If you’re a small business owner, social media can often feel like a pain, and it can be hard to keep up with the ever-changing social media landscape. Here are a few tips to help overcome the obstacles and prevent you from becoming overwhelmed with social media.
1. Time: Don’t try to do it all
Small business owners often wear many hats (and in some cases, they may wear all the hats) and it can be easy for marketing (including social media) to be pushed down to the bottom of their to-do list.
By setting small goals, you can slowly build social media into your daily routine. Remember, a strong social media presence doesn’t require you to have to participate in every single social network out there. Instead, start by selecting the appropriate social network that resonates most with your target audience. For example, If you are looking for professional referrals, target LinkedIn. If you want to show off your store, post photos on Facebook.
2. Engagement: Stop trying to just sell. Converse with your audience!
Social media is not traditional one-way advertising. Pushing sales messages and expecting the audience to flock, will NOT work! Think about it – All you have to do is put yourself in your customers’ shoes: If your favourite company/brand did nothing but push sales messages to you all day long, how long would it be before you’ve had enough and you decide to unfollow them?
Remember, social media is similar to using a telephone, not a megaphone. And telephones are meant for dialogues, not monologues.
Social media is about building relationships and starting conversations. Small business owners have to discover their niche and USP (Unique Selling Point), and then decide how to generate brand awareness by offering stimulating and insightful content which allows their audience to engage with them.
3: Budget: Consider the cost of time, not just money
Most small business owners look at the cost of things in terms of the amount of money it will cost, and because social media is free, they think it’s cheap, and easy to do. Here’s the thing: Social media is not really free. In fact, the costs are of the highest value: time! Many small business owners realise they need to hire help, but also realise that it’s costly. As a result, many decide against it, especially those who feel that marketing is not a “necessity.”
This may sound like a plug for my own business, but take it for what it is: hiring a social media consultant to help you define how best your business could effectively use social media, can provide you with a great strategy which allows you to create an effective presence without the costs of hiring a full time employee to do the same thing.
4: Transparency: Be a person, not just a brand
Small business owners are much better at achieving transparency than those in the corporate sector. However, if a business owner doesn’t understand engagement, it’s possible that transparency is lost as well.
Your social media audience wants to see the person/people behind the brand. This is a great opportunity for small businesses to remove those filters and humanize their business.
What makes YOU and your business unique? What do you enjoy? What are your fears and dreams? These are questions we can all relate to, regardless of whether we can identify with your product or service.
What obstacles have you faced? Are there barriers that you’ve overcome and can share?