Reflections of a social media novice

Let me start with a disclaimer: I am not a social media guru. However, like many other small-business owners, I have embraced social media as a cheap and effective way to market my business to a wider audience outside my country home town.

At the start of 2016, I launched a new website, a blog and a book on rural entrepreneurship, all of which forced me to embrace social media at a much higher level.

To do so, I started using Hootsuite to manage my twitter, Facebook and Linkedin pages more efficiently. I also discovered Canva as a way to create a series of colourful images and words that I was then able to schedule months in advance.

Despite these new tools that allow me to plan ahead and look professional on social media, I’ve discovered that the most unexpected postings usually generate the most traffic and relate to the images used, not necessarily the content.

In April, I blogged on a newly opened bakery in Wycheproof and was delighted with a reach of over 5,000 from a rural population of just 789. Clearly, the owners of the bakery were well liked and well connected via Facebook.

One month later, I was stunned when nearby Charlton with a population of 1288 recorded a 10,000+ reach on Facebook. The link was to a blog I wrote on Destroying Myths about the crusty old farmer image. As a visual, I used an image from my archives of a young Charlton farmer and his dog sitting on the back of an ute.

Apart from the photo caption, they weren’t referenced in the article or tagged in the post, and yet it is this image that clearly made the post so successful. Someone from Charlton tagged someone who tagged someone else and on it spiralled. Jokingly, I commented that this must be one damn fine dog which set up a whole new line of conversation.

More recently, I posted some photos of local business people involved in the street rodding industry which created another 5,000+ reach overnight, this time predominantly in the United States. Now, it does help that Castlemaine is known as the Street Rod Centre of Australia and has a huge international following but once again I underestimated the power of posting photos of people and colourful automobiles.

So what did I learn from Tinker who, by the way, has produced 13 pups?

Photos of well-connected people (and their dogs, bakeries, hot rods) generate higher interest.

Facebook is clearly the star performer when it comes to reaching a rural audience. Even if the younger generation is using other social media platforms, they clearly have not abandoned Facebook.

Looking at my website metrics, I was pleased to see a page view spike coinciding with my social media postings.

In conclusion I would suggest that a 10 percent conversion in 24 hours is a good result for a kelpie bitch.

Kerry Anderson – – businesswoman, philanthropist and community advocate from Central Victoria who is passionate about rural and regional small business

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