It has been my pleasure over the last eight months to work with several entrepreneurs in many different types of industries. When I first start my consulting business, I knew that social media would be part of my list of services. My specialty is grassroots marketing which is, an inexpensive way of promoting small businesses, through partnerships and customer relations management, to promote word of mouth referrals. Social media, in my opinion, is an online extension of grassroots marketing.
The biggest obstacle that I have encountered is how to appropriately help entrepreneurs understand social media and execute it in a manner that will monetize their business. Here is what I have learned and what I have found makes the most sense for small companies.
What are your options?
- Hire someone to manage and execute your social media efforts
- Have someone train you to utilize social media channels
Most entrepreneurs have enough on their plates that they would prefer someone manage these efforts for them. The challenge that comes along with someone else managing your social media efforts for you, is that no one understands your business better than you do. If you allow someone to train you how to use these channels, you will be able to speak on behalf of your own business and you will have someone on board to answer questions if you need help along the way.
- MOST important is the blog… It is the anchor to all of your efforts!
- LinkedIn: Professional networking site
- Twitter: Information sharing network
- Facebook: Social connection site
A blog not only educates your potential clients about your product or service, it also builds your search engine optimization through providing current and relevant information. You will find that your business will slowly but surely climb to the top of the Google organic searches if you are consistently posting articles. These articles do not need to be lengthy; they only need to be constant. A good rule of thumb is to compose two blog posts per week. If you are stretched for time, one post per week is better than none at all.
LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are means of pushing out your blog and building relationships with prospective clients and other complimentary businesses. Be quick to respond to comments. Make sure you are reposting or “retweeting” other relevant content. Most importantly, start conversations! If at all possible, it is always a good idea to try to take your new found relationships off-line and meet in person.
- Set realistic expectations for yourself and for your business
- Find a time of day that works well for you allocate at least 30 minutes 3-4 times a week
- Do NOT get frustrated and do NOT give up!
Your hard work will absolutely pay off, but understand from the beginning that it is not going to happen overnight. Incorporating social media into your schedule is a lifestyle change. Upon mastering the necessary tools, it will become easier and more efficient. Once you start the fly wheel spinning you are generating momentum that will be lost if you choose to let up. As with any new challenge there is a learning curve and once you get past you will be far ahead of your competitors!