Your business is a part of the connected generation today!
Social Media lies at the core of Gen C – the generation of connectivity. And that’s where your audience is – it’s not about age, it’s about preferences. And most of us are digital, social and mobile. What you do on social media and importantly, what you don’t, goes a long way in shaping your brand’s perceptions.
Are you letting any of the following social media myths impact your small business?
Social media is a separate strategy
“I need to make time for social media,” is a common refrain from many entrepreneurs. Rethink this one! Unless your business needs no marketing, advertising or endorsements, social media has to be an integral part of your overall plan.
Start with the basics – who you sell to and how. When you identify your customers, assess their social habits. There is plenty of data on social media preferences by gender, age and lifestyle choices.
Similarly, when you plan your content or promotions – sales, newsletters, workshops, free trials etc. – use social not just to spread the word, but also build leads and customers.
I need to promote only my business all the time.
Promotion helps your business. But quality content is what matters to your audience. So guess what will keep them coming back to your platform.
Thumb rule – follow the 80/20 rule of sharing, with only a fifth of your shares being promotional. In the long run, this is not only a smart strategy to keep them coming back, but also strengthens your brand value.
No use connecting If she can’t be a customer!
Not true! Most entrepreneurs garner new business through referrals.
Relationships based on connects take on many forms – customers, influencers, mentors, the press and even people you can help. Don’t forget the connectors like intermediaries, brokers, incubators – they are the ones who help businesses grow in different directions.
So I need to invest my social media time on prospects only is a shortsighted view that comes with an opportunity cost.
On social media, see and interact with everyone as a recommender rather than a customer.
Posting and Sharing is important – doesn’t matter what I say
Yes, it matters. Relevance counts most of all. If yours is a landscaping business, I want to find stories on seasonal shrubs on your Facebook Page or your designs on Instagram. The picture of your kitten no matter how cute, might be out of place unless you are making a compelling case of killing field mice.
As an entrepreneur wearing multiple hats, the time spent creating and distributing irrelevant content is better served elsewhere. So it’s in your best interest to stay on and around the topic.
Social media is too high-tech for me
New technologies take time to figure out, yes, but most social media are designed to be user friendly with loads of easy directions. To get started, you can always ask a friend, watch a video or find helpful articles like this one on smart Instagram Tips.
It’s free so why not.
They say that in business there are no free lunches. Ditto for social media. But this outgo isn’t always monetary – the price of a mis-step can be costly for your business.
Social media is both visible and permanent – those very same advantages can also hurt an incautious sharer.
There are plenty of instances of twitter rants causing lost jobs, negative publicity or PR debacles. Using licensed images in your media without credit or payment can lead to legal hassles. Similarly, certain social and political ideas might be seen as potentially controversial, so think through your content before you post.
Even if it’s your personal account, share wisely, especially on public forums like Twitter or Pinterest. Bottomline, go with the premise that your audience is reading everything!
You can’t reach customers unless you advertise
Sure, social media companies want to make money. In 2017, be prepared to see your free reach becoming lesser, as they entice you to advertise. That said, there’s plenty of free tools and guides you can use to connect with your audience before you bite the bullet and fork out the spends.
If you choose paid promotions, social media analytics and insights make it very easy to track the outcomes of your spends. You can track your ROIs, cost of reach, clicks, engagement by type and even what a conversion costs you.
Likes and comments are what count, mostly
Most entrepreneurs have loyal friends and supporters who dutifully like and comment on posts to bump them up – everyone knows the game by now. There are also plenty of You like my page and I will like back your feed options on social. Likes help your visibility but really, these are often vanity metrics with no real impact on your business growth.
Engagement – real and systematic – will help your brand more. Always.
Get testimonials, conduct polls, ask questions where readers can share their experiences, concerns or wins. Posts that are shared, retweeted and re-pinned count high on the feed hierarchy.
At Maroon Oak, our social team regularly connects with women professionals on their platforms. Not just likes and comments, we also actively share others’ content as well as add insights, answers and links where we can.
Social media is a good tool for my business
Correction – social media is a great tool! Provided you pick the right channel to reach your audience and importantly, manage your bandwidth well.
Posting regularly and consistently is the key, else, it’s probably better to maintain fewer accounts with quality posts and strong engagement.
If people like you, they will listen to you, but they will do business with you only if they trust you. And see you often on their social feeds.
Are you Smart on Social?
Evaluate yourself on this 7 point checklist below to find out how you stack up. Have you?
Identified your customer base
Understand how the major social media channels work
Know where your audience is
Share regular & relevant content
Explore free and paid social media features
Create engagement opportunities
Engage on other pages and feeds of your audience.
So (depending on your score) whether you are a Social Starter or making great Social Strides, keeping these goals in sight can boost your business hugely.
As Facebook becomes the next big search engine, Pinterest a visual powerhouse and Instagram the quick visibility platform, make sure you’re right there, doing the right things on this fast moving social train.
Don’t wait for Serendipity, Drive your Success!
Pooja Krishna is an Entrepreneur, Consultant and Mom. She has worked both in large corporates and managed startups over the last 20+ years. She Blogs and teaches Workshops on Social Media, Professional Brand Building and Future Ready Career Solutions.
A co-founder of Maroon Oak, she’s also founded Win Thinks, a small business consulting company, and Trading Paces, which educates amateur and pro stock traders.
A trivia buff and yoga & hula hoop enthusiast, Pooja loves spending time with her family playing board games and watching documentaries.
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