I Know You’re Busy But…Post Regularly and Reap the Rewards

people drinking and talking at a table

St Croix’s economy seems to be humming along pretty well right now. Limetree Bay’s reopening has created new jobs and we have seen an influx of temporary workers island-wide. Although housing is currently in short supply, we have more people on island spending money. Add in the seasonal visitors who fill up the resorts and tourist attractions, and it’s easy to be optimistic for our slice of paradise.

If your business is booming, you might think that you can cut back on your social media activities. In fact, you’re probably too busy to keep up with all that posting! But this is exactly the time you should be feeding your social media channels. Here’s why:

  1. You have loads of content when you’re booked solid. That’s a great time to capture pictures, reviews, testimonials and quotes from your customers. Even if you don’t use them right away, keep this content in your back pocket (or a folder on your computer) to post at a future date. Remember, content is king! It helps you get found online. Content from real customers is a great way to build your online presence.
  2. Keep your followers engaged. Social media algorithms reward businesses who post regularly and get engagement with their followers. If you stop posting you’ll lose that momentum and your page will be less likely to show up in your followers’ feeds. It’s hard enough to show up organically (without paid advertising or boosting posts) so keeping a steady presence will pay off when business slows down.
  3. Fill your feed. If you’re in the type of business where people research you prior to buying (and what business isn’t?), potential customers will likely go to your page to see what you’re all about. A gap in posting activity may make potential customers wonder why you haven’t posted in a while. Is it because you have nothing good to say? Or because you haven’t received any good reviews? Posting regularly tells potential customers you’re present. Also, if they’re thinking about contacting you but your page doesn’t give the impression that you’d be responsive, they may think twice about messaging you and go elsewhere.
  4. Get ideas for future ads. Social media is a good platform to test the waters because you can mix up graphics, text, and hashtags and see what type of response you get. Your goal should not always be to get the most likes or followers, but to reach your target audience. By posting regularly and analyzing the results you can determine the right formula for your business. Maybe it’s a certain hashtag, an inspirational quote, cute photo, or before-and-after that gets the best response. You won’t know until you try!

To wrap up, there are plenty of good reasons to post regularly on your social media channels. Maintain momentum with your followers and engage them with good content. Your customers will tell your story for you! Need help getting ideas? Let’s talk.

Preparing Your Business’ Online Presence for Tourist Season

tourists on the beach under an umbrella

Do you run a business in the Virgin Islands that is heavily dependent upon tourism? If so, now is the time to get busy upping your online presence.

Why? For one reason, Google’s crawlers periodically scan your web site to review your content. It’s these scans that help Google determine how relevant your site is for a particular search. For obvious reasons you want your site to appear when someone searches for a word or phrase that’s relevant to your business.

How Long Does it Take for Google to Crawl Your Site?

The time it takes from when Google scans your site to when your content shows up in search results can take four to six months. Note that I’m not saying this is how long it takes for your site to show up on Google. When I launched the ampliVI site it appeared in Google search results in a matter of days – but only if I was searching for ampliVI to find it. It took much longer for the site to appear when I searched for Virgin Islands social media management.

Planning ahead can make a difference in how well your page ranks in a search. For example, if your business sells lamps, you might want to create individual pages that talk about reading lamps, floor lamps, table lamps, LED lamps, or lampshades. Try to think of what people who are looking for your business would search for, and these are the words that you want on your pages.

Where to put these words? If you sell services, make a services page. Or you could write a blog, with a separate post for each service. It’s OK to create both a services page and a blog page. On your blog posts, write about the items that you sell. Write a refreshed page about each item once or twice a year. Don’t delete the old blog posts – those help you show up in search results as well.

Social Media Can Help Your Online Presence

In addition to your web site content, make sure that you also have social media pages set up for your business. If you have a retail store, claim your Google My Business listing and keep the location map, phone number and hours up-to-date. The same goes for Facebook and Yelp. Even if you have not yet set up a Facebook or Yelp presence, your customers may already be on those sites reviewing your business. Claiming your page(s) ensures you get notified when someone reviews your business. Then you can control the message and respond to your customers.

Get Listed on Other Sites

If you rely on tourism to fuel your business, take your online presence to other pages. Manage your listing on TripAdvisor and our local business directories. Go To St. Croix, Virgin Islands This Week, Visit USVI are three popular sites that get a lot of visits.

The bottom line? Give Google plenty of time to soak up all of your business’ content. You will be rewarded by showing up in search results, clicks, and new business. Don’t know where to start? We’d be happy to help.

Can a Social-Only Strategy Work for your Business?

managing social media on laptop and smart phone

A friend and business owner recently told me he was approached by a marketer. This person recommended that my friend’s marketing strategy be based solely on social media. Of course, he asked my opinion. While it’s clear that social media is here to stay, varying reports say that Gen Z is abandoning social media, largely because it makes them unhappy.

Can your business do all of its marketing on social media? The answer to that question largely depends upon your industry, your location, and your target market. In the Virgin Islands, I believe that most businesses can use social media for nearly all of their marketing. That’s not to say that you couldn’t be more effective using additional tools. Today’s social platforms want businesses to “pay to play,” and that means that it’s difficult to get your message in front of your followers organically (in other words, free).

Social media isn’t always free

Using social media for most of your marketing does not mean that it will cost you nothing. Paying for Facebook exposure is an extremely effective and inexpensive way to reach your fellow Virgin Islanders. You can do this by creating an ad campaign or by boosting a post. Compared to large cities stateside, we’re a relatively small population. If you narrow down your audience to one island (St. Thomas, St. John, or St. Croix), you’re targeting an even smaller number of people, making paid advertising less expensive.

Target your ideal customers

One of the things Facebook does best is targeting. Do you want to introduce your brand to potential customers? Or make people aware of a little-known aspect of your service offerings? Facebook is great at building awareness.

Facebook knows so much about our habits that it knows which people should see your ad. It knows which users are likely to perform the action you want – watch a video, sign up for a newsletter, or swipe through pictures of cute shoes. Knowing users’ habits and being able to target effectively makes Facebook a relatively quick and easy way to advertise your services.

Facebook can almost be your web site

Facebook has introduced a number of tools for business owners such as lead pages, an online shop, and even a job application portal. Depending upon your business these tools may be a better way for you to advertise than using a traditional web site.

Wow, it seems that Facebook can be used for just about anything! That’s the idea that Mark Zuckerberg has had all along. Need help setting up your Facebook ads? Let us know.

Social Media for Hurricane Season

Hurricane Maria spaghetti model

We’re one month into hurricane season – again. Think back to the first few weeks after Hurricane Maria. Once we started digging out of our homes our thoughts turned to “How will I survive without power for weeks (which turned out to be months)?” Where can I get gas for the generator? A meal that doesn’t come out of a can?

The coconut telegraph was in full swing for a good six months and rumors spread in every way imaginable. I remember hearing accounts from friends that they could only text, send emails or check Facebook in the wee hours of the morning because that’s when internet traffic was the lightest.

Some businesses, depending upon their location and resources, were up and running faster than others. Most of those that were able to help, did.

So, imagine that you are a Virgin Islands business and a tropical storm or hurricane strikes and leaves us without power. Using social media lets you control the message -not the rumor mill. If your business’ land line is down you can supply an alternate phone number. You can tell your customers when you’re open, when you’re not open, items that you have in full supply and items that are out of stock. Use it to your advantage and you could likely gain new customers simply by being a good neighbor.

On an island this size, when disaster strikes we’re reminded that we’re all in this together. Help each other out by using social media for communicating, sharing and helping your fellow Virgin Islanders.

How to Manage Complaints on Social Media

line at a cozy coffee shop

Business owners have a love / hate relationship with social media. They love the fact that it’s free and they can give their business’ social presence as much or as little attention as they like. They hate that social media has made it easy for customers to complain, sometimes loudly, and often inaccurately. It’s as if the business doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Fortunately, there are ways to manage complaints on social media without taking a hit to your business’ reputation.

Managing Complaints on Social Media

You’ve probably heard the expression, “There are two sides to every story…” I happen to believe there are three sides to every story: the business owner’s side, the customer’s side, and the truth, which is somewhere in the middle. Both sides will look at a situation from different perspectives. Each are entitled to their opinion. Remember, on social media your opinion is front and center for all your customers – and potential customers – to see. It’s important to keep that in mind as you craft your response. Here are a few tips for managing reviews, complaints and compliments for your business.

Points to Remember

  • Acknowledge that your customer may have had a less than perfect experience. It’s possible that your customer misunderstood a comment or an employee mismanaged a situation. Your customer’s experience is their reality, even if it isn’t yours.
  • Take it offline. Don’t get into a shouting match on social media, and avoid a back-and-forth exchange with your customer. Send a direct message to your customer, and post publicly “I’ll message you” to resolve the situation. That way, others visitors to your page can see that you are responsive.
  • Acknowledge the compliments. This is an opportunity to display your responsiveness and the fact that you – the business owner – are actively engaged in the day-to-day management of your business. In addition, people like knowing that they’re doing business with the owner. A simple “Thank you” message acknowledges your reviewer (after all, they took the time to write a nice review) and shows that you take customer comments seriously.

To sum up, people will post about your business online regardless of whether or not you maintain an active social media presence. Stay a step ahead of the reviewers and take ownership of your social media pages so that you can be alerted when customers talk about your business. Not sure where to start? Let ampliVI help. We’d love to help you get organized and stay on top of your social media presence.

How Instagram is Different than Facebook

business women on Facebook and Instagram

When I tell people that I manage social media pages for a living, I often get asked, “What is the difference between Facebook and Instagram?” It’s usually in the context of how a business owner should use each social media platform, or whether or not a business should add an Instagram presence to their social media portfolio. At first glance, both sites look similar…photos with comments and hashtags. However, their objectives are quite different. Let’s take a look at how having an Instagram or Facebook page can help your business.

What is Facebook?

If you’re reading this post, chances are pretty good that you’re familiar with the world’s largest social media platform. Facebook is about connecting with your friends and following businesses that you support or are considering doing business with.

Individuals who want to connect on Facebook have to do so through a friend request, which then has to be accepted by the person receiving the invitation. In other words, connecting on Facebook has to be mutual.

Individuals and businesses can follow business pages without having to be approved. Just click the Like or Follow button and the business’ posts will show up in your news feed.

What is Instagram?

Although Instagram has only been around since 2010 it gained popularity very quickly.  Users can follow an Instagram profile without permission or approval from the profile owner.  For this reason, celebrities and public figures have accumulated thousands of followers (or millions, in the case of Beyonce, Ariana Grande, and others).

Instagram is a photo sharing service, meaning that every post contains a photo. Brands go to great lengths to optimize their Instagram feed with branded colors and consistent photography styles.

Facebook or Instagram: which is best for your business?

Whether or not Facebook or Instagram (or both) are right for your business really comes down to your objectives. If you have a retail store, a restaurant, or tourism company, these are all businesses that could benefit from both a Facebook and Instagram presence. Do you have to post the same content on each page? Not necessarily. Since Instagram is all about the photos, post pictures of things that have a good visual value. Facebook is more about information sharing, so you might post different types of content. Alternatively, you can use the same photo for each platform but caption it differently.

Instagram is more about discovery. Users can search hashtags to discover your business (the same is true on Facebook but to a lesser extent). Type in #StCroix or #USVI into Instagram and you’ll discover all types of posts, people, businesses, and photos from the island.  If you’re not sure whether Instagram is right for your business, explore a few hashtags for yourself and look for businesses that are similar to yours.

Facebook and Instagram Users

If you look at the demographic profile of Facebook and Instagram users you’ll see even more of a difference between the two sites. While Facebook users span the generations (and sometimes bridge the generation gap!), two-thirds of Instagram users are under age 35. If your target market is young adults, find a way to add Instagram to your marketing plan.

Whichever social media platform(s) that you choose for your business, remember that the #1 rule of social media is quality over quantity. Don’t post simply to post frequently. Give your followers content they’ll enjoy, and engage in…in other words, be social!