5 Social Media Truths
Social media is not complicated. You set up an account, you post something about your business every few days and you move on to more important items on your to-list, right? Maybe not. Social media has become the single most important marketing tool small business owners have. Unfortunately, most owners do not know where to start or how to use it to their advantage. That is why I have created the 5 Truths of Social Media. The 5 truths simplify the medium and will help you to understand where and why you should start thinking more about your social media platform.
Five Truths of Social Media
1. Every small business needs social media.
Every week I meet a new business owner who tells me they don’t have time for social media or that their business doesn’t need social media. You have to take that time if for no other reason than the fact that Facebook shares has the biggest impact on google rankings. Google rankings are how most people will find your business. But most importantly, even if you are not on Facebook personally, 95% of your customers are.
As far as sexy goes, one plumber told me nobody would be interested in hearing about the latest drain they snaked. He was right, they probably wouldn’t. But they might be interested in hearing about the latest bathroom he just helped a young couple finish. They would definitely be interested in knowing if there is a way to keep their garbage disposal clean so their sink doesn’t back up. And if you are doing it right, they will love hearing about your latest big contract, because people love feeling like they are part of someone’s success.
2. You are your business.
You might not want to hear this but in social media today you are your business. That means that having a Facebook page for your business doesn’t mean you can say anything you want to on your personal page. Like it or not, what you say on your personal page will get back to your customers.
Posting a retail rant about a customer whose children were running all over your store making a mess might come off as funny to some of your friends but keep in mind that some of those friends are also customers and now, suddenly they are wondering, “Was that post aimed at me?” Venting about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton might make you feel better but it might also lose you a client. When you are posting, whether it is on your business page or your personal page, imagine standing across from a client and saying the same thing. If you wouldn’t say it, don’t post it.
3. Social media is a time suck.
This is absolutely true. How often have you found yourself sitting down to post on Facebook only to get sucked into reading the latest op-ed, catch up with your friends and family and meander through page after page of updates? And that’s just Facebook, you still need to post on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. Social media can definitely be a time suck. But it doesn’t have to be. If you think of social media as a tool, set rules and use social media management tools you can spend less than 30 minutes a day and be done before breakfast.
If you start with automating your posts and creating a publishing schedule, your daily social media usage is limited to commenting on your customers posts, clipping articles you want to read to Pocket or Google Keep, and sharing the most relevant articles with your customers and clients.
4. Social media takes thought and planning.
If you wake up in the morning and have to figure out what you are posting today, you are doing it wrong. To get the most out of social media you need to plan, create a publishing schedule and use a social media management tool such as Hootsuite to automate those posts.
At the end of every month think about your top three priorities for the following month, whether this is a sale you want to promote, an event you are planning or a new strategy you need your clients to understand. Simply by knowing what you want to promote you are ahead of the game and ready to look at the following month’s social media publishing schedule. Using your three priorities you can schedule posts throughout the month and automate those posts to go out without your attention. The rest is easy. Fill in all of your empty days with articles, photos or videos that will help your customers.
5. Social media is about building relationships.
It is so easy to think of social media as the place you post your advertising. There is no doubt that social media can help you build your business. More people visit Facebook every day than any other website. You would be remiss to lose the opportunity to put your latest special or event on your Facebook page. But to build that page, to encourage people to keep coming back to that page, you must build relationships.
Building relationships means creating a community. In order to do this you need to post more give than take. For every post about your product or service you need to post two items that give value to your community. Whether this is a video that will inspire someone, an article that will help your customer reach their goals or simply a funny meme to lighten the mood on a rainy day, posting something of interest that isn’t promoting your business will help you build relationships. Commenting on your customers posts will help you build relationships. Sharing their twitter post will help you build relationships. It is these relationships that will help you build your community. And it is a community that will help you build loyalty.