There has never been a better time to be a small business owner and be working for you. The internet and varied social media platforms (whether you love them or hate them) widen our reach and consumer demographic, allowing us to connect, interact and sell instantly to people worldwide.
We can get ideas and inspiration, comments and feedback (all in real time from a variety of reputable sources) whilst networking with individuals and communities. Unlike those that come before us, we’re lucky to have all of this at our fingertips, not even having to get out of our pyjamas if we don’t want to. Pretty cool huh?
If you’re of the opinion that social media is not essential to what you do and your business, that it’s a passing fad, I hate to be the bearer of bad news… But it might be time to get on board and really embrace the endless opportunities there waiting for you. Change, new products and platforms paired with tech jargon can be overwhelming and intimidating. Real talk, sometimes it scares the crap out of me too. Another new thing to learn, ugh but I’m busy as it is! I feel you, I hear you, but by embracing and learning new things they become far less scary.
By putting in place structures, plans and strategies, thereby giving your social media presence a clear goal and directive, you can open yourself up to new business, clients, connections and sales.
Breaking up is never easy, but sometimes you need to look at existing relationships (even if they’re long term) with your local newspaper or print publication, and for the better of your business decide that going in another direction might be the best possible thing you could do. Sayonara news print, hello digital marketing!
Would it surprise you to read that all of my marketing and advertising is social media and web based? That 80% of my new clients and business leads are either sourced or they contact me direct via my website, Linkedin, Instagram and Twitter? Yep! I’m getting real people messaging me via these platforms. That a simple comment on an Insta account can ignite an exchange of information and real connections and new relationships forged. I encourage you to reach out, banter, get amongst it and interact.
The internet is chocked full of infographics and information about what and when to post. Often the information is conflicting and confusing. My advice to you? Trial and error. See which posts people like, share and engage with, get their involvement and ask them what they want to see more of! Remember providing good quality and original content is key. If people like and can relate to it they’re more inclined to share it (and that’s what you want).
1. Look to see where your followers are located. We have a large volume of Australian and international followers. Therefore I post at optimum times to both of time zones. Schedule your content if you aren’t awake or online at those times. Knowing who your followers are is key. Review the data from your platforms and make this work for you.
2. Don’t be too serious with your posts. People want to know what’s going on with you and your business. Don’t over corporatise your posts. Have fun with it. Not everything has to be perfect and share you journey and failings with others too. Be personable, be witty with your hashtags and use your geo locaters. Reply to followers; make them feel valued and a part of your business and community!
3. Don’t buy likes or follow people that bring zero value to your account or brand. Why waste your time with people who aren’t your demographic? Remember quality over quantity; don’t be sucked in by a magic number!
4. Always respond to complaints in real time! Don’t cower and hide behind your computer. Be receptive to feedback and suggestions (don’t get defensive or rude). While you’ll encounter the odd troll or keyboard warrior, take the time to look and listen at everything people say. We’re not all perfect and if someone is offering free advice (whether you use it or not) take it and thank them.
5. Know your competitors and your market. Unless you’re a rare innovator (and I take my hat off to you) it’s likely that there are others in the same industry and area as you. Learn from others, reach out to them and support them. There may be an opportunity to collaborate or cross promote each other. Networking, collaboration and kindness go a long way in business. Ditch the arch nemesis mentality, it’s a waste of time and energy, invest that into your business doing well.
We all have days where we want to throw the computer out of the window, toss in the towel and call it a day. Where we worry about money coming in, did we make the right decision and was it worth it? Take a moment and remember why you decided to go into business for yourself. Let that drive motivate and inspire you to get things done. Admit when something is out of your depth. Delegate. Outsource.