Small business growth has grown exponentially in recent years. So has the use of social media. Not surprisingly, the two of these have found they are good match. Social media helps small businesses have a voice and engage directly with their customers. While many small business owners want to use social media more for reaching their target market, there is still quite a bit of reluctance for them to take the leap. (Hint: That’s something I can help with!)
But, you can do it! And here are my tips to help any small business get started using social media.
Don’t worry about being perfect.
So many small business owners are reluctant or even just flat out afraid to start using social media because they are afraid they’ll make a mistake. They feel like they won’t do it right. And you know what? That will probably happen. So what. Make a mistake, learn from it and move on.
You’ve probably run across an article or two or ten from the “social media expert” who’s blasted some business or brand for making a social media mistake and they’ve skewered them as being so obviously unaware of what they are doing. Get of the Internet, they yell.
Of course, there are brands and business out there that have made mistakes. But they also usually have PR or Marketing Agencies that were getting paid the big bucks to protect the brand, be the voice and NOT make these mistakes.
That’s not you.
As a small business owner, you know your business best and you (hopefully) know your market the best. Take the jump and be the voice of your brand. Give people a peek inside and let them get to know who you are.
Be Consistent. Set a Time Limit
Using social media and getting results requires consistency. If you only have 30 minutes a day, then make sure you sit and down and do that 30 minutes each day. Showing up for 2 hours one week and 15 minutes the next week will not yield the results you want. Your fans, followers and customers will come to expect to see you each day. Show up. (Or find someone who can represent you to show up…)
Don’t just sell. Add Value. Engage & Connect
Create trust by adding value first. When people trust you, they buy from you. When they trust you, they are more willing to listen to your opinion and advice.
Ask yourself: What do the people in my target market love? What makes them tick? Let them know you understand them and who they are.
Set Expectations and Be Realistic.
Have a good understanding of what you want to get out of using social media within a certain time period. Be realistic about it though. If you expect to get 10,000 followers on Twitter organically and a 50% jump in sales in the first month, you will be sorely disappointed. Start small with goals like, posting daily and engaging and connecting with 5 or 10 new people each day. Ask what you can do for them. Give before you Get. (Need more help? Consider doing a social media assessment before you get started or consider getting social media help.)
Stay tuned for some actionable small business social media tips an upcoming post.
Image credit: greyweed