by Valerie Morris
Social media is a great tool to help your business grow. However, it can feel challenging and changes constantly.
Many business owners don’t know how to harness the power of social media to actually make a difference for their brand.
Today, I’d like to propose a few mental shifts that can help you use social media to grow your business and your brand’s online presence.
1. Treat Social Media Like Face-To-Face Interactions. Many business owners forget that there are real people behind those profile pictures. The same principles that apply to in-person networking apply to social media as well. Social media is simply a tool to allow you to continue the conversation once you leave a live event.
Social media can also be a tool to start a conversation that you then continue live through coffee, video chat, or phone call. The screen between you and your audience is not an excuse to be rude, lazy, or unprofessional. These media options are actually a great opportunity to connect more frequently with people in your sphere who you might not normally see in person.
2. Become An Authority.
Social media is a great place to showcase your expertise! Publishing articles, sharing articles and resources, and commenting on others’ content are great ways to showcase the depth of your knowledge in a particular field.
First, when you post and interact regularly from this position of authority in your industry, the social media platforms start noticing and publicize your posts more. Also, your network starts noticing and you make impressions on them. Perhaps this doesn’t translate to closed business immediately, but you will get people noticing and knowing what you do, and how well you do it.
I personally have had many friends from former seasons of life reach out to me on LinkedIn to help with social media consulting or help with their website’s presence because they have seen me posting regularly about client projects, blog articles, and other industry articles of relevance over the years. They see me as an authority of some level because I have been trying to convey that message by the types of posts I publish.
3. Follow The 80/20 Rule.
Anyone in business has heard the 80/20 rule: be a value to your audience 80% of the time, and sell to them 20% of the time. No one likes a business or personal profile that is only posting promotional posts on social media. No one. However, you will find long-term relationships with followers and friends by being a value to them with the large majority of your posts. Then, when you slip in some promotional or sales-focused material, they are okay with it. It doesn’t bother them.
I work with a number of folks in professional services industries, such as mortgage brokers, accountants, and financial advisors. You may already be falling asleep just from that list. While these industries may not be as sexy as a local brewery or band on social media, they still can have a successful presence.
For example, our financial services folks can share resources for college savings, budgeting, tax organization tips, etc. When you post content like this, your audience can get relevant tips brought straight to their news feeds and then, later when they are ready to use a CPA or financial advisor, they already know who to call. They already know you, your values, and your expertise because they have found value in following your brand on social media.
I’m a big evangelist for the concept of consistency. I would much rather see a business or professional post once a week, than post 10 times in one day and then sit silent on social media for the rest of the month. Consistency allows your audience to form habits about your brand.
By posting regularly, you tell the public that you are still in business. Brands and icons that sit empty for months are assumed to be closed and obsolete by today’s culture. Consistency also tells the world that you are passionate about your business because it’s something you are willing to share about on a regular basis. Consistency on social media also helps your posts reach your audience in a more comprehensive way. The whole world does not use social media at the same time. We don’t all log into Facebook and check statuses at the same moment.
By being consistent with posts and blogs, you can target people in your audience that may use social media at different times of the day, or days of the week. Finally, your audience is more likely to interact with one of your posts, rather than ten. By dripping your posts at strategic times on a consistent schedule, you will capture your audience’s attention multiple times in a given time period.
5. Don’t Build Your House On Rented Land.
Social media is rented space. We have no control over what Facebook, or Twitter, or LinkedIn decide to do. They could change their algorithm once again to completely change how our audience and followers see our content. Oh wait, these social media powerhouses have already started doing that! Therefore, I encourage my clients to view social media as a funnel and a tool to get your audience on something regular that YOU have control over.
Email newsletter lists are the most common destination for small business owners. When you can use social media to point people to sign up for your newsletter, YOU have control over that list. You can send emails out to your entire list of contacts, not 10% of your list like some social media posts send to. When you change your mindset to view social media as the funnel and not the final destination, you can approach social media in an entirely different way.
Social media is always changing, and while that is frustrating for business owners who want to use it as a tool, it can be a great opportunity to capture the attention of an interactive audience. Social media is not going anywhere, and can be a great asset to your marketing tools if you choose to embrace it.
Valerie Morris is a social media maven using digital tools to help businesses and non-profits share their message with the world. She has seen social media evolve and change from its birth and understands the power behind social media. Valerie founded and manages Tintero Creative, which provides custom social media solutions for organizations all over the country. You can find her regularly blogging at her website (www.tinterocreative.com) and connect with her on LinkedIn.