It’s humbling that, as someone with almost fifteen years’ experience in the branding, marketing, and advertising industry, I sometimes find myself saying, “The more I learn about SEO (search engine optimization), the less I know.” And even when I say that to SEO experts, they usually laugh and nod their heads in agreement. You might feel that way about social media—at least when it comes to using it for your business. If that’s the case, you’re not alone! There are many business owners just like you: an expert in your craft, yet struggling to successfully use social media as a marketing tool for your business.
Part of the problem is because technology keeps getting better and better all the time. Our world is constantly changing—especially for people in my industry, where more and more of what we do relies upon the technology that people love to use. As soon as we all learn how to successfully use Google or Facebook ads, for example, they change something (generally for the better), and leave us scrambling to catch up.
That leads me to Tip #1: An excellent way to learn about/keep up with social media is to do just what you are doing now: read blog articles! There are so many credible pros who sympathize with how you feel, and provide great information in a way that is simple and easy to understand.
Tip #2: Don’t get in over your head. Social media can be a bit like falling down the rabbit hole. Unless you want it to be your fulltime job (and you’ve already got one of those), keep it simple. Choose one or two platforms that make sense for your business (Instagram is great for hair stylists, for example, because you can show off your work!). It’s much more effective to update one or two platforms regularly than to be sporadically active on three or four. Respond quickly to people and try to engage followers in short conversations. Doing this will help them get to know you and/or your business better—which helps them remember you and feel connected to you. Those connections lead to more business.
Tip #3: Get professional help to carry out more complex goals. If you want to run a special offer or campaign that spans across multiple social channels, you might want to hire some help. Help doesn’t have to be super expensive, either; in fact, there are many resources out there that can help you organize a campaign very easily and inexpensively. Be very clear with your goals (I want to gain 10 leads; I want to sell 20 packages) and be very clear on how much your budget is. Make sure that you’re not spending more on the campaign than what you can potentially earn. A professional resource can help you get a higher return on your investment and let you continue to focus on your clients.
Tip #4: Focus on your craft. Social media is what I call ‘disposable content.’ You post something one day, and by the next day it’s old news. If you’re spending ridiculous amounts of time trying to find the right kind of content to post, you’re doing it wrong. Social is supposed to help your business, not take over your business! Post client before/after pics (with their permission, of course), post helpful tips and advice, post answers to your clients’ commonly asked questions, share industry-related content, etc. Your business pages are the perfect place for you to *tastefully* show off what you can do.
Tip #5: Use your personality to your advantage. If you’re a sole proprietor, your business pages should reflect who you are. If you’re in a partnership or have employees, your business pages should reflect the culture of your business. For example, if you’re happy and upbeat, your business pages shouldn’t be overly serious. Let your pages give potential clients an idea of what your business is like. The last thing a classical-music loving customer wants is to walk into a salon that is blaring rock music! Your pages will help the right kinds of customers find you, and help weed out the ones that aren’t a good fit.
Tip #6: This has nothing to do with social media, but everything to do with running a successful business. My husband and I are also business partners. A life-changing time for our business and us was when we read a book called The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber. If you’re like me and don’t like to read business books, listen to it as an audio book instead. It is an easy, enjoyable read, told like a story. I can’t tell you the impact this book has made on the success of our business. We call it our business bible. If you are a business owner, it is a must read! I highly, highly recommend it.
Tip #7: Being social is no longer an option. You really must be social in today’s world. People expect to be able to find you online. You can’t always control whether or not a customer is satisfied, and you can’t always control what their reviews say about you. But you can control what’s on your social pages. You dictate the conversation there and allow people to see the real you (or your real business). The more you give people to discover online about you, the less of an impression a negative review or two will have on potential clients.