Social Media Strategy for Small Business Owners
Social Media is all the rage these days. Everyone (practically) has a Facebook page, and there are stats upon stats which would blow your mind about the frequency people are on Facebook. More than any other site in history, Facebook has been the single most important website to connect with others personally and professionally. It’s reunited long lost friends, old classmates, and even long-extinguished romantic flames (much to the chagrin of some currently ignited romantic flames). Point here is that with Facebook, Twitter, and now Google Plus, Social Media is the new “Media.”
Connecting with your Customers
The first thing to keep in mind at all times when entertaining the idea of using Social Networks for business is the same as real life…always have the utmost respect for your potential customers, their privacy, and their space. Just like you wouldn’t run up to a stranger and jam your business card in their face and shout “Call me and visit my website and buy something from me,” you shouldn’t do the equivalent on Social Networks. Yes, it takes a long time to establish a real relationship with someone, especially online, but Social Media is not the “get rich quick” scheme some would have you believe.
Converting someone you met on a Social Network into a paying customer could take weeks, months, or even years. Your goal isn’t to add a ton of people to your friends list or to try to make as many connections as possible. Your goal is to build quality relationships with people who can be a part of your network and eventually, when they’re ready and convinced of your value, become a paying customer.
Top 3 No No’s for Social Media:
- Never tag someone in an ad or photo that they’re not in just to get their friends to look at it.
- Never post a sales offer on their personal walls.
- Never push someone to buy something (but you can invite them to check something out like your website, so long as you ask for their thoughts and feedback).
Top 3 Best Practices for Social Media:
- Always be respectful and interested in what the other person is about.
- Engage people and ask them questions, their opinions, and speak to them about themselves.
- Always ask for your connection to connect you with one of their friends, and not just adding that person for no apparent reason.
There could be an individual novel written about Social Media Strategy and Social Media Marketing (and there have been…many times over), so this is just a brief example of some of the ways you can use Social Media as a Small Business owner.
Action Item: How are you using Social Media today? Are you engaging with your network? Reach out to someone in your friends list, follow list, or network who you haven’t spoken with in a while, and touch base just to see how they’re doing. What other respectful ways can you communicate your services and products?
Growing Your Following
There’s an old saying, which is still true to this day about everything. It basically goes, “Cheap, Fast, or Good. Pick any two.” This is so true in everything we do in life and in business. This also refers to growing your following on Social Networks. If you want to grow your followers Cheaply and Quickly, then the connections will not be very good, as you would probably just be adding a ton of people out of the blue and hoping that you catch a few great new customers. If you want to grow your followers Quickly and still have Quality, then you’re going to have to pay a lot (usually in advertising dollars) to attract the type of Quality followers Quickly. If you want to grow your following the right way (and most efficient way), however, Cheaply and with very good Quality, however, you’re going to be spending some time cultivating those relationships.
Don’t fret, though, because growing a solid relationship over time will increase the strength of that bond. When these customers who you’ve been respectfully adding value to their lives for a long time finally become paying customers, they are more likely to be long-lasting and loyal customers. There is a “Marketing Law” called the “Law of Reciprocity” which basically states that the more you give and give and give and add value to someone, the more they feel obligated to give back. Since we’re talking about business here, the “give back” in this case is to become a paying customer.
Action Item: What ways are you currently trying to grow your following? Do you have the money to spend to increase your numbers quickly and with good quality? Do you have the time and inclination to develop strong and solid relationships with your network throughout time? Would you rather just pay a highly-qualified Marketing Company with a great track record to handle your Social Media for you, while you work in and on your business?