Which social media platforms should you use for your small business?
Answer: ALL OF THEM!
Wherever your customers are, or are going to be, that’s where you need to be to get in front of them. But….
That’s all well and good if you have plenty of people on your team and a large budget to throw at social media. But that is not the reality of being a small business owner. Money is tight and time is scarce. That advice just doesn’t stack up in the real world.
If you do only do one thing, do it well.
It’s overwhelming for any small business owner to deal with multiple social media platforms and there are currently about 10 that you need to take seriously. Some are really rocking, others are more niche, and all deserve your attention eventually, but as a small business owner time is scarce and you need to pick low hanging fruit. I recommend starting with a Facebook page, unless your business is a particularly crafty or artistic venture, in which case Instagram is absolutely where you need to be. But I say start with Facebook because that’s where the majority of people are hanging out, in their millions. Yes, millions.
The chances are you already use Facebook personally, so you are halfway there in terms of a learning curve.
Begin with Facebook and master it.
The Four Cs of Social Media Success
There are no short cuts to this. You have to get your feet wet and learn from your mistakes, quickly. Your posts will be a bit shaky and unfocused at first. But that’s ok. Social media is a great leveller and people like to see some vulnerability behind a corporate front. That’s why so many small businesses thrive on social media and why so many large companies fail. Don’t get perfection paralysis – just have a go and be authentic. You can delete posts later, but better to leave it out there and see how you improve. Experience creates confidence. It takes time. So start now!
You have to show up. Regularly. Just because no one is commenting or sharing your posts yet, does not mean you are talking to yourself. You need to build up a page of good posts (content) that people will see when they visit your page – this gives you credibility. Also, you want people to know that they can rely on you to post so they will come to expect it. Plus this is about you and your actions, developing good habits now will pay off later. It takes effort.
Social media is about story telling not asking for a sale. If all you did was ask people to click on your links or visit your store they would not be interested for very long. Give them a reason to love you. Social media is about the people behind the business. Share something of yourself, your business, your staff, your customers. What is it that makes you laugh, what motivates you? Why is your store where it is? What’s its history? How do you guys celebrate? Give give give. Then give some more. And only then can you ask for something in return. Then you should go right back to giving.
Social media is a community. Don’t expect people to show you love if you don’t give love in return. Take the time to reply to comments, answer questions, go and ask questions or share posts from other people’s business pages too. Did I mention its about giving? Do it selflessly with no thought for reward. Be generous. That is community. It’s a relationship building strategy and it takes time. But it works.
The principles of the Four Cs work across all platforms and provide the solid foundations of a successful social media strategy for a company of any size, it’s simply the type and style of content that you post and the apps that differ.
Learning by doing is the best experience.
Once you have developed a good daily habit, you can add another platform to your portfolio and move forward like a pro!
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