Social media is probably one of the most important tools that marketers use on a daily basis. It provides two way communication with their target market, allows for instant feedback from consumers, and it’s free. Using social media effectively can be very tricky. I’ve learned a lot about the do’s and don’ts of social media marketing, especially the integration of multiple media platforms, from my internship at Blithewold.
When I began at Blithewold, they already had an established Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube page, but they didn’t have an Instagram. For those who don’t know, Instagram is an image based social media platform, within which users can easily snap a pic, choose a filter, type a witty caption and share the picture with all their followers within seconds. I thought Instagram was an important platform for Blithewold to use because the mansion and grounds have such visual appeal. Between the historical beauty inside and the acres of greenery and gardens, picture sharing is a key strategy to attract more visitors to Blithewold. I pitched the idea of creating an Instagram to my boss and she was all for the idea and gave me the go-ahead to do it all on my own.
My first task after creating the initial account was syncing it up to all of Blithewold’s other social media platforms, specifically Facebook and Twitter. This was really crucial to do in order to gather the already present following for Blithewold and direct them to the new Instagram account. Since Blithewold’s Facebook and Twitter pages were already well established with several hundred followers, syncing them to the Instagram page would automatically expose these followers to the content on Instagram.
The next key step in making the new Blithewold Instagram account successful was education. Much of the staff at Blithewold is on the older side, making them a little slow to catch up to new technologies such as Instagram. I sent out an informative email highlighting the basic steps on how to create a post, gave everyone the username and password for the account, and told them to come to me with any and all questions! Within that first week, I had at least a dozen emails and questions about how to use the account, and it was a little rocky at first but pretty soon people started to get the hang of it. Two of the horticulture staff are very frequent posters and we also have one of the volunteers who posts a lot of pics of the events. That is another key to social media marketing – frequent and interesting posts. Posting often creates a presences and will generate more followers and likes. The Instagram account has been up and running for about a month and a half now and it has just over 200 followers, which is pretty good I think. Obviously, it needs more promotion, but 200 followers is a solid base of traffic to such a new account.
Implementing this social media marketing platform at Blithewold taught me that 1. Synchronizing all social media accounts will streamline the market communications and make a more cohesive social media presence, and 2. Posting frequently and with interesting and interactive content will both draw in your audience and keep them entertained. There’s many different forums and books with advice about how to implement social media marketing within your business. It is debatably one of the hardest things to do successfully, but once you do it is an interactive, cost efficient, profitable form of marketing. One great book with innovative and interesting advice regarding social media marketing is 500 Social Media Marketing Tips: Essential Advice, Hints and Strategy for Business: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, and More! by Andrew Macarthy. This book can be skimmed for a few tips in a few minutes or read in detail to implement an in depth plan. Either way, it’s a great starting point if you don’t know where to begin and it covers all facets of social media platforms. Social media marketing is immensely important and if implemented right, can create huge financial gains for your business.