Social Media – you’ve got to stick with it
In my social media consultations I meet so many business-people who have started up some sort of social media simply because everyone else is doing it. They’ve put their business on Facebook because it’s familiar but then can’t quite work out what to do next. As with many things, if you are going to be involved with social media, you need some clear, attainable goals, otherwise you won’t see results, and your Facebook fan page will go the same way as I see so many going – a dozen likes, one post, a couple comments, a check-in, and they’re all from sometime last Summer.
I encourage my clients to make a plan for their social media. We sit down, we almost always cover the basics of search engine optimization, then we discuss the social media platforms that are appropriate for them. One size does not fit all, and not all platforms will suit your business. It’s just not an efficient use of time to be on every platform available. Consider your target market. Certain types of people prefer different platforms to do their online socializing, and you need to know who likes what, and then go out there and find them.
Before I have a consultation with anyone I explain that this is coaching session and you must spend 10-15 minutes a day on your social media at first to get it up and running. You must make the commitment to make this time each day, it isn’t the end of the world if you miss a day here and there, but social media has to become a habit, and maybe it will take some practice, like any other skill you want to pick up.
You won’t have a million followers or fans in your first week. The number isn’t even particularly important. Expect to grow your fan base slowly and organically. There are various ways you can encourage more people to follow your posts, but none of them provide overnight success if you want to gain the right people.
Think about the sort of things you want to communicate to your fan base. Put some stuff out there, see what comes back. Listen as well and talk, respond to other people’s posts. Think about when your fan base is online – there are tools you can use to do this – and make sure that’s when you’re posting, there are also tools to schedule your posts. Find the right balance between too many and too few posts. All this takes time, factor this into your plan.
I seem to suggest blogging to almost anybody. I enjoy it, myself. I have several, for this business, for my other online businesses, and a private one, about the things I do for fun. If you have been doing whatever you do for a while, chances are you’re an expert. People want to hear from you. If they follow you they think you have something interesting to say, so why not communicate it out there to them? Write a blog on your industry, and about what your company is doing.
Run promotions – have competitions, and giveaways. Schedule your events online, have exclusive promotions for people who follow you. Encourage them to share them with their friends. You can advertise on Facebook, and that’s a great way to target the exact market you want, but chance are their friends will be into what they’re into, so entice them to spread the word!
In the real world, you wouldn’t build a string of business contacts and a huge customer base in a matter of days. It doesn’t work that way online either. You have to put some time in, but when you do, and you start to achieve some of those goals I told you to set at the beginning, you’ll see why it’s so important for social media to become a daily maintenance job for your business. Maybe you’ll even enjoy it a little!