Understanding social media can be extremely difficult and intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be! A small business that is not using social media will have a hard time competing in today’s marketplace much longer.
When I first started NorthMac Services, I was completely overwhelmed! To be honest, I had a much more shallow understanding of social media back then and didn’t really even begin to harness it until the last year and a half or so.
This has not made me an expert on social media, but I have definitely learned a few things along the way. In true Einstein fashion, I learned some things not to do before getting it right—that’s for sure!
For one, I found out that there is no ”secret formula” to social media success. I’m sure there are some incredible courses out there on how to win at social media, and I encourage you to take them! But ultimately, social media must be made to fit your business on your schedule—because if not, you won’t have or make time for it, no matter how much you know you NEED to do it.
Also, I learned that you should start small. Look, there are so many social media options. You will get immediately overwhelmed and inundated with choices (like I did!), you will have no clue where to start, and you will start out making mistakes that are easily avoidable—like showing up on too many channels at once, posting the same types of content to each channel, etc.
Lastly—and thankfully—I learned that social media is a whole lot easier than it actually looks. Finally some good news, right? Now, this is no “Get X amount of likes quick” scheme. As hard as it may be to think like this, “likes and shares” are not the only pointers to validation on social media.
But, if you’ll follow the three strategies I am about to outline, you will be able to finally demystify social media in your mind and take control of it in your business.
Strategy #1: Crucify your Hesitation
Seth Godin says, “The only thing worse than starting something and failing is not starting something.” The fact is that most of the time, thinking about doing something is often a whole lot worse than doing it! If your business has not taken the leap into social media yet, you may be thinking that you have no idea where to start. Or—you may be thinking, “Who is going to be responsible for this?” Or—“I didn’t go to school for this, what do I do?!” Look if you’re facing that—I get it. But what I am telling you is to, right now, CRUCIFY those hesitations. Get rid of them. NOBODY knows where to start. Anyone with half a brain can be responsible for this in your organization, and not one thirteen-year-old girl with thousands of followers went to school for social media training. Get your mindset right first—then and only then will you be able to move on to the next strategy with confidence.
Strategy #2: Plan for Failure; Strive for Success
I’m a natural planner—a product of my raising, I guess! My language so far may have sounded like I wanted you to dive in no holes barred, but that’s not the case! I do want you to remove the fear surrounding social media, but like all good business strategies, this is one that must be planned. There will be details to iron out, and honestly, you should plan for complete and utter failure. You need to be okay with getting some things wrong in the beginning. The beautiful thing about social media is that your customers are always giving you feedback, even by their silence! It’s actually pretty easy to iterate and recover from a failed social media strategy unless it somehow did catastrophic damage to your brand image. Always plan for failure, but always strive for success. Social media is just a tool—it need not get the better of you.
Strategy #3: Establish a Schedule, then Automate/Delegate
Strategies one and two are very conceptual, but number three is practical. And literally—number three IS social media for small business. It’s likely you don’t have a marketing manager or large marketing team, and if that’s the case, it all relies on you! But never fear—you CAN conquer social and usually in less than 30 minutes a day. I will give you a simple formula: (1) Figure out when you will post (be consistent!), (2) sign up for Buffer and “schedule” those posting times and watch this quick video on how to post updates to Buffer, and (3) optionally, delegate this responsibility to an available team member once you’ve hashed out your social media strategy with them. That’s it! Honestly, I handle all of my own social media communications, and I usually spend less than 10 minutes per day. A very small investment of your time, and yet, one that is necessary.
Here’s the bottom line: Social Media is MUCH less intimidating than it sounds. Don’t try to start out in too many places at once—use common sense and a small amount of market research to determine where most of your target market hangs out online, and show up there first and in a big way. IF most of your market is on Facebook, for example, show up there and built that up for a year or so. THEN, add Twitter (or Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) when you’re ready to expand.
[bctt tweet=”The beautiful thing about social media is that your customers are always giving you feedback, even by their silence!” username=”northmacsvc”]
Yes, social media strategy gets way more in depth than this—that is why there are whole marketing groups dedicated to nothing but social media! But getting started as a small business owner does not have to be a challenge, and I think you should get started…