This article originally appeared in the June 2015 issue of Nova Scotia Business Journal and the June 3, 2015 issue of the Truro Daily News.
TRURO – In just over two years, Michelle McCann has picked up 10 clients.
To some that might not seem a lot, but to the owner and operator of Bold and Italic Social Communications, it takes up quite a lot of her time.
“My biggest clients would be the Halifax Comedy Festival and the Busker Festival, and locally Inglis Jewellers and Take it Outside,” said McCann, who started the social communications business in 2013.
The comedy festival was McCann’s first client, jumping on board only two months in to her business.
Of the 10 clients she currently has, she looks after their social media accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter.
When it comes to leveraging the power of social media, McCann said one of the biggest tips she has is about budgeting time and staff to do it.
“A lot of the small businesses don’t have the time, but you need to dedicate some time daily to pay attention to it,” she said from her office in the old Margolians building on Inglis Place. “If you see clients talking to you, you need to be talking back to them. Take the time to post to your social media accounts, and even time to plan it.”
She said many small businesses may only have one or two people working, but the key to managing social media accounts is to work it into the schedule, and also the budget.
She said having some money for advertising and marketing is a good idea, especially with the way some of the sites, including Facebook, work.
“Just because you have it popping up on some people’s feeds, it doesn’t always get seen by the people you want,” she said, adding that roughly five to 10 per cent of followers will actually see posts on Facebook.
“If you want to give that a little boost, it’s great to have some money on hand. Even if it’s just one to two dollars a day. You can literally spend tens of dollars,” she said.
But it’s not just about actually posting to social media that will garner success – it’s also about what you’re posting, says McCann.
“Think about what you want your personality to be. Show the person the behind the scenes.”
She said many people love knowing the people they deal with, and they want to see those faces on social media accounts. McCann also said planning should go into special holidays so they don’t get surprised by them.
“Include those holidays in your marketing and sales plans. Keep your eyes and ears open to things that could affect or boost your business.”
When posting to social media sites, McCann says to stay engaged with clients and “make people aware you’re listening.” She said even the business owner ‘liking’ a comment a client left is a way of listening.
“If you’re asked a question, answer it. You would never let your phone keep ringing. It’s the same situation. Your social media accounts are an extension of your customer service,” she said. “A lot of businesses just don’t pay attention. Pay attention to your feeds and pages.”
She said business owners need to also pay attention to their environment. She said one client wanted to launch a contest to the Boston Comedy Festival, which was to be promoted beginning the day of the Boston Marathon.
But that was the day two brothers set off homemade bombs, killing three and injuring more than 260.
Needless to say, the contest launch was yanked that day.
“It’s about using common sense.”
While many people are hesitant about using social media, McCann said to have fun with it.
“Social media is not supposed to be painful, but it can be and will be, but it’s supposed to be an extra way to reach out to customers. Enjoy it. Don’t be afraid to play around with different things.”