Social Media Basics for Newbies
Updated: Mar 2
If you've let the social media train pass you by, or you're technology challenged and just can't seem to get started, here's a basic lesson to help you.
What is Social Media?
Social media are websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. There are many social media platforms out there: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Pinterest, Twitter and Snap Chat. The most popular platforms for florists that will help build your customer base are Instagram and Facebook. Both are visual mediums and will get your name and brand out there if you use them correctly. In this blog, we will focus on these two platforms.
Why use Social Media?
Social media is quick, easy to use once you get the hang of it, and a very inexpensive way to advertise your business. Because almost everyone has a phone these days and we get a large part of our information that way, it is the best way to reach potential customers. Social media gets you results quickly, because you can see how many people are looking at your ad and going to your website for more information. You may not get a sale right away when you post something - but it will build your following and get your name out to potential customers, so they think of you first. You don't have to post fancy videos or be an expert at photography. The key to good social media is consistency. So let's start with the basics.
You can set up an Instagram account on your computer by going to Instagram.com, or you can set it up through your cell phone. I prefer to set up accounts on my phone, since all my photos are there at my fingertips and I don't have to load them into my computer. It makes posting much easier. You'll need a smart phone to accomplish this.
Here's how to set up your Instagram account on your phone:
Open your Instagram app.
Press the icon of your profile photo at the bottom-right of the screen.
Press your account name.
Select Add Account.
Select Create New Account.
Create a username and password and fill out your profile details.
The next step is writing your profile. Think of this as a quick way for users of Instagram to learn what you do and where to find you. You can include your physical address and phone number, but the most important address information is your website, so people can go to your website and get more information about you. You also need to include a company logo or photo of your business, and a short description of what you do.
Let's take an example from one of our customers, Urban Botanist. The owner, Ashley Polverari, is a wedding designer. Notice how her business photo is herself holding a bouquet. Her description really depicts her style and tells you in few words what her business is all about. There is a link to her website that takes you to her home page. Her website mirrors the pages on her Instagram and there is a connection between the two media.
In order for your Instagram account to be successful, you need to grow your followers. The more eyes on your account, the more people using Instagram will share your account with others, recommend you, and ultimately give you more business. Don't be discouraged if you don't get a lot of followers at first. It takes time to build your base. Instagram is like building friendships - the more you give, the more you get. The more you interact with users, the more relationships you will build.
There are several ways to get followers:
Follow others on Instagram - Follow businesses related to what you are doing. For example, if you design weddings you might consider following caterers, wedding photographers, venues, bridal magazines, flower wholesalers, etc. They will see your posts and start following you back, get to know you, and help build your follower base.
Post frequently - It is extremely important to post consistently and with frequency. You don't need to post every day, or several times a day, but if you have a regular schedule and post 2-3 times a week, that is probably enough. People don't want to see postings by the same company all the time every day and you will get lost in the shuffle if you post inconsistently or not enough.
Use Hashtags - A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media websites and applications, to identify digital content on a specific topic. For example, if you use the hashtag flowers (#flowers), your photo will appear with all the other users that have used the #flowers hashtag on their posts. If you search the #flowers hashtag, you'll see tons of photos and videos. If you click on one you're interested in, it will bring you to the person's Instagram post. Many people search hashtags to get ideas, learn about new things and start following people.
Tag others in your posts and get others to tag you - when you create a post and tag another person, they receive a message that you've mentioned them in your post. By tagging people and getting them to tag you - you'll be seen by all of their followers too - further promoting your business across many Instagram users.
Comment and like other people's posts - If you comment and like other people's photos, chances are they will comment and like yours back. This further expands your social network.
How to Post:
A post is simply a visual element with a description about it. You can "post" a photo, story or video clip (reel). To create a post, simply go to your Instagram page and hit the Plus (+) sign in the upper right corner. There is a drop down menu, which allows you to post a photo, story or reel. Photos and reels stay on your Instagram page, unless you take them off. Stories appear for only 24 hours and you can tell if someone has a story, because their photo will appeal with a red circle around it across the top of your Instagram profile.
To post a story, tap your profile image at the top left hand corner and that will bring you to your photos and videos. You can select a photo or several photos to include in your story. Go to the top and you'll see icons that allow you to put words or visual effects on your story. The best way to learn how do do a story is to experiment and start playing with it. The more you try, the more you will learn.
Stories get seen by more people than posts or reels because they appear at the top of your Instagram feed, so people tend to click on these rather than taking the time to scroll through their feed. You can see who has viewed your stories by tapping on your story.
When you post a photo, write something about it and then below it, include hashtags. When you post a story, you can post a video or photo and at the top of page, you can add text, special effects, hashtags, etc. Explore it a bit and see what you can find.
Make sure you pick photos and videos that are consistent with the look and feel of your business. If you want to appeal to an upscale consumer base, make sure you use high caliber, beautiful photos. If you're an every day florist, you'll want to post about holidays and occasions. Post your everyday designs and specials to show people what you do.
You can link your Instagram account with your Facebook page, but first you'll need to set up Facebook.
Here's how to set up your Facebook account on your phone:
Facebook set up works very similar to Instagram, but is a bit more involved. You can create a Facebook page for your business and connect it to your personal account, or do a separate business account:
Open your Facebook app.
Press sign up and work through the prompts.
You then create a "page" for your business, which is like what you are doing in Instagram. Log into your Facebook account. In the left sidebar, click on the Pages section. Click the Create a Page button
Upload your profile picture and cover photo. These photos should usually include some combination of your company logo, pictures of your product, and other branding components. You can either upload the picture from your phone, computer, or add a link from another website. After you upload a picture, click "save photo".
Write a description that describes your business. This is a good place to use some keywords that will help you rank in search engine results. For instance, if you have a flower shop in New Haven, you might want to say New Haven flowers or the name of your flower shop, so people can find you easily.
Add any relevant links, including your website or Yelp Profile.
Let's take a look at Urban Botanist again. Below is her Facebook page. Notice her brief description and her profile page. Immediately you know she is a wedding florist and there is information where you can find her.
Promoting your Facebook page:
With both Instagram and Facebook, you can promote your pages by paying money to be seen. When you're starting out, this is not necessary. Build up the followers for your accounts and then try doing some advertising here and there. It's better to dip your toe in the water before you start spending a lot of money on advertising. You can change your profile photo, add pages, start liking and sharing other people's Facebook accounts to get you shared with people.
Linking Your Instagram and Facebook accounts:
Once you start posting on Instagram, it will ask you if you want to the post to also appear on your Facebook page. You can set it to always do this, so you only have to create one post and it appears on both your Instagram and Facebook pages. This way, you only have to maintain a few items on our Facebook page - like your profile picture, holiday hours, etc.
You can link your Instagram and Facebook accounts by going to your setting in Instagram, Below are the steps to link both accounts:
Tap your profile picture in the bottom right to go to your profile.
Tap in the top right, then tap Settings.
Tap Accounts center at the bottom, then tap Set up accounts center.
Tap Add Facebook account and log in to or select the account you want to connect.
Tap Yes, finish Setup.
Select whether you want to sync your profile photo, then tap Continue.
Once you have your Instagram and Facebook accounts set up, you are ready to start posting and getting more business. The more you practice posting and make it a regular part of your routine, the less intimidating it will be. The idea is to use social media to build relationships and have fun.
"We don't have a choice on whether we DO social media, the question is how well we DO it"