Social Media Tactics and Tools to Grow Your Business

Welcome to Boostly Podcast Season 11 Episode 11. This is a recap of the Boostly Roundtable where we talked about social media.

Here's the audio for this episode:


04:30 Guest Introduction
10:00 Number one social media tool to grow the business
20:30 About Creator Studio
23:00 About third-party schedulers
25:10 One advice getting around that you disagree with
34:40 About Keyword Hashtag
48:20 Quickfire questions
01:06 Follow our guests on social media

Whilst you’re here

Follow Boostly on the following channels to get more tips, tactics and knowledge on how you can increase your direct bookings

Visual – YouTube 

Audio – Boostly Podcast




Transcript from the Episode

Sue Thompson runs her business called Catch Design Management in North Yorkshire. She does mainly social media management for various small businesses, as well as social media training, website design. She is supporting local businesses to try and keep them going on their social media through these difficult times.

Becky's company is called People Buy People. She specializes in working with hospitality, tourism and events, companies and helping them with social media.

Kim Willis is a social media manager in South Devon in the UK. She also runs a small agency called Definitely Social. She has 300 customers in South Devon. And they're in a very remote spot. She also helps her clients get more eyes on their YouTube podcasts and Instagram channels as well.

Craig Webb's company's web marketing speaks for itself. He is a hotel and restaurant manager in the Cotswolds. He is based in Oxfordshire. But when they went into lockdown, he set up his own company mostly off the back of what he learned from Boostly and helping customers get direct business and direct bookings, helping with SEO, social media, landing pages, that sort of thing, automating social media. He does whatever he can to help businesses in that way.

Number one social media tool to grow the business

Sue loves Instagram. She spends most of her time hanging around on that platform. A tool that helps her be more creative to give her back some of her time to make it as time-effective as possible. Anything that she uses, that helps her with maybe a third-party scheduler, or something like Hootsuite, that allows her to plan and get ahead of herself a little bit is a massive tool that Sue would like to sort of definitely use moving forward.

Sue always try and recommend ones that have free options. So it's not going to break her clients' budget in any way. She helps them to get some of their time back as well. Because often they're running their businesses full time, social media could be full time if you're really clever about it. She gives them tools that help them to use their time most effectively.

For Becky's business, LinkedIn has been the top of the agenda, especially since the first lockdown. She kind of dabbled in it before that. She made a conscious decision to kind of really go for it since the first lockdown and post on it regularly. Becky posts lots of value on there. Lots of opinions. And she had genuinely seen the fruition of that. Probably since about October time, with people coming to her and sort of client business due to that work that she had done. For her clients, she specializes in B2C, so Facebook and Instagram. She loves Facebook, and also the opportunities. The opportunities for Facebook apps, as well as the organic side of things.

For Kim, the biggest tool that she used to grow her business has been Facebook. They literally left their agents for five years last year, just before the global pandemic struck. And luckily, in that time, Kim has been building up the Facebook page, She has been utilizing the pixel on there also been running ads. She also did a competition to get people to like the post and, and a lot of them ended up following Kim's business because she invited them to like the page. And Facebook has been the biggest, biggest thing for heir holiday cottage fitness. They also use Instagram, but it's a bit more sort of as a compliment, mainly because you can't share as many links and you can't and it's not as real-time as Facebook. Kim finds that people had to Instagram perhaps in the evening or first thing in the morning and they'll spend like 10 or 20 minutes there. Whereas she thinks Facebook people dip in and out of all day. You've also got Messenger that links really nicely into Facebook as well. So setting up the automated messages on the Facebook page has really helped. Facebook has been number one in building her cottage business and helping them to move independently from an agent as well.

She wouldn't want to completely build her business on Facebook land, so the email lists and you know, the other forms of communication are really important to that.

The biggest tool that she uses is notes on her phone, and on her computer, The other really good thing is a scheduler, she uses Content Cal, It's really good for shuttling Twitter posts, and LinkedIn, and Planoly. It's fantastic for planning out an Instagram grid, where you can just really see visually how it's gonna look. And getting your hashtags in and do it really, really focusing on your brand, plan.

The other thing is an awareness diary for awareness days that you can create content around the peak point in your business. And you're always talking about something new and starting conversations.

For Craig, the best tool for his is his iPhone 10. It comes everywhere with him, he can run the business with it, even in downtime. You know, you're sitting in a car park waiting or you know, any downtime like that you can you can do posts, you can run your business, right? Check your emails, it can mention the notes section, He keeps all the hashtags he uses for Instagram in there, so he doesn't have to type them every time you just copy and paste them.

He also uses his G drive and Google Drive quite a bit to plan my social media posts. He actually created a calendar with 365 posts ready to go for this year. So the idea was already there written out. And then in a month or a week in advance, I can just go in, expand on the post, and then sort of tweak it to the business on helping with.

For his business, Facebook has been the best because he runs a Facebook group in there. But for his clients, he's got two different clients. One is an IT recruitment company. So for them, LinkedIn is the best and their Facebook page does nothing but LinkedIn, so it gets really good interaction.

Craig got another client who's got a food business and into Instagram and Facebook are the best. Now he's using Creator Studio A little bit more and he's finding actually that the Instagram posts get many, many more likes than the Facebook posts. But it tends to be the Facebook posts, get more comments, and that type of interaction. So he's seeing different results at the moment.

About Creator Studio

Facebook Creator Studio is the place to go, if you've already got a Facebook business page, or you will have Facebook Creator Studio, so you just type it into search bar, and it will come up.

Craig posts an image to Instagram. And he writes out his post, put the hashtags in there you can put in the place, you can tag other businesses, you can alt tag the image in there, and then underneath, you can then tick whether you want to post it at the same time to your Facebook page as well. And then you can schedule it to go out at a particular time. So from there, that's mainly what Craig uses it for is for simple images just to go out on Facebook and Instagram at the same time. And you can also do Instagram lives in there. You can see your statistics, you can see how many comments you've had and what your reach is. And it gives you all that information as well. I love that.

About third-party schedulers

Sue used Creator Studio but it's a little bit glitchy, She found something like Hootsuite and it's the one she had stuck with. She knows there's a lot of other good ones out there. She genuinely doesn't think it's had any real impact on the reach. She doesn't schedule months ahead. She only ever goes a week ahead. So it's there to be changed and adapted and improved on if she needed to. She really thought that there was an issue on that. She's got between eight and 10 clients. She couldn't do it any other way without using a third-party tool for her sanity.

One advice getting around that you disagree with

For Kim, one is spamming tagging. People telling people to tag everyone in the post and when people say, use only like eight hashtags, on your Instagram post. Kim believes that the more hashtags you can use, that are really relevant to your audience. And the deeper you can go with your hashtag research, the better, the best thing you can do is not use the really popular ones like most motivation Monday, or generic ones, if you can actually search for, say Devin property, or Devon holiday cottage, that will get far more reviews, because that's actually what people are using Instagram for to search for that one thing. And you'll get a far better reach and engagement on your posts.

For Sue, it's when people say just post exactly the same content at the same time across every channel. Sue believes that they all have their own audiences. They have their own platform specificities, if you like, and having that kind of overview where you think you're going to hit everyone with what posts going out across the board. She will adjust what she is writing for the different platforms and make sure that they go when the audiences are there. The analytics on all of the platforms are there to be used. And you can go on and very easily see when your pages or when your platforms are our viewed by your followers. So use that time more sensibly to post your content when you know that your audience is there.

For Becky, it's when you see about 50 hashtags on a Facebook post and about 10 at symbols because people obviously aren't tagged on Facebook as they are in Instagram. The other thing is when she hears people say, if you've not got an image, just use a stock photo. If you're not paying for, you know, for decent ones, it doesn't look authentic. And in her experience, that definitely doesn't go down as well in the Facebook and Instagram algorithms. Also, if you're posting, for example, a picture of somebody's food, like a Sunday lunch, that is what people are going to expect when they come to you. And if it's completely different, they're going to be like, what's this? You know, it's nothing like that.

For Craig, it's when people say that you need to hustle to your eyeballs bleed, you need to work your fingers to the bone. You need to not sleep until you're a millionaire. Craig believes that you just enjoy your life as well. You can't be on it 24 seven, just pick the channels that are right for you. And work with those channels. You don't need to be on every single channel, trying to create different content for different audiences. Just work out where your audience is, and create your content to them and speak to them. You don't need to be working so hard that you just get burnt out. So it's more of a wellness and mindfulness answer from me.

About Keyword Hashtag

Whenever Kim is doing an Instagram post for a client, for example, and she's looking for hashtags, specifically, she will probably spend it up to 10 to 15 minutes, maybe looking at those hashtags for that particular post, because it needs to relate to the image and to the text, you can't just copy and paste, copy and paste, copy and paste. If she is doing some blog writing, then she will go to Google and she will start typing into the search. Like, how many what to do and Devin with, and then she'll see what comes up just to see what people are searching for, like teenagers, that's a good one.

You can't rush keyword research. The main thing is to look what everyone else is searching for and to think what your customer is searching for.

For Becky, she probably wouldn't spend 15 minutes on every post. What she does for her clients on a regular basis, though, is she spends quite a bit of time looking at their competitors and seeing what keywords and hashtags they are using. And obviously, they're not always the right ones. But you can kind of obviously gauge to see what kind of results they are getting. So one of the first things she does when she picks up a new client is, is do that kind of thing.

Kim also uses a tool, something called answer the public.It will give you lots of different questions that are similar to something that you pop into the search engine. And it's probably a little bit more useful for blogs. But it does also help to see the sort of questions across the internet that are asked about a specific subject. So you know that you can maybe talk about those things on your social media.

Craig also uses Tube Buddy, even the free version, very good to give you some keywords in there. He also uses YouTube. He puts in his phrase, and then he looks at what's a similar word that means the same thing. So use an alternative word that has a similar meaning. So you know, different people might be putting something similar in and then obviously, you're looking at the search results, you're looking at what's coming up in the drop-down in the search bar, or completing the search and what comes up at the very bottom. And there are different searches down there because it says people also search for and that gives you some good research there.

And then also just look at what other local businesses are using in the area. Craig got clients in areas where he doesn't live so he doesn't know about the region or about the geography so he looks At what the other businesses are using in that area, and see if they're relevant to the business he is working for.

For Sue, when she puts together a social media strategy for a client, the first thing she does is a competitor analysis. And that is literally like going out and seeing exactly what the client believes are their competitors, and how they're managing on social media. For Sue, knowledge is power, how can we possibly really counter an argument or counter our campaign against another business if we have no idea how they are actually performing. And it's pulling those strengths, those weaknesses, those opportunities, and the threats altogether, from what you can see that your competitors are or are putting out there. So that's usually a big chunk of work that she likes to get started with, on the sort of keyword and sort of hashtag research.

Sue spends 15 minutes every post, but she tries and does a lot of that at the beginning as part of the strategy to create what she would call hashtag collections. So it's like a series of maybe 10, to 20 hashtags around certain themes or campaign areas that she wants to look at. And then she will search those hashtags and bring those into the collections. So that she will have a nice selection of a couple of big ones, a couple of middle ones, but then more specific ones. You could do a lot of that organically.

Sue was able to use another tool called Flick, which basically allows her to develop these collections by putting in keywords and then developing 10 to 20-30 collections of different hashtags around certain themes. And again, those are measured in the hierarchy. She's looking at larger ones, smaller ones, and sort of medium-sized ones. She finds that bringing all of that together, bring it all that into the strategy.

Sue also got a good tool that Craig mentioned, once she'd got all of those hashtags in place, putting all of those into her phone into notes. She's been able to just pull them from Flick and copy them across into Hootsuite, which is what she would tend to do, and mixing them up, don't get stale with your hashtags, don't use the same 30 in the same order post after post after post, really try and mix them up.

The Facebook business pages are changing but Sue finds it lovely that the dedicated newsfeed because it disappeared for a while it's now come back. And it's now been put in a more prominent place. And again, that's a great way of working and seeing what else is going on out there. And also a top tip is to look at the page transparency tab on Facebook business pages, because again, you can go down into that and find out what similar types of businesses are doing on the advertising side, which again will give you information to plan your own campaign.

Quickfire questions

What have you changed your mind on in the past five years?

Craig: BBC

Kim: You don't have to always go with like a big agent. You've just got to put in the effort, the time and build up your channels and reach people and talk about what you do.

Sue: Years ago, couldn't get my head around Facebook advertising because I just saw it's a load of nonsense. But I've subsequently been on courses have qualifications trained in it, and I can see how marvelous it is. And it is a fantastic tool. Now they've actually stopped my ad account. I'm slim, I'm a bit like that. But luckily, I've got another two I can rely on but they are very hit and miss on what they're doing at the moment. And I think once they back on, normal service will resume and she'll be in a more positive frame of mind when it comes to it. But I can really see the value now and I know I understand it. It's not the dark art that people think it is. And you know, you can get your head around it, you can learn the skills and it makes a massive difference.

Becky: Teachers. Because I haven't had to homeschool my two kids in the last three lockdowns and I completely take my hat off to them. Whereas before I probably thought that they maybe had a little bit of a jolly over the summer and it wasn't that hard. I have absolutely no idea how they do it. I mean, yes, they get paid for it. And they're trained to do it and they don't have to do a full-time job as well as home school.

What absurd, stupid or fun thing do you do but somebody else looks at you and goes, What are you doing?

Sue: TikTok. I have done three Tiktoks myself, and that's it. But I just like to go on and watch people do all the silly dances, all of the stupid dogs, cats, all of that. That's my guilty pleasure where I just go and watch. I'll have no you know, any other social media that I go and I'm thinking about what I'm doing. I just watch it and I enjoy it. And I just love all of that. But recently, I've now joined just when they brought out another social media is Clubhouse. And now I spend I would say about 2-3 hours a day listening to clubhouse whilst I'm pretending I'm working over here. So it's kind of taking over Tiktok a little bit but that's a bit too working so it's not so fun. much fun.

Becky: My best performing post on LinkedIn this year was when I shared the family lockdown Boogie that my eldest daughter made us do video dance. I listen to absolute Radio 80s while I'm working,

Craig: I have tunneled tik tok dance so to keep my daughter happy, who's just about 12 years old now. I really enjoy decorating. And particularly getting the lines right at the edge where the wall meets the ceiling, or the wall meets the skirting board. My three kids have all played football. And that's the one time a week where I can go out and get some fresh air and I enjoy being the linesman and no one else wants to do it. So I enjoy running up and down the line with the flag.

Kim: Going out chop firewood. We would like burlap kindling. Or it's just a really good way to get rid of stress. And it's quite productive as well. And any get to like a nice fire afterwards as well. And then my other thing I've just started doing is sea swimming.

What are you excited about that is coming up? Do you have a social media account that you follow that you really like?

Craig: Personally, I'm looking forward to the hotels reopening. I miss the adrenaline of running the hotel. For social media account, it's you, Mark.

Kim: I cannot wait to start travelling again, I have a real thing for travel. And it's killing me not being able to just get in, get out of the country, or just go to town really. We do a lot of sailing as well. So I can't wait to get the Channel Islands and, you know, really sort of start doing things like that, again.

I'm quite excited about clubhouse I've been there a couple of weeks, I think that's gonna be a really good platform for people sharing anything really creating what's different groups and rooms. And I think it'd be brilliant for podcast guests. You know, just if you're like trying to find someone to go on your show, or you're looking for someone to follow. And it's actually a really good place at the moment where there's still a chance to sort of really be out with people that you might not have ever had access to. So I think clubhouse will be really, really exciting for all industries. I think you need to pick and choose your time that you spend there, because I think it's a massive time suck, and you could be there for hours.

For social media accounts, it was a couple actually. It's a very good one for social media managers called work in social, they said on Instagram, which is full of memes of people working in social media, which is just hilarious. And then also Janet Murray, UK, Jan Murray, UK is a fantastic account for getting ideas for everything to do with social media. And her Instagram reels and tiktoks are very good at the moment as well. So they're really worth watching, especially if you like ever struggle with creating content, that they're just brilliant, they're really, really fun as well, it's a really good way to learn.

Sue: I'm looking forward to sort of getting back to normal getting back in the office being able to have my door open, and people can actually walk in the office and speak to me, I've spent the last 10 months doing zoom workshops, which is exhausting. And so I've just want to get people back into my little boardroom that I have. And we could have a nice lunch. And we can have nice coffee and do all the things that we used to do, which takes away a lot of the pain and agony when they're trying to learn about social media. So I'm really looking forward to getting back to that and going on holiday somewhere anywhere, just somewhere such Sunday would be lovely.

Who do I follow? Gosh, hundreds of people but people that stick out to me are many members of digital women. And that's been a really good support mechanism through lockdown as well as being you know, just people who are doing the same job as me who I can actually talk to about various things. It's been nice. And it's a really good networking platform. So anything that digital women do, it's a great organization, and I like to follow them. But for a bit of fun, there's also social t, it's kind of like an anonymous place that social media managers can send in the awful things that they get asked to do at work and they kind of put them out in quite a humorous way. You know something along the lines where the CEO goes, can we completely shift our strategy this afternoon? And can you take everything down that you've just planned all those kind of funny things as a social media manager if your client turns around and says that you really feel it and you know how painful that is. So that's quite a fun, fun, fun account I got to follow as well.

Becky: What I'm excited about is probably everything that the other three guys have said very similar I'd read I'd actually written down just being able to interact properly with people again, whether that be when I'm delivering training and events, visiting, hospitality travel. I miss travel so so much to me. I work For my holidays, and my travel, I absolutely love that side of things. And when you're delivering workshops, like so I do live lots of workshops online, it's never quite the same as having that feedback that you get when you are there in the room in front of people. It's different, and we've had to do it obviously. And we, we have pivoted, for want of a better word.

And in terms of accounts, and I'm going to do this slightly differently. And there's a couple of Facebook pages in the hospitality sector that I think do things very well. One of them is a local restaurant to me, called grumpies, and I just love their Facebook page. It's so authentic, it's so people-orientated. It's just a small independent business, and they just really get it right as far as I'm concerned. And then especially during the last lockdown, rockliffe Hall did some great stuff on their Facebook page as well. So they're kind of like just a couple at the top of my head that I would recommend for people to look at for inspiration. And then there's just there's a controversial guy, I don't know if anybody knows him at all, and follows him on LinkedIn called Chris Williams. And if you follow Chris, and he's he's quite fun to follow, because he puts out controversial opinions and statements, etc, on his LinkedIn, which a lot of us wouldn't dare to put out there. But it gets amazing engagement and interaction. So if you want to look at a way that other people are doing things completely differently, then give him a follow. And he's probably like Marmite, I would say he probably either love or hate what is doing.

Follow our guests on social media

Kim's Instagram: @devonlysocial

Craig's Facebook Group: Restaurant Industry Network Group.

Becky's Linkedin: Becky Whittaker

Sue's Linkedin: Sue Thompson UK

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