If you’re not actively using social media to promote your business, you’re at a disadvantage. Services like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest are now giving small one-person businesses the exposure that used to require a six-figure marketing budget. While this additional access to potential clients is fantastic, the downside is that there’s a lot to learn and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. The good news is that by just taking a few simple steps, you can leverage social media to effectively promote your business.
Reserve Your Spot:
With new social media services popping up every few months, you never know which ones will make it and which ones won’t. Most services require you to choose a username so it’s good practice, for branding purposes to sign up for any service just to reserve a name that you can consistently use across all services. If you wait too long, it’s possible that someone else may grab it.
If you’re not sure which ones to start with, here are the ones I recommend (with links to my pages):
Focus on a Few:
Now just because you’ve signed up for several services, doesn’t mean you have to actively use them all. The most successful people on each service tend to focus primarily on that service. Yes, they’ve reserved their spot on the others and may even use them regularly, but their efforts are primarily focused on one or two.
Master One at a Time:
Each service has their own tricks and quirks. When you immerse yourself in a service and start engaging other users, you start to learn the ropes. In some cases, what you learn can be transferred to other services such as shorter and more informative posts get more attention.
When you start building your knowledge on a particular service, you do two things. First, you make connections which potentially can be converted to leads, but you also connect with on other services as you move on them. Second, you start building a reputation as you share your knowledge and expertise.
The best way to become successful on any social media service is to help others. This not only gives you a good reputation but it makes people want to help you. Most people that you’ll encounter are good people and if you do something for them, they’ll often reciprocate – even without being asked. So remember that you need to get out of that “me, me, me” mindset.
Many people make the mistake of jumping into social media and doing nothing but promote, promote, promote. I made this mistake at first and got nowhere. When I started trying to help others, I began making those friendships and connections that gave me a solid foundation to build off of. These are the people that will give you feedback, share your content and help you when you need it.
Learn from Your Mistakes:
You will most likely hit a few bumps along the road that will set you back, but don’t get frustrated. It’s okay as that’s how you learn. I’ve been teaching classes about social media since 2009 and a good chunk of my material comes from some of the mistakes I’ve made. So when you make a mistake, learn from the experience and don’t repeat it. The great thing about so many different services is that even if you completely fail on one (which is unlikely, at worst it’ll take you some time to figure it out) there are plenty others for you to master.
Some people just aren’t a good match for using social media. In practically every class I teach, I have a person or two that I can tell is just going to get stressed out if they try to tackle social media alone. This doesn’t mean that they are bad people or aren’t smart, it’s just that you need to have a certain type of outlook when you begin using social media. I can spot these people right away as they have one or more of the following qualities:
- Reluctance to share information online.
- Easily frustrated with technology.
- Expecting big results right away.
- Concerned about the amount of time they need to invest to learn the ropes.
In these cases, I often recommend that they hire someone else to do the work for them if they have the budget to do so. I still stress that it’s important that they understand what’s going on because it’s easy to get ripped off. I have people that bring me proposals from other consultants all the time that just don’t make any sense.
I saved one gentleman over $1000 when I pointed out that there was no value in the services recommended by one consultant. They wanted to create a Facebook page for his t-shirt business and spend the money over four weeks for his business to get several thousand likes for him. When I asked him who would be adding content to the page to keep it fresh, it turned out he didn’t know. He told the consultant that he didn’t have the time to create the page updates but there was nothing in their proposal for adding content to this new page.
So at the very least, become knowledgeable on the basics of social media and what one can reasonably expect. If you’re concerned that you’re being ripped off or you just want someone you can run a proposal by, then you’re more than welcome to contact me.