Social media has become a significant part of our life. Even those who don’t embrace the changes are forced to put up with the fact that interpersonal communication (and the world!) will never be the same.
If you’re an entrepreneur, or you’re planning to become one, you should focus on the core of your business at first. Without a detailed business plan or clear goals, you’re not going to succeed anyway. But once you’ve made decisions related to these major aspects of your endeavor, it’s time to come up with a modern and efficient communication strategy.
How will you reach your potential clients? For example, if you have a shoe shop, you can’t rely only on people who walk by it accidentally. Forty years ago, you probably would have put an ad in the local newspaper. One hundred and forty years ago, you would have hired a shouter to attract the attention of the passers-by.
Nowadays, you can reach thousands of people if you know how to use different social media channels. No matter what’s your niche, there’s a way to boost your small business using the power of social media.
For most of the people, the tweets on Twitter, the photos on Instagram and Pinterest, and the updates on Facebook are main sources not only of entertainment but also of information.
If you feel overwhelmed by all the available advice on the topic, you’re not alone. I recognize this feeling, and I know it’s impossible to follow all the rules you’ve read about. That’s why I came up with a couple of tips for beginners on how to take advantage of social media as an entrepreneur.
Get out there
Having one or several social media channels is inevitable, but this doesn’t mean that you have to invest millions in advertising campaigns. In the beginning, it’s enough to set up your accounts properly and try what works for your small business.
Register a page or an account with an appropriate name. If your business’s name is already taken, try something similar. For example, when I wanted to create an Instagram profile for The Zen Freelancer, the username @thezenfreelancer was already taken.
Maria Carvajal, an entrepreneur and business coach whom I interviewed later for my series Freelance Tips With, had the idea of finding zen as a freelancer before I did. So I had to come up with another option, and in this case, it was suitable to put dots between each word – @the.zen.freelancer
Always register a business account or page, and make sure you include any relevant information – your logo, location, website, short description, etc. Each social media has its specifics, but you can’t go wrong with introducing your business briefly.
Keep it real
Trying to force your audience into buying your products or using your services is not a successful tactic. People are tired of the noisy marketing environment, and they no longer take action, the second you tell them “Order now!”.
On the contrary, if you’re too pushy, your followers will most probably unfollow or even block you. And in the long-term, this might kill your business.
Of course, from time to time, you can present your products or services. But the power of social media is in the community; in the human need for belonging. Make someone love the concept or image of your business, and they will become your customers.
When using social media, try to show the personal side of you as an entrepreneur. Talk also about your struggles and the challenges you face every day.
Always try to provide useful information, insightful tips or relevant niche news, even if they come from your competitors.
Another relevant advice is: don’t underestimate the influence of social media! Always take into consideration the opinion of your audience and never neglect their feedback. Connecting with your followers at any possible moment, even when they have something negative to say, is crucial for building a stable brand image online.
There’s no need to have all the possible social media channels or to update them every hour. In the beginning, you should just try different options in order to understand what works for you.
Ten years ago, when I was working as a Project Manager in a large media company, Facebook was the one social media channel to rule them all. Maybe because Instagram and Pinterest didn’t exist at this time… Anyway, back then, I recognized where to concentrate my social media efforts.
Last year, when I launched the blog, I already knew that Facebook wouldn’t work for me. My goal was to bring traffic to my website. If I was about to use Facebook, I had to pay a fortune for advertising.
After reading a lot on the topic, I found out that I can come up with a good Pinterest strategy instead, so this is where I put all of my efforts. Now I rarely update my Facebook page because it would take too much time. Of course, the best-case scenario would be to take care of all social media channels, but who has time or money for best-case scenarios?!
Don’t try to be perfect in creating your brand’s online reputation. Yes, you’ll find a lot of information on the topic and almost all of the authors would suggest that you need a business page on each social media platform.
But let’s be realistic – most probably, you’re on your own in this entrepreneurial adventure. You can’t spend your days in updating Twitter, uploading photos on Instagram, and following the latest trends on Facebook. Therefore, you have to choose your battles wisely.