This time Nike was wrong…don’t ‘Just Do It’!
New and seasoned entrepreneurs alike have always suffered in some way from the dreaded ‘shoulds’. The should in question this time is social media.
You should have a Facebook business page. You should have a Twitter account. You should have a LinkedIn page, and an Instagram, a YouTube channel, Google+, and the list goes on.
Last year, Inc. Magazine published an article with the top 60 (yes 60) social media tools for entrepreneurs!
Ok, this is where I bring you a cup of herbal tea and suggest you take a deep breath and relax. I’m here to tell you, it’s not always what you need to do, it’s when, and chances are it’s not now.
Don’t ‘Just Do It’
Social media is a powerful tool that requires a thoughtful approach and integration into your overall marketing strategy. Without purpose, strategy, and a crafted storyline, your social media will likely be lost in the sea of inbound and outbound information, costing you valuable time and effort for little to no return on investment.
The Five W’s: Who, What, Where, Why, & When
Go back to basics and walk yourself and your business through the following questions, taking the time to fully answer each one. The results will give you the clarity and focus you need to determine a sensible, actionable, and achievable social media strategy to get you started.
How well do you know your brand? Be certain you can clearly articulate not just the features of your product and/or service, but more importantly, the benefits. How does it meet your prospects needs and concerns. How will it make them feel, act, perform differently?
How well do you know your target audience? Beyond the obvious demographics of age, gender, income, location, etc., do you know their shopping habits, where they hang out both virtually and physically, what other brands they patronize, what influences their purchasing decisions? These answers will help you craft the tone of your social media messages; playful, serious, use of graphics, other interests and concerns, hobbies, etc.
When you are clear on your brand and your target customer, you can create your guideline for choosing topics about which to write.
An easy and effective place to begin is to 1). choose a benefit from your list, 2). create keywords from your benefits, 3). write a topic that includes your keyword, and 4). create posts that elaborate on your chosen topic.
My Core Offering: Provide entrepreneurs with coaching and training that aligns their business vision and dreams with practical, actionable strategies that make sense, and make money.
Chosen Benefit Keyword: Productivity
Topic: How Entrepreneurs Can Effectively and Painlessly Improve Their Productivity
- The Top 10 Free and Low Cost Productivity Tools for Solopreneurs
- Five Things You Just Think You Need to be Doing
- When (and How) to Hire a Virtual Assistant
- Block Scheduling, Planning and Scheduling Your Work Week
Each of these post topics will provide a framework for a series of posts for your week. This is when it actually becomes fun. You can choose quotes, links to resources, pictures, graphics, and ties to your services and products that address this topic.
In this way, your social media is focused, sending a clear message, representing who you and your brand are, and providing quality information that will keep people coming back for more.
Where you begin your social media presence is at the intersection of;
(Where They Are) + (Where You Show Up)
Choosing which social media platform you begin with becomes infinitely easier when you know where your audience already hangs out. This is where you need to show up. Invest in learning more about how to use your chosen tool.
Start with one tool. And use it well.
It’s exciting to see the number of Likes going up on your Facebook page, but unlike Sally Fields at the Oscars (“You like me, you really like me!”), no one is handing you a gold statue for likes alone.
Create your social media with a purpose and a goal. I’ll go out on a limb and say I believe social media is only good for two things; building Like, Know, Trust and building your email distribution list.
Email campaigns are still the number one way of conducting powerful revenue building campaigns. And you already know that people will go out of their way and pay more money to work with people that they like, know and trust.
When it comes to social media, consistency really is the mark of a champion. You will gain following and trust when your audience comes to rely on you for regular content. It need not be daily. For the best results, only bite off what you can chew.
Set aside a specified time for social media development and make it a scheduled part of your work week. I recommend starting with a two or three hour time block once a week. Yes, only once a week. Use this time to collect, write, copy and paste, and then schedule all your posts for the week at one time. The balance of your social media time throughout the week is devoted to responding to comments, questions and likes and encouraging a two-way communication with your audience.
There are plenty of awesome tools out there for scheduling (and tracking and evaluating) your social media posts and everyone has their favorites. If your main focus is Facebook, you can simply start with the Facebook built-in scheduler.
My personal favorite scheduler is Buffer. Hootsuite, and SproutSocial are two other well-known staples. And then there are new players and apps like Everypost. Choose a free or low-cost, easy to learn and operate tool for now. Trust me, that is all you need, today.
Putting It All Together:
When you treat social media as just one tool in your marketing arsenal, one that you control, you will find it to become a fun and effective way to communicate with your audience. It can grow with you and your business and expand to include more creative and advanced applications. Having a clear, actionable strategy and plan for purpose and implementation will pave the way to success.