“Social Media doesn’t work for my business.”
I hear this sort of thing 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. How do I know which ones are right for my business? What types of content should I publish? Is there a specific brand image I should emulate? Where the bleep do I even start?!”
If you’re asking any of those questions, take a deep breath and relax. The following ten tips will tell you a lot about what you need to know to get your business started on social media.
1. Start Small
If you’ve never published anything on social media before, start small. Write a 350-word blog or a short LinkedIn post. Most importantly, keep your content focused. By zeroing on a content niche, not only will your job be easier, your customer will think of you as an expert on that subject.
Also, keep your goal reasonable. For example, instead of committing to posting one blog per day every day, try one per month. That might sound ridiculously easy, but accomplishing that goal will give you the confidence you need to set more ambitious goals in motion.
Setting a goal too high will only provide a larger opportunity for failure; setting a goal too low will result in satisfaction and an incrementally higher goal.
2. Don’t Sweat the Details
Too many small business owners want to master everything before they get started. This is like reading the entire instruction manual of a new camera before turning it on. 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.
Getting bogged down into the details of the best time of day to post, which software to use, or what keywords to include in your content will only give you more reasons to slow you down and stop you from taking action.
Learn the minutiae of everything after you get started, and you may even find out that the little things don’t matter much anyway. For now, post, publish, and podcast away!
3. Be You
Authenticity can be an overused buzzword in any industry, but who you are will always be your superpower. 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. Being as authentic as possible is always best.
4. Be Vulnerable
“Fake it until you make it” doesn’t work. People fall into this trap all the time. They see someone who is super charismatic and try to be that person. 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.
By not being afraid to show a bit of vulnerability, you double-down on authenticity. 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.
As you make more videos, the customer gets to see your personal growth and feels like a part of your entrepreneurial journey. You establish a deeper connection with them this way.
5. Provide Value
The easiest hack for “what to post” is to think about what will provide value to the person you’re trying to reach. For example, write a post about a question you answered for a customer that day. Chances are, if that customer had a question, other customers will want the same information.
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. Know Relevant Culture
Be authentic about yourself, but understand the norms and modern practices for the platforms on which you’re posting content. For example, many people make the mistake of creating an outstanding online video and post the link to every social media platform.
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.
Invest the time to learn and understand the culture of your chosen platform. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting your time copying and pasting links that don’t get viewed.
7. Understand Political Posts
The cardinal rule used to be to avoid political posts like they were some form of flesh-eating bacteria. Now, you need to at least understand them. The hot button issue of politics has become so intense, you need to at least be aware of what’s happening. Otherwise, you risk turning customers off by appearing uncaring about current affairs.
If you choose to jump into the online political arena all-in, you might solidify connections with certain people while alienating yourself from others. If that’s part of the authentic you, then that might be a smart play for your business.
Realize, however, that politics can exhaust people. You might get a modicum of short-term engagement, but leaning too hard into this space can also turn people off.
8. Repurpose 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. In fact, you can use some of the same content.
Suppose you’ve been blogging for over a year and developed a decent following. You might want to consider a YouTube channel, but have no idea what video to make first. A good bet is to begin your new engagement by making a video based on your most successful blog.
9. Pivot with One Foot
This is similar to a basketball move, where you plant your pivot foot after you pick up your dribble, but you move the other foot in a bunch of different directions. The goal is to angle your body in a way that opens up a better shot opportunity.
How does this apply to social media advertising? Suppose your Instagram channel is crushing it, but you want to get into Snapchat. Learn all about using Snapchat. 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. Make a Top Ten List (Like I just Did!)
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 all love to see how others rank everything from movies and sports cars to exercise tips and the best vegan restaurants.
Top ten lists are ultimately clickable and skimmable, which today’s average internet user loves. For example, create a post about the top 10 questions you get asked in your business? Chances are, most of your customers will appreciate the information in at least two or three of them and read your next top ten list.
Social media can be intimidating, especially for older business owners (no offense). But there is too much advertising value online to not get involved.
If you do nothing else, commit to my first tip in this list. Start small. If you try to be everything to everyone, you will burn out and your advertising, as well as your business will suffer big time.
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. Give it some time, keep trying, and eventually these tips will help you to leverage social media for optimal advertising success.
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By investing your time and effort in networking, you will gain more business through the relationships you make
Are you completely new to networking?
Then this article is a great place to start. Networking isn’t hard on paper…you go along to online and in-person meetings, make new connections and build relationships, and those relationships lead to more work so you can grow your business! The challenge is that in reality, it isn’t quite so straightforward, as our emotions get involved and make things much tougher.
It’s incredibly common for nerves to creep in and to feel overwhelmed and apprehensive when it comes to networking – even when it isn’t new to you. But how can you become more successful at it, feel less self-conscious, and make networking work for you and your business?
Here’s a few tips to help you embrace every business networking opportunity you get, so you can grow your business and achieve your goals.
Rock up with confidence
If you want to keep those nerves at bay and ooze confidence at networking get-togethers, you’ll need to downplay it rather than seeing it as a big occasion. Try not to put pressure on yourself and see it as a casual meet-up with a bunch of people with similar goals to you. To help you relax in the run-up to the event, be sure to set achievable goals and expectations before you go.
Keep your chin up and your goals in mind – positivity is key. One easy goal for your first networking meeting is very simply to speak to one other person and see where the conversation goes. Introduce yourself and your business, but take the time to listen to their story, too. It’ll only take a few minutes and will be over before you know it, so it’s nothing to fear. You may even enjoy it and want to speak to a few more people, too!
Where to go networking
If you’ve never been networking before, it might not be very easy to find a group – but only because there’s so much choice and you don’t know where to start your search! Groups come in different sizes and styles, so it’s important to find one that suits you and your business. Informal, formal, big, small… the choice is yours.
For your first meeting, start small to ease yourself in – a big group could prove too daunting, and stop you from feeling comfortable enough to get involved. After all, you want to make a strong first impression!
If you’re wondering which group to opt for in the long-term, give a few a go! Get a feel for them, speak to as many people as you can, and see which one suits! You’ll know when a group feels right for you, and you can see where those all-important relationships are most likely to be built. If a group doesn’t feel like the right for you, give a different one a go.
Get more leads and referrals
This will happen for you, as long as you put the effort into building those relationships. If you take the time to get to know people, and then check in with them and support them, they’ll see you as a trustworthy and reliable contact who they can call on. And when they feel that way, those leads and referrals you’re looking for will come a-knocking.
Once you’ve made relationships with people who you trust, and they’ve had a positive experience working with you, you can even ask for referrals! But don’t rush this, as you don’t want to inadvertently push people away or try and force the relationship along too quickly.
When you do get an opportunity to work with someone you’ve met at a networking group, go above and beyond to offer more value than they’re expecting, as then, they’ll be much more likely recommend you and introduce you to more of their contacts!
Grow your business
By investing your time and effort in networking, you will gain more business through the relationships you make, and you will be able to grow your business.
We know that it’s not easy, going networking for the very first time. And that’s why we want to give you all the advice and tools that you need so you can walk in with confidence and make the most of the opportunity.
2023 is just around the corner, and you have the chance to make it the year you make networking work for your business. And the benefits could be incredibly amazing for your business, just like they have been for ours, and many business owners we have worked with over the years.
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