Social media, social media and more social media!
We constantly hear about it. It’s everywhere. However, as a busy entrepreneur and business owner, are you properly using social media to help your company grow? Be introspective and tell the truth. My answer was “no.” Yes, I know my three teenage children are living on Instagram, Facebook and all the other cool social media programs; however, as a relatively smart business guy who will soon hit the 50 year mark, I had no clue what I was doing. This new medium was totally intimidating but I eventually learned some easy steps that soon had social media helping grow my my company. The concepts are relatively simple; the harder part is the execution and consistency of developing your social media program.
Social media should not be a fad in your business. You can't do it today and then come back several months later to work on it again. Obviously, this will not work. In 2016, it’s now a very real, highly monetized business strategy that must be embraced. I recently uploaded a new Facebook photo to change my profile picture from 2012 and thought I had mastered the art of social media. I have so much to learn. For your company to stay current in this business climate, you must have a social media presence. Below are seven tips about social media for us "non tech" business owners (and please understand, I’m one of them as my VCR is still blinking from the year 2000).
1. Consider retaining an expert.
As highly motivated entrepreneurs, we think we can micro-manage every aspect of our business. We’re smart, we boast that we work 80 hours a week and there isn’t anything we can’t learn or do. However, social media, although not difficult is a real expertise that takes significant time when executed properly. It takes time and you need to determine whether you want to be the leader of your social media campaigns; if not, hire a “consultant” to help. Although many times, I hate to use the word “consultant”, they can be very effective if you know how to manage the process, their time, the money and the deliverables.
2. Begin with popular social media platforms.
Today, the most popular social media platforms include LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For starters, setting up an account on these platforms is simple. All you need is to fill a few details like your names, address, email address and phone number.
And again, don’t be discouraged when you have 0 followers on day 1. If you built it, they will come. John Heywood, an English playwright profoundly said, “Rome wasn’t built in 1 day.” (did anybody know the name John Heywood because I didn’t, but thankfully Google did). Just get started as mentioned in Tip #1.
When creating your profile or about page, you need to exercise care and professionalism. On LinkedIn, you can keep it professional while on Facebook and Twitter, you can be less formal and more conversational. Use polls and giveaways in order to elicit consumer feedback and use articles to provide more information about your business and company.
3. Establish your brand.
The first challenge (or said differently, “opportunity”) in social media is to make sure that the customer quickly notices your company and your brand. Simple techniques like ensuring that your website and Facebook and Twitter links on your home page or any blog or communication created by your company. Thanks to creative graphic designers, you can have the links in form of buttons or logos of the social media platforms. You need to be prepared to talk about your social media pages every time you network or interact with potential customers.
4. Don’t forget about the lesser known social media sites.
While the fashionable social media platforms are very popular, do not forget about the less talked about social media sites. Start up and growing social media companies are popping up daily. Identify ones that match your company’s vision, demographics and although they may not have the huge following that Facebook and Twitter have, they will help you increase your market share for new customers.
They have very special tools that can allow you to be become more noticeable on the web. When you are on Google Plus, you will be able to have a higher chance of ranking higher on Google search engine especially in local business section due to local business listings.
5. Quality trumps (sorry for the political innuendo) quantity.
Less is more! The one thing you need to know is that you don’t have to keep posting on your social media platform if it’s bad or verbose content. As a general rule of thumb, you need to know what and when to post. Always remember that quality trumps over quantity. We are all busy with lots of content. Your potential consumers want to read/watch rich content. Think about your personal Facebook account and don’t you hate when that one friend constantly posts “stuff” every few hours that really has no relevance. We don’t care that you are now getting dinner for your family. Get over yourself and post great content. If you do, your followers will look forward to reading your information, whether it’s educational in nature or one of your new product offerings. Think before you upload information to your social media sites.
6. Your business listing report.
More and more small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) today (and the numbers are huge with many statistics saying there are 25 million SMBs in the USA depending on your actual definition) are using online directories to their benefit. As an independent business owner/entrepreneur/CEO of a SMB, one of your many roles in your company is strategizing and developing your marketing plan. The implementation of employing “Online Directories” can and should be a great addition to your overall marketing and advertising strategy. And, if it’s not, you are missing out on a significant opportunity to increase your customer base at a low Cost Per Acquisition fee. Online directories will help your business expand its website traffic, market presence, increase the likelihood that your website will be found by prospective customers and increase your profitability and bottom line revenue. Online directories is used properly in conjunction with your social media strategy is a very powerful combination.
7.The time is NOW!
The one important thing every entrepreneur needs to know is that the time to embrace social media is NOW. Now means today. It’s not going away. Don’t feel intimidated like me to get into the game (think of the analogy of walking into Starbucks the first time and being overwhelmed with the ordering process and knowing the fancy names for coffee -- but you did it). Same with social media -- you just need to start. After all, social media is where more and more of your customers are going and you need to be omniscient and everywhere that they are searching for your type of product or service.
Social media is here to stay. Whether you wish to employ one tip or all aeven in your social media programs, take an introspective look at your current strategies to ensure that you and your company are getting the greatest social media ROI.