Poring over their smart phones and tablets, checking social media updates, posting photos and “chatting”.
It can feel hard trying to keep up with your personal social media accounts – your friend’s photos, event invitations and the latest news from your family.
So when it comes to using social media to market your business it can feel confusing, overwhelming and like “everyone else out there is doing better than you.”
When you have that sneaky look at your competition and waves of jealousy rise up when you notice they have thousands of likes on facebook – when you are struggling to get a few hundred. Then you notice one of your role model’s twitter posts – filled with witty comments and insights; it’s like they’re actually talking to you!
So how can you use social media to build your business brand and profile, without feeling overwhelmed and stressed out?
Step 1 – Get clear with your intentions
Before you dive headfirst into using social media as part of your marketing and business strategy it’s important to know what your intentions are – here are a few ideas to get you started:
– to drive traffic to your website
– to connect with key influencers in your industry
– to build your community and email list
– to inspire and educate
– to boost your business and brand profile
Ideally you would focus on just a couple of intentions, although they may be different for the different social media platforms you use.
For example you may intend to use twitter primarily to connect with key influencers in your community, but your intentions for instagram are to inspire and educate your followers and boost your business and brand profile.
Step 2 – Choose platforms that align with your brand and profile
It’s important to be selective with what social media platforms you will use. Some businesses open up accounts on all platforms believing that this will increase their profile and popularity. But, it’s better to choose one or two social media platforms that feel aligned with your business than feeling stressed out about posting everywhere.
If you feel uncomfortable using facebook for business purposes, don’t use it. Maybe twitter feels great for your personal interactions, but Google+ is more aligned with your brand?
Step 3 – Watch, listen and learn, but don’t lurk for too long!
The fear of posting the “wrong content” or looking foolish is a normal response when you’re about to start using social media to market your business. If you’re just starting out, it’s a good idea to go slowly and steadily.
Make connections by:
following and liking people and businesses that you know, like and trust
follow and like – the key influencers in your industry
Then notice the following:
what do they post?
how often are they posting?
who do they interact with the most?
what do they RT and like?
For 10 minutes a day, invest your time researching this – but for no longer than 10 days…lurking and watching without getting involved is a great way to waste time and procrastinate! Waiting to “jump in” when it feels like the right time only denies you the opportunity of getting involved with the great networking and conversations that happen online
Step 4 – Create quality content
For a social media marketing strategy to be effective it must appeal to your target market and tribe. Before you start scheduling posts and interacting with your followers, it’s important to work out what will appeal to your audience:
what journey is your target market on that you can help them with?
what insights and information would appeal to them?
what images would inspire and entertain them?
what can you write about that will help them right now?
be yourself online – if you feel self conscious about posting, draft some posts and put them aside for a few hours before reviewing them. Then ask, “does this sound like me…how would I feel if I read this?”
Step 5 – Communicate consciously
It’s true that the life of a tweet or post is short, but what you say and how you interact online will be remembered.
Here are some guidelines to remember:
Had a hard morning at work and feeling cranky? Don’t post.
Feeling desperate for more clients and sales? Don’t post.
Been drinking and see something online that upsets you? Don’t post.
Be kind and caring with your posts.
Don’t just post links back to your website, take the time to engage and interact.
Enjoy using social media to communicate with a wider audience – it is possible to form strong friendships and networks from social media interaction.
Remember, social media is just another way to market and engage with your target market.
Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t say face-face with your best friend.
You can make more friends in 2 months by becoming interested in other people than you can in 2 years by trying to get other people interested in you – Dale Carnegie
Have you thought about your social media strategy lately? Did this post help give you some ideas to approach it in a more conscious and purposeful way?
Kylie Saunder has been helping SME and entrepreneurs for the last 5+ years know what to say and how to say it so their online content stands out from the crowd. She writes content in her client’s voice for their social media posts, websites and blogs and can be found at www.kyliesaunder.com.