posts as well as business-related posts. Personal achievements such as raising money for charity, running a marathon, special moments with your children, reaching your goal weight or renovating your house are all things that your business followers will take an interest in. It also shows that there’s a real person behind the keyboard and naturally makes your audience more inclined to support you.
Remember that people don’t want to just hear the positives – it’s not realistic for everything to be plain sailing when you’re running a business. Share the challenges as well as the positives and you’ll find that your audience remains engaged.
Boost posts that call your audience to auction
A bit of paid advertising never hurt anybody. In fact, it can be just the ticket for highlighting specific offers/posts/competitions to your audience. Choose which posts you want to boost carefully and decide how much daily budget you can comfortably afford to put behind it. Paid spend between £1.00 - £5.00 per day should be effective enough for a small business post.
At LIT Communication, we recently boosted our client’s competition post and attracted over 50 new followers and countless competition entries within a week’s timeframe (spending £3.00 per day).
Use hashtags and tag to your heart’s content
Use a mix of small and large volume hashtags on your social media channels to get your posts seen by a wider audience. This is because the audience searching for those smaller volume hashtags might be much more relevant to you, and using a mix means your posts won’t get lost in the crowd, as they would if you only used high volume hashtags. You can add up to 30 hashtags on Instagram, so make the most of this and include relevant hashtags that relate to your posts. This could include location-based hashtags or industry hashtags, for example.
Do your research and find out which hashtags your audience engage with. It can be time-consuming to add hashtags so make sure you have a set to hand that you can quickly add to your posts and rotate if you’re on the go. You can also look at which hashtags competitors are using and see if there are any you could utilise to reach more people.
It’s also a good idea to tag other people or businesses in your posts. If you attend a business networking event, for example, try and tag some of the people or businesses that you met on the day in your posts, and don’t forget to add your location to expand your reach even further.
Run a competition
It can definitely be more difficult for a services-based business to grow their social media following. In our experience, product-based businesses have something more tangible to base their posts on, which attracts more followers.
If your aim is to attract more followers on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn – it’s always a good idea to run a competition. Think about what you would like to win from your business if you were a customer and base your prize on that. If yours is a business in the beauty industry, the prize could be a pamper day for example. If you’re in the automotive industry, you could offer a personalised number plate to the winner. The bigger the prize, the more likely you are to attract more competition entrants and subsequently, more followers. Make sure that social media users have to follow your account as part of the competition entry, and you should soon see your social media community grow.
When you do have the budget to outsource social media, it’s a good idea to pass this element of marketing to the capable hands of an expert. You’ll quickly find that this frees up time for you to focus on other elements of your business as it blooms, and your customers increase.
For a quote on social media management for your business, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We provide expert social media services for businesses in Huddersfield, Halifax, West Yorkshire and the wider UK.