The Comprehensive Guide to Making Social Media Your B*tch

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Chef Apple-Elgatha has more than 15 years’ experience as an executive chef and food consultant. She has owned her own nightclub, restaurant, and coffee shop, and now owns a catering company called Butter. As the owner of Digital Food and Beverage, she helps restaurateurs, bar owners, and other hospitality venue operators. With over 5 years’ experience in social media management, search engine optimization (SEO) and web design, and a Bachelor of Science in Web Design and Masters in Internet Marketing, Chef Apple-Elgatha founded a marketing and consulting company called Fork, Knife & Spoon, LLC. As if all of that isn’t enough, she also owns PucksList, a job board geared specifically towards the food and beverage industry. To say her life is dedicated to the food and beverage industry is quite the understatement. At the 2016 Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show she shared her passion for mastering social media.

“The goal of social media is to be social, no ifs, ands or buts: just social,” she said. “It is the most important rule, and it’s the only rule that can’t be broken.”

The following is Chef Apple-Elgatha’s comprehensive guide to making Facebook, Twitter and Instagram your bitch.

Facebook - Social media best practices

“Facebook is no longer for tweens. Facebook is here for adults who are looking for advice on where to spend their money and time,” says Chef Apple-Elgatha. “In other words, Facebook is to your business what Krispy Kreme is to your mouth.”

Everybody already knows that Facebook is important. It’s a social media channel on everybody and every business must have a presence. But have you ever taken a look at Facebook by the numbers?

  • Every second there are 20,000 people on Facebook.
  • Facebook has 1.44 billion monthly active users, 1.25 billion mobile users, 936 million daily active users, and 798 million mobile daily active users.
  • Facebook now has more active users than China’s entire population (approximately 1.40 billion people).
  • The average American spends 40 minutes a day on Facebook.
  • 1.3 million pieces of content are shared on Facebook every minute of every day, so yours had better stand out.
  • Younger Facebook users have significantly larger networks than older users: 27% of adults aged 18 to 29 years have more than 500 friends in their network, compared to only 15% of adults aged 30 to 49.
  • An average of 486,183 people access this social network from their devices every minute.
  • Facebook users view 75% of 4 billion videos a day on mobile devices, and 581 million Facebook members are mobile only.
  • 49% of consumers like a Facebook page to support the brand
  • Video posts average 62% more engagement than photos, and posting 1 to 2 times per day yields more engagement because it’s not quantity of posts that counts, it’s quality on Facebook.
  • The overall click-through rate lift from using a call-to-action button is 2.85 times. Examples of such buttons are Shop Now, Book Now, Learn More, Sign Up, and Download.

None of that information helps if you haven’t set up a Facebook page. So, if you don’t have one, go to facebook.com/pages/create. Click to choose a page category, select a more specific category from the dropdown menu, and fill in the required information. Then click “Get Started” and follow the on-screen instructions.

Great – you have a Facebook page! Welcome to the Wide World of Social Networks. Now you need to build your fan base. Define your target market to help you collect information on what they like and what makes them tick. Work on getting your tone right once you understand your target market by talking and acting like them to gain their trust. Hopefully you truly identify with your target market, already sound like them, and will appeal to them with authenticity. Try new things and experiment to identify which types of engagement are right for your target market. It’s important that you’re patient and don’t expect immediate results because it takes time to build trust and relationships. Keep it real, relaxed and relevant: don’t overthink it, and don’t overdo it. If you don’t have anything relevant to post, don’t post – it really is that simple. Consistency is important but quality is key in terms of your posts. To help you avoid looking like spam, create a schedule for your posts and stick to it rather than posting sporadically. Remember to monitor and measure the growth of your fans, learning what works and what doesn’t work.

Facebook allows you to create ads, a feature that can benefit you and your brand. Creating an ad is fairly straightforward:

  • Go to ad creation and then choose an advertising objective.
  • Type in or select from the dropdown what you want to advertise (example: choose Boost Page and click on the page you want to boost). Click continue.
  • Enter your account information and set your account name.
  • Click Set Audience & Budget and fill in your requirements. The audience definition indicator should be as close to specific as possible.
  • Set your budge and click Choose Ad Creative.
  • Add Instagram if you have an account [You’ll learn more about Instagram later!]
  • Click Review Order to make sure everything is right, click Place Order, fill out Billing Information, and you’re set!

In later December of 2013, Facebook clarified their 20-Percent Rule, also known as the 20/80 Rule and 80/20 Rule. This rule states that cover images, ads and promoted images can be consist of no more than 20% text, which includes slogans and logos. Chef Apple-Elgatha recommends using photos that are of real people and real thing. User sentiment research shows that emotions triggered by images of real people, situations and objects are more lasting and compelling than those with words or text. Another reason text overlay should be minimal is that in photos from people’s friends is rare, so it will seem inauthentic if a business uses it too much. Consider using a photo of your products and services in action rather than overlaying your brand logo or slogan on an unrelated image. Keep it simple and use brand logos, campaign slogans and taglines sparingly. This link will take you a helpful tool: https://www.facebook.com/ads/tools/text_overlay.

Facebook 20 80 Rule - Social media best practices

Facebook also lets users boost posts. To do so, go to a post you’ve created and then click Boost Post in the lower-right corner. Choose your audience and budget based on how many people you want to reach and how long you’d like your boost to run. While setting this up you can also change your payment method. Click continue to boost your post. This comes in handy for posts that drive traffic to your website, promote your business, and encourages calls for action and sharing.

Awesome – you know how to use Facebook! Let’s look at Twitter.

Twitter - Social media best practices

It’s best to look at Twitter as a PR manager. It’s a powerful, engaging social media channel. That power is also available to anyone. Every single person with a Twitter account has access to the exact same global media platform as the most powerful journalists in the world. A tweet from an account with only a few followers attached to it can be propelled to viral fame thanks to the power of the retweet.

So, how should you use Twitter?

The Dos

  • Follow others. Get involved in what’s going on in your area of expertise.
  • Follow people with similar interests, and follow the thought leaders in your industry. Both will help you obtain higher visibility.
  • Retweet interesting posts.
  • Tweet, obviously. Post meaningful information, intermingling useful content with conversational pieces.
  • Post bits of educational information relevant to your industry today.
  • Be careful of what you say. Remember that the Internet is written in ink, not pencil. You don’t want to experience the controversy and fallout that many businesses, celebrities and even regular Joes have had to deal with because of ill-conceived tweets or retweets.
  • Create a compelling biography, using your bio to its utmost potential.
  • Because of the character limit imposed on tweets, you should use keywords that are easily searchable to describe yourself and help others to search for and find you.
  • Be professional. Use proper grammar because abbreviations aren’t professional.
  • Learn to use hashtags properly.
  • Shorten URLs using services such as bitly and goo.gl.

The Don’ts

  • Don’t tweet every second.
  • Don’t be too negative.
  • Don’t talk about yourself too much.

Keeping the dos and don’ts in mind, Chef Apple-Elgatha broke down building a strong Twitter following. A simple method is to search your databases and add your contacts to gain more followers. Also, search your brand name to find followers because; if they’re discussing you they’ll probably follow you. Follow leaders and join conversations. Use Klout, PeerIndex and WeFollow to find influential people in your industry, follow them, and participate in their conversations. In general, participate in interesting conversations. Post insightful @replies and comment on relevant hashtags. To leverage blog commenting, find high quality blogs in your industry and leave high quality comments that offer value to other readers. Remember to sign off at the bottom of blog and other website comment sections with your Twitter handle to gain followers. Add social media buttons to your website and business email address. These should be Follow and Retweet/Share buttons. To take advantage of the power of the retweet, retweet high quality and relevant information. Remember to use sponsored tweets. Because contests tend to go viral – and you want viral engagement – host a Twitter contest. Create a prize people would want to fight for, announce the contest on Twitter and Facebook, and your email list, blog, and website. Finally, add your twitter account to all of your promotional materials: business cards, posters, letterheads, pens, website…everywhere.

Effect of retweets - Social media best practices

You can maximize your use of Twitter with images and customized posts. Tweets with photos earn more than 150% more retweets and 18% more clicks. A study found that photos average a 35% boost in retweets, videos get a 28% boost, and quotes get a 19% boost in retweets. Including a number in tweets can result in a 17% bump in retweets, and hashtags receive a 16% boost. It’s also possible to maximize your customer service by using Twitter. The speed of this social media platform can be used to your advantage, so use Direct Message and give great customer service to people who aren’t your customers (yet).

You have now learned how to use two juggernauts of the social media world. Next up is Instagram.

Instagram - Social media best practices

Unlike many other social media platforms, Instagram is primarily mobile. Users can view Instagram on a desktop or laptop once they’ve set up an account but the majority of the activity will take place within the mobile app. Chef Apple-Elgatha strongly recommends creating an account using your work email address and not Facebook. Using your Facebook account to set up an Instagram account will automatically create a page based upon the Facebook page. Use a recognizable username so people can find and follow you, and so that your brand name is secured. Pick the right profile picture, which should be a large version of your logo or something that is very recognizable and associated with your brand. Again, do not import an image from Facebook. It is alright to use an image from Twitter.

While you’re probably capable of filling out an Instagram profile on your own, here are Chef Apple-Elgatha’s tips for profile basics. When it comes to filling out the full name and phone number fields, use your business name unless you’re the face of the business. Insert the phone number that most of your contacts have for you or your business. Make certain to fill out the website and bio fields because it’s the only place Instagram allows users to use a URL. Set up social media sharing by clicking the gear in the upper right-hand corner and then Linked Accounts to link Facebook, Twitter, etc. Log in to your Facebook account, tap Share To, and then specify that you want your business page shared. Post something so that people will have something to look at and a reason to follow you.

Instagram is simple to use but you’ll still need to get your bearings. The Home function allows you to see the latest photos from people you follow. Search is where you look up people, places, things, and hashtags, and also see what people are “favoriting.” Tap the camera icon to start sharing by taking photos or posting photos from your device’s gallery. Notifications show you the most recent people to follow your account and favorite your posts. And the profile tab shows you your full account and everything you’ve posted, and gives you access to the settings.

How to use Instagram - Social media best practices

To post photos, tap the camera icon (it’s the one at the bottom in the center) and either take a picture or share from your photo gallery. If you’d like, apply a filter and/or edit other photo characteristics. Include a brief and fun caption, remembering to be witty and use hashtags. Seriously – always use hashtags.

You can use Instagram for leverage if you follow Chef Apple-Elgatha's tips. First, you need to build an appealing account to attract followers. For Instagram to be effective you need to have a decent amount of followers who are being exposed to your content. High quality and engaging content will get you more followers, so showcase your products and services daily or images of your customers using your products and services. To increase engagement you need to understand that likes and comments will make or break your account. The normal distribution of likes to comments on Instagram is 100 likes for every comment, so offer followers a chance to mention their friends. Contests are an excellent way to achieve that goal. As mentioned before, you need to utilize hashtags. Use hashtags that have to do with your industry, and also create your own that have to do with your business. These will be more searchable on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Keep in mind that hashtags are a method of discovery and sorting content. To communicate which hashtags you’ll be using so that your customers will use them, post signs in your store and on promotional materials that list your hashtags. As with other social media platforms, contests and campaigns help you gain more followers.

To leverage the effectiveness of crowdsourcing, use location tags. Create a location tag for your business to increases the likelihood that your profile and images will be seen. Open up Facebook and create a location for your business. Then, when you go to tag your business’ location, the tag will already be on Instagram. Adding a location to your photo results in 79% higher engagement, so also consider using location hashtags: #Dallas, #Chicago, #ChicagoFood, #EatLocal, etc.

Sweet! You know how to kill it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! If only someone had spelled out when to post…

Best Times to Post

Half of the US population is located in the Eastern Time Zone, and the Eastern and Central Time Zones combined represent almost 80% of the US population. Bear that information in mind when considering the following information:

When to Post on Facebook

  • 1:00pm to 4:00pm late into the week and on weekends
  • Saturday and Sunday: Noon to 1:00pm.
  • Thursday and Friday: 1:00pm to 4:00pm.
  • Wednesday: 3:00pm.

When to Post on Twitter

  • Noon to 3:00pm, with a peak best time at 5:00pm. During the workweek is best.
  • Wednesday at Noon and 5:00pm to 6:00pm.
  • Monday through Friday: Noon to 3:00pm and 5:00pm
  • Experiment with 2:00am to 3:00am, 6:00pm to 7:00pm, and 9:00pm to 10:00pm.

When to Post on Instagram

  • Instagram audiences are engaged throughout the week.
  • Mondays seem to get more attention than any other day.
  • Monday and Thursday at any time other than 3:00pm to 4:00pm.
  • Videos any day at 9:00pm to 8:00am.
  • Experiment with 2:00am, 5:00pm, and Wednesday at 7:00pm.

Two excellent resources for dialing in your profiles are Fanpage Karma and Followerwonk. You can also follow and reach Chef Apple-Elgatha via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+, Snapchat and Periscope through @IAMCHEFAPPLE, @DIGITALFandB and @PUCKSLIST. Happy posting!