social media

Building a Social Media Strategy

Building a Social Media Strategy | Lemon and the Sea: How to build a simple and effective social media strategy that will help you grow your business.

I have to be honest with you: I struggle to maintain a consistent social media presence. 

When I first started Lemon and the Sea, I fell into the trap of believing that I had to be on every platform, posting all the time. It was exhausting. I would spend hours each morning scheduling posts to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and then I would constantly check in to see who was engaging. I tried every new platform that came along - including Periscope for about two minutes.

Finally, I realized something very important - I couldn't give my best if I was trying to be everywhere.

Narrow down your platforms

When you're trying to build your social media presence, start with one or two platforms. Sure, you may be able to handle more, but in order to really put your best into it, you need to focus. Plus, your audience probably isn't hanging out on every platform. Figure out where you can best reach them - Instagram and Facebook for me - and be sure to show up.

Have a plan

You already know that it's important to be sharing content consistently if you want your audience to trust you, but that's not always easy to do when you're in the middle of client work and running a business. That's why it's so important to have a plan.

  • Lay out what kind of content you want to share. You could even set a schedule about what you post of different days of the week so that you're not always selling or always posting personal content. Change it up to cover hard selling, soft selling, personal content, and advice.
  • Figure out the best posting times. These will depend on your audience and the platform, but it you can figure out when your posts are most effective, it will be easier to reach people with less effort.
  • Spend a few minutes engaging with your dream client and your audience. Social media is about being social, so make sure you're engaging with others. If you only ever post about your business and never connect on other people's posts, they will be less likely to engage with you.
  • Learn the lingo of your platform. Should you use hashtags? An emoji? Take a look at what successful people are doing on your platform and see if it will work for you.
  • Be true to yourself. Here's the most important thing about any social media strategy - you still have to be you. If you're not the type to use en emoji in every post, then don't (I'm not). If you don't want to share photos of your kids, don't. The purpose of being visible on social media is to let people connect with you - so be yourself.

Scheduling is saving

For a while, I felt like scheduling out my posts for the week (or month or year) was cheating because I wasn't really engaging. But I've learned that as a busy entrepreneur, if I want to engage consistently, I have to schedule posts. It doesn't mean that I don't show up at unscheduled times as well, but it does mean that I don't have to worry about forgetting to post. These are some of my favorite scheduling tools:

  • Tailwind - I use Tailwind to schedule my Pinterest posts. Each Monday morning, I set aside time to schedule out the entire week. I have a paid plan, but I like Tailwind because it keeps track of your best posting times and lets you add them to your schedule easily.
  • Buffer - I use Buffer for scheduling to Facebook and Twitter. It's easy to set a schedule and plan out posts in advance so you don't have to worry about logging in to do it throughout the day. One word of advice - make sure that you add a separate description for Facebook posts or you wont' be sharing any content.
  • Later - I use Later to schedule my posts for Instagram. I can schedule up to 30 posts per month on the free plan, so I usually plan at least a week in advance and upload some edited images that fit my feed. With Later, I get a notification that it's time to post on my phone, so it's not entirely automated, but it's much easier to post when everything just needs to be copied and pasted.

Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.

Why People are More than Numbers

Why People are More than Numbers | Lemon and the Sea: Why people are more than just numbers

Why People are More than Numbers | Lemon and the Sea: Why people are more than just numbers

I believe that growing a successful and purpose-based business is about more than numbers. It's about creating a space where others can come to find truly helpful, kind, grace-filled content and connection.

Your purpose must be more than making more money or getting new followers.

In the internet age, where trolls abound and anyone can post, follow, comment, and like, it's important to create genuine relationships with people. As we all engage and socialize (if you can really call it that) more and more through technology, people have become desperate for human connection.

In the world of big, faceless business, people want to work with someone they know and trust. And to be successful, you need to become one of those people.

It's about more than the numbers: it's about the people behind those numbers and the truly successful businesses and brands know that.

Create a sense of community and connection.

So how do you connect more personally when you're busy running your business and just trying to keep up? Set aside some time each day or each week to engage with the people following you.

  • Respond to comments. All of them. If someone has taken the time to write a comment, whether it's on your blog, Instagram, or somewhere else, they're truly interested and invested. Respond to them with an answer that shows that you cared enough to check them out and create a unique reply.
  • Thank your followers. This is mostly for Twitter, where you can send a quick "thank you" tweet. Don't set up an auto-responder, but actually take the time to look at their feed or check out their website. After all, you only need to write 140 characters.
  • Join groups + actually contribute: Many Facebook groups have a set of rules that limits self-promotion. Follow these. When you see a question you can answer, craft a helpful reply. If you have a question, go ahead and ask (and be sure to thank the people who answered).
  • Respond to emails: Even if someone is pitching something you're not interested in (unless you state on your website that you don't do that sort of thing). If someone took the time to write an email with a question, a thank you, or just to say hi, it means that you mean something to them. Write back and please write something more than just a canned response.
  • Comment on blog posts: When you read a blog post you enjoyed, leave a comment. It's great way to start engaging with people you admire.
  • Provide compliments with your critiques: This really holds true in Facebook groups, but you should really do this any time you're offering a critique or advice, whether someone has asked for it or not. People are a lot more open to you if you point out some positives as well as things they could improve.
  • Answer questions in your field: I believe that there's enough work and money to go around. Don't be afraid to give away stuff for free or to answer questions that you might normally get paid for. If you're being helpful and sharing your knowledge, people are going to see you as an expert.
  • Follow the rules: Read them and stick to them. And don't get upset if you break them and have to deal with the consequences.
  • Be kind: People don't really want to hear that you hate their work or that they made a stupid decision. And you won't look good if you're constantly putting others down.
  • Treat people as friends, not future sales: It drives me crazy when every email I receive from someone is a sales pitch. People know that you have to make a sale to earn money and keep working, but make sure you're doing more than just pitching. Let people know what you have to offer without pressure and then move on. If someone is going to buy from you, it will happen.
  • Never be afraid to let someone new in: Everyone online is working hard to make their dreams come true. Don't limit yourself to the people you're already collaborating or working with. New people bring a fresh point of view and they just may be the next big name online. And if you are that new person trying to break in, reach out. If you're struggling to find your "tribe" or people to collaborate with, go out and make your own group.
  • Be yourself: This is probably the most important point. Sure, business and engagement may push you outside of your comfort zone, but that doesn't mean you need to put on a false front. Be as open and authentic as you can be and always stay true to your values.

Now, go out and make some new online connections. Be brave, be open, and be kind.

Tell Me, How do you engage online?

Get the Most From a Twitter Chat

Get the Most Out of a Twitter Chat | Lemon and the Sea: Twitter chat tips + advice and a list of chats to check out.

I'm going to admit something to you here. I got onto Twitter really late in the game. Like, only six months ago.

When my friends first started talking about and using Twitter, I had absolutely no interest. I didn't want to take the time to put my thoughts into 140 characters and I certainly didn't want to be one of those people who tweets about every single thing in their day. I don't like sharing that much of my life online.

It wasn't until I started my business that I realized the potential that Twitter has, especially for online business owners. Now, I tweet about 10 times per day (I use Buffer to schedule tweets, so I'm not logging in and out all the time) and I'm involved in Twitter chats a few nights a week. Why the change? Because working for myself can be lonely and Twitter is a great place to start engaging with people who are struggling with the same thing. I've found a ton of great people on Twitter that I've ended up connecting with more personally. I actually found most of my Inspired Online guests on Twitter!

So how can use start using Twitter more intentionally?

There are a ton of posts out there about using Twitter to reach your target audience and promote your business, so I don't want to give you all that advice again. Instead, I'm going to explain how I use Twitter for my business.

  1. Start by following people you admire. If you're reading someone's blog or are interested in their services, following them on Twitter can be a great place to see them a little more personally.
  2. Engage with your followers. Once people start following you, make sure you thank them. I take a few minutes each day to write personalized comments to new followers. Don't write just a standard "thanks for following" message because that will turn people off. Instead, take the time to visit their website or read their tweets. I also find new people I'd like to follow this way.
  3. Tweet content your audience needs. I schedule my tweets each morning and balance tweeting my own stuff (services, announcements, blog posts) with tweeting about other people's work. If I find something inspiring or informative, I'll tweet about it because I know someone else out there needs to read it to.
  4. Give credit to other people's work. When you tweet out someone else's blog post or service, make sure you tag them. This helps you engage with that person and can also help others see you as helpful and informed.
  5. Join Twitter parties. It took me a while to start doing this, but once I jumped in I loved the community that I found. Now, not every Twitter chat is going to be right for you, but you can find something that's going to encourage you. Check out the chats that people you admire are joining.

Avoiding overwhelm in Twitter parties

If you've ever seen a Twitter chat blow up your feed, you know how intimidating they can seem. In fact, it took me a while to try out new chats because of the number of people and tweets I was seeing. Those things can move fast! I've found a few things that work for me in Twitter chats.

  1. Use multiple tabs. Okay, I know most people recommend Tweet Deck, but I'm just not a huge fan. I tried it once and felt like I couldn't handle it, so I reverted back to my old ways. I have one tab open to the Live feed for the chat's hashtag, another open for my notifications, and a third open to the chat's host if I'm afraid of missing questions.
  2. Copy the hashtag. You have to use the hashtag of the chat for your tweets to show up in the feed, so I always copy the hashtag before I start. This way, I just have to paste it in to each tweet instead of typing.
  3. Engage with just a few people. If you can keep up with everyone, that's great! But for us normal humans, picking a few people to concentrate on can make things easier. Read their answers and reply. If you see someone else's tweet you can always favorite it, but trying to talk to everyone means that you aren't making real connections.
  4. Be honest. The whole point of joining a Twitter chat is to answer the questions that the host asks (make sure you use A and the question number so no one gets confused). Be as honest as you're comfortable with. And if you're going to promote your own work, make sure it's relevant to the topic or the conversation you're having.

My favorite Twitter parties

There are lots of these lists out there and mine is nowhere near comprehensive, but there are a few chats I try to join every week.

  • #ambitionista Mondays at 9 pm EST
  • #fireworkpeople Tuesdays at 9 pm EST
  • #liveloudly Every other Wednesday at 7 pm EST (this one moves a little slower, so it's a great place to start)
  • #createlounge Wednesdays at 8 pm EST
  • #ellechat Thursdays at 8 pm EST (Lauren just had her first live video chat yesterday, so you can check out what she's doing next)
  • #blisschat Thursdays at 9 pm EST

Check out these chats or find some that fit you! I'd love to see you and get to tweet live.

What chats do you normally join?