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Navigating the Metaverse

Avatar photo by Jessica Buchholz, Events Coordinator | October 5, 2022

Over the past two decades Facebook has risen to the top of its game acquiring sister applications like Instagram and WhatsApp and connecting with over 3.5 billion people globally – according to the New York Times. I still remember starting grad school and friends asking me if I knew about this “new site” for college students. Long gone are the days of collegiate only profiles, and that was only if you were lucky enough to have your school sign up to be part of the platform.

According to Forbes, last year the average American spent on average 1,300 hours on social media with Facebook leading the way capturing 58 minutes of our daily lives. Instagram was the second most used service, and it remained most popular among Gen-Z users, who spent almost 53 minutes per day, or 297 hours year. Not only has social media spread to all corners of the globe, but it has also become a way of life for people of all ages and backgrounds. There is lots of discussion about the pros and cons of social media and the potential benefits and threats it holds for our society. However, it can not be denied that the use of this technology means that we are communicating in a different way.

With that in mind, it is important to realize the connection between social media and consumer behavior. It is no surprise that the pandemic fueled the rapid growth of social media, giving us a way to stay connected, informed, and explore businesses and products in the digital world. Most small businesses today have some sort of online or social media presence- but understanding the ins and outs of platforms can be nothing short of time consuming and frustrating. 

Last week I traveled to Kansas City to take part in the Meta Boost: Small Business Studios Conference to learn about new marketing techniques through Facebook and Instagram. This conference, promoted by Main Street America, was focused on ways for small business owners to create stronger content, engage customers, and drive sales.

In 2010, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, took a large leap into rebranding the global social media platform to Meta. With this transition, the social media giant also incorporated many brands such as Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram into the Meta family.

The Meta Boost conference mainly focused on how small businesses can capitalize their time by merging their Facebook and Instagram accounts into the Meta Business Suite. Click Here for a quick tutorial on the Meta Business Suite and linking your accounts. Look for the Getting Started with Meta Business Suite Video. 

In addition to streamlining accounts, other main themes of the conference focused on setting marketing goals, creating engaging content, and communicating with customers on your platforms.

In terms of setting goals, it is important to remember that not everyone’s marketing goals for social media will look the same. Some businesses want to use social media for building awareness of their brand and services, while some consider them tools to sell products. Setting social media goals helps you stay focused and not go down the rabbit hole of just randomly posting or throwing up content with out a real purpose.

When setting your goal here are some things to remember:

-Make sure to be specific. For example, maybe your goal is to have 50 more followers by the end of the month or maybe it is to sell 20 candles.

– Have data you can use to measure. You can track your followers and your sales.

-Make sure your goals are achievable. What is a realistic number? 1,000 new followers in 30 days or 50? 20 Candles or100 (depends on your sales patterns)?

-Are your goals relevant to your brand? Make sure your content represents your brand and your business. If it does not, maybe think twice about posting and diluting future content in their viewers eyes.

-Are your goals timely? Setting both short term and long-term goals is important. Short term goals can help you identify if your strategy is working.

Maybe a long-term goal is to “Increase your presence on Instagram” but a short-term goal is “Gain 50 new followers a month”. If you find you are not hitting your short-term goal, then it might be time to revamp your plan.

Whatever your goals are for utilizing social media for your business, it is important to establish a look and voice for your platforms. Be authentic with your content and use consistent visuals and messages. For more information on building your business brand online click HERE. Look for the first video.

The Meta Businesses Suite also touts digital skills in helping small businesses create posts and personalized ads to attract consumers. Creating a posting schedule can allow you to set your content for the week and monitor responses versus logging on (or forgetting to log on each day). This tool can help your stay focused and use your time effectively. How many times have we logged on to make a business post, become distracted by our news feed or a cat meme, and then 20 minutes later watching Game of Thrones trailers and learning new Dad jokes? My hand is certainly raised – how about yours 😊 But carving out 30 minutes at the start of your week to schedule posts that are relevant in content and timed appropriately (oh shoot it’s the end of the day and I forgot to post) can make all the difference in the world for your schedule and your customer engagement.

Personalized ads that are designed to engage, educate, and excite consumers are also low cost and effective ways to help grow your business. Paying attention to details such as the content in the first three lines of your post along with visual effects all go into consideration when creating an advertisement on social media. For more information on creating the right ad, click HERE. Look for the Reach Your Audience with personalized Ads Video.

The Meta Business suite is also a tool for housing all your customers conversations in one place. Sometimes the number of ways customers can contact you can be overwhelming. Drop-ins, emails, phone calls, and messenger can be a lot to keep up with. However, data shows that customers who have access to businesses on social media prefer to connect with those businesses via messenger versus other modes of communication. Click HERE to watch a video on building your connection with customers through effective messaging – Growing You Business Through Conversation Video.

While there is certainly much more information on effectively utilizing social media for your small business, much more than what can fit into a newsletter, I encourage you to visit this site loaded with free workshops and training on growing your business with Facebook and Instagram.

At the end of the day, it might seem like a lot to digest – and in some instances it can be overwhelming. But in reality, social media is part of our daily lives, and it impacts how we communicate, shop, and stay connected. When used correctly, tools like Facebook and Instagram can be great platforms to build and grow your business and customer base. Whether you are selling art, bathroom soap, tacos, or a service, there is someone out there looking for your business. With over 3 billion people using social media daily, it is important that you are there for them to find you.

If you just aren’t sure where to start, remember that Emporia Main Street also offers consultations on how to start or grow your social media presence. If you would like to arrange a time to meet, please contact the office or send us a message on Facebook or Instagram! 

See ya in the Metaverse!

About the Author

Jessica Buchholz, Events Coordinator

Jessica Buchholz is the Community Development Coordinator for Emporia Main Street in Emporia, Kansas. She specializes in event planning, volunteer recruitment, alternative marketing, media/public relations and fundraising. During Jessica's tenure at Emporia Main Street, she has helped grow events to an international level and she has created a series of new activities to meet organizational goals.