“Social Media doesn’t work for my business.”
These are common things I hear all the time. Whether it’s direct to consumer (DTC), business to business (B2B), or even selling an in-person service, the simple truth is that social media is an extremely powerful tool that can 10x your business at a fraction of the cost and effort you would get with traditional media.
“But Skyler, I see all these platforms flashing before my eyes. Which platforms are best for me and my company? What content type should I use? Do you have a brand image that I should copy? Which brand image should I emulate? Bleep do I even start?!”
If you’re asking any of those questions, take a deep breath and relax. You will find the following 10 tips useful in getting your company started with social media.
1. Start small
If you’ve never published anything on social media before, start small. You can write a blog post of about 350 words, or a LinkedIn posting. Keep your content concise and focused. Focusing your content on one topic will make your job easier and your customers will consider you an authority on the subject.
Be realistic about your goals. Instead of posting just one blog per day, commit to writing at least one. EverywhereTry one per month, instead of just one each day. Although it may sound impossible, achieving this goal will help you gain the confidence to pursue more challenging goals.
Achieving a high goal will increase the chance of failure. Setting too low goals will lead to satisfaction, and a higher overall goal.
2. Don’t Sweat the Details
Small business owners often want to be able to do everything. It’s like trying to read the whole instruction manual before you turn on your new camera. My advice—just start taking pictures of what you like. Later on, you can still look back at the manual for helpful ideas and at that point, you’ll have a better understanding of what the manual is describing.
You will be more likely to get bogged down in details about the optimal time to post or which software you should use. This can only slow down your ability to take action.
Get to know the details of everything After you get started, and you may even find out that the little things don’t matter much anyway. Post, publish and podcast!
3. Take the initiative to be you
While authenticity can become a buzzword in many industries, your true strength will be who you truly are. You’ll never catch up to a leader by doing exactly what they do. They’re already ahead, so how are you going to get there by doing the same thing?
Doing things your way with the uniquely wonderful attributes you hold (aka “your superpowers) is much easier and more effective. That’s how you’ll catch a leader. It doesn’t matter if you’re introverted or extroverted. It is best to be authentic.
4. Be Vulnerable
“Fake it until you make it” doesn’t work. These people are all too common. People fall for this trap all the time. The problem is, if you’re naturally a little shy or more reserved, the effort to be something else comes off as disingenuous and untrustworthy.
You can double your authenticity by not being afraid of showing vulnerability. It’s ok to let your customer see what you’re not great at. If you’re uncomfortable on camera (not like stage-fright level, but just a touch anxious), let the customer get a glimpse of your charming awkwardness in the beginning.
The customer sees your growth as an entrepreneur and is more likely to make many videos. It creates a deeper relationship with the customer.
5. Offer value
The easiest hack for “what to post” is to think about what will provide value to the person you’re trying to reach. Write a blog post about a question that you answered for customers. There is a good chance that other customers may also be looking for the information if they have the same question.
If you own a hardware store, there’s no benefit to anybody if you post about a heart-healthy diet or the latest K-pop band. Instead, post how-to videos; write content about the best type of lawn care products; tell your customer about an upcoming store event; or simply say “happy birthday” to all of your clients when you see that notification on Facebook.
Your content should always reflect value to the people you’re trying to reach.
“Social media is about the people, not about your business. Provide for the people and the people will provide for you.” – Matt Goulart
6. Get to know the relevant culture
Be authentic about yourself, but understand the norms and modern practices for the platforms on which you’re posting content. Many people fall for the error of posting a link on every social media platform to an excellent online video.
Then, they wonder why the video didn’t go viral. The reason is that it’s not an acceptable norm to post a YouTube link on FB; you upload the video.
Make the effort to understand and learn about the culture on your platform. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting your time copying and pasting links that don’t get viewed.
7. Learn Political Posts
The old rule was not to accept any political post that could be considered flesh-eating bacteria. You must now at minimum understandThey are. The hot button issue of politics has become so intense, you need to at least be aware of what’s happening. If you don’t, customers will be turned off by your inattention to current affairs.
It’s possible to make strong connections online with people, but alienate others if you do so. If that’s part of the authentic you, then that might be a smart play for your business.
But, it is important to realize that politics can cause exhaustion. While you might be able to get some short-term engagement from politics, it is possible for people to become disengaged by too much focus on this area.
8. Copy and reuse content
When you pivot to a new space, it will probably be an easier transition than you think because you’re not really starting over. Once your current channel is clicking on all cylinders, you can take a small step into another platform based on what you’ve already built. You can even use the same content.
Suppose you’ve been blogging for over a year and developed a decent following. It’s possible to create a YouTube channel. However, you don’t know which video to upload first. It is a good idea to start your engagement with a video that features your most popular blog.
9. Pivot using One Foot
It’s similar to a basketball move. You place your pivot foot right after picking up your dribble. However, you can move your other leg in all sorts of directions. You want to be able to use your body’s angle to make it easier for you and give yourself better chances of getting a shot.
This applies to social media marketing. Imagine your Instagram is a success, but you’d like to try Snapchat. Snapchat is a great way to learn. Give it a try, but don’t abandon your money-maker, Instagram. If you don’t like the new channel, you can always go back to being all-in on Instagram..
10. Create a top ten list (Like I did just)
People love lists. That’s why clickbait does so well. I’m not advocating for clickbait necessarily, but top ten lists are low-hanging fruit for advertising attention.
Psychologically we love seeing how other people rank everything, from movies and sports cars to workout tips and best vegan restaurants.
Top ten lists are ultimately clickable and skimmable, which today’s average internet user loves. You could create an article about the 10 most frequently asked questions in your company. Your customers are likely to be impressed by at least three or four of these posts, and will then read the next top ten list.
Even though social media is not a new concept, it can seem intimidating for business owners with older employees. However, there’s too much potential for online marketing to pass up.
Do this: If nothing else is possible, follow my advice. You can start small. You will get burnt out if you attempt to please everyone. Your advertising and business will also suffer.
If you haven’t already committed at least some advertising resources to social media, get started today and relax, you don’t have to be perfect. These tips can help you leverage social media to achieve maximum advertising success. Give it time.