I’ve asked Natalie Sallis, who runs her own fitness and well-being business in my local town, to guest blog for me this month and before you read it I must confess that I do attend her fitness classes on a regular basis, and have done for a few years. My reason for asking her to guest blog though is because she genuinely runs a kick ass Facebook community and what I love most about it is that she didn’t even realise how awesome it was. She just does it. Totally naturally…
Her page, to me, reflects how small businesses can be (and should be) using social media – and also how some public sector orgs could be too! She takes class bookings via facebook, she offers advice and support, she responds within hours, she welcomes non members and gives them the same advice and she celebrates success. Not only that, but she’s always adapting to the changes that Facebook implements, understands what works for her audience (after all social media is all relative!) and as such, has a winning formula.
Here’s what she had to say about being Naturally Social –
“My love of social media began like most people in 2007 with this funny website called Facebook. I scoured my digital camera for my best looking and thinnest picture and set up a profile. Initially I used it to play Pirate and to snoop on the boy I fancied at school and to gloat at the girl who used to bully me when I was younger but very soon the world realised that social media was a viable business commodity.
As a self employed personal trainer; social media is essential in my daily life. It ranks somewhere between the tooth brush and the kettle in how important it is in my daily routine. Social media allows me real time ️access to my colleagues, interaction with potential customers and a platform from which to shout the successes of my clients from. I can instantly create rapport, notify people of changes to class times and even share pictures of hippos planking.
Social media allows me to have 24 hour access to my customers. They forget I can see what they are eating on a Saturday night 😉 I have access to them from my car (when I’m parked of course), my sofa and even the pub (if I went, which of course I don’t as I’m a most responsible personal trainer). Throughout the last 8 years and especially the last 5, Facebook has allowed me to create a network which, for want of a better word, is social. It keeps me on the periphery of people’s awareness which can help them make better health choices, facilitate a community where my clients support each other and help them feel that they are part of something special and unique. They feel like they are part of a team which they are able to pop in or out of.
Of course social media isn’t without its limitations and frustrations. You’re open to ridicule, abuse, a bit of perving perhaps and peoples diet products from Russia. Pages are public, you can only block people once they comment and you’re never quite sure who’s watching and reading. Keeping your posts positive, regular, valuable and current are a sure way to increase organic traffic on your page. My most interactive posts are always those when I’m offering expert advice on common issues.
Here are my top tips when it comes to managing a successful Facebook business page:
1. Be true to you and your business. Know what your business offers, make sure your page reflects it and STICK to it.
2. Use the insight function on your desktop. You’ll be able to see which posts are working for you.
3. Make your posts feel personal yet about other people. Talk about yourself MOSTLY on your private page.
4. Add photos to every post. They will help you stand out in a sea of content .
5. Ask questions to encourage interaction especially if it’s a little contentious. Conversation is healthy..
And finally ….
6. Use the schedule function. I often get told ‘you’re on Facebook all the time…’. Little do people know, 90% of my posts are planned. That way my ‘extra’ posts such as things that happened that day, have a completely natural feel to them because I’m not exerting pressure on myself to say something.
Social media is a great hand held marketing tool. It’s undoubtably made my business a success. I use it for bookings, sales, feedback, cancellations, cross promotion and advice. Best of all, I can enjoy having a personal profile which means I can keep mine and my families life’s private without being sold Russian diet products.”
Natalie is the owner and director at Natalie Sallis. Fitness, Health and Well-being based in Wiltshire.