At BarbacoApparel, staying creative is a full-time job. And creativity doesn’t start and end with product development; it creeps into every aspect of our small business—specifically social media. This week we talk to partner Richard Diaz, our social media guru, to learn about his social media strategies for BarbacoApparel and tips for other small businesses.
Prior to starting the business, what was your experience with social media?
I’d really only used social media on a personal level, but I guess you could say I got my start during the days of MySpace and LiveJournal.
How did you go about learning what to do?
Research. I’d scour the Internet looking for ideas, tips, and best practices. But, when it comes down to it, every business is different. So I had to test certain things out and see what worked best for our business, and what didn’t.
Do you think it’s important for businesses to have a social media presence?
Definitely! Your business will probably not succeed (or for very long) without some form of a social media presence, especially for new businesses. It’s the best way for people to find out about your business and the products/services you offer. One of the first things most people will do when they search for a business is look them up on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and whatever online presence they can find that can give them an idea of what they can expect from your business.
What information do you wish you knew back when you first started?
Take time to research how each social media platform works, because each one is unique and serves a distinct purpose. Secondly, don’t be afraid to have fun and take chances.
What does a typical day as BarbacoApparel’s social media guru look like?
I check all our social media feeds in the morning for any new comments and messages since the previous night, and I respond to any new inquiries. Then I usually take about 10–15 minutes and go through each feed and start tapping that “Like.” It’s equally important to interact and comment on posts, too (fan pics and birthdays are always fun to encounter). From there, I keep an eye on our social media feeds throughout the day ― looking for any trending topics or big news and happenings that might come up throughout the day. You just never know what you’re going to encounter.
What’s your strategy for planning out posts?
I like to plan out as much as I can for the upcoming week (I usually choose Sundays), which involves me sifting through customer photos, memes, and topics or news that could potentially tie in to our brand. You can pre-plan as much as you want, but expect for the unexpected! Some days you’ll completely scrap something you had planned for something new that just came up.
For those unplanned posts, I typically stick with topics that I think our customer base would find interesting or can relate to, and I try to put a fun and creative spin on it.
As social media manager, which app(s) do you consider your BFF and why?
BuFFer, of course. Not only is it a great app that helps you manage multiple accounts and schedule out posts, but it’s the app's ability to easily integrate with tools like IFTTT, which lets you create automated rules for your other social media apps. For instance, via IFTTT you can create a rule (or, an applet) to automatically Tweet your Instagram post by using a specific hashtag, or you can automatically pin your Instagrams to a board by using a specific hashtag. And, these are just a few of the many possibilities you can explore. Having said that, I still gotta give some love to the other BF, Hootsuite, because the one thing you CAN’T do on Buffer that you can do with Hootsuite is interact ― comment, reshare, like ― within the app, which makes Hootsuite one of those apps you can’t do without.
Favorite part of the job?
I really enjoy going out and capturing photos of events and happenings around the city. Not only do I get to enjoy various events going on around the city, but I get to capture moments and people from events that I then get to share with our followers.
Worst part of the job?
BUT if I had to come up with something, I’d probably say the eventual burnout. You really have to make social media a part of your life nearly around the clock, and that can get exhausting quick. When I feel like I need a break, I’ll completely remove myself from social media―even if just for a day―before jumping back in. It definitely helps to recharge.
How do you measure success with your posts?
I know this sounds obvious, but looking at the engagement (e.g., number of comments, likes, and views), and how many times that content is shared. When all those things align, and you find that one thing that really had an impact with your customer base, you know you’re doing something right.
What things do you do on a weekly/monthly basis to grow your online following?
It’s a little different for each platform. For instance, on Twitter I engage with people more frequently because there’s always a conversation going on. Retweeting relevant content and trending topics also helps. I’ve yet to host my first Twitter chat, which can help grow your followership and even put you at the forefront of a local trending topic, but that’s something I’m looking forward to doing in the near future. For Instagram, the use of diverse―but still relatable―hashtags works well to help get your content to your target audience, as well as geo tagging your location. After all, your target audience might be searching through those same tags, too! For Facebook, highly shareable, engaging, and relatable content is a great way to grow your online following.
What 3 tips do you think every social media manager should know?
First and foremost, know your customer and audience well. Know what they like, dislike, and what motivates them. Second, be present on your social media: interact, engage, and share regularly. Aim to share content at least 3 to 5 times weekly on Facebook, 5 to 7 times daily on Twitter, and 1 to 3 times daily on Instagram. Lastly, take chances. Sometimes the only way to know what really works for your business is to test it and check the results. You’d be surprised at what works well when you thought wouldn’t, and vice versa. Just don’t be afraid to try new things.
Paid ads—yay or nay?
Where would you like to see BarbacoApparel's social media presence in the future?
First off, hopefully still existing! But, if we are still kickin’ in 5 years, I’d love to see our business’s social media become a go-to feed for all things San Antonio―where locals and tourists alike can come and get a taste of what San Antonio is all about.
Be sure to follow us on social media!