Many small business owners understand the need to be engaged in social media. Social media is about engagement and influence. While it may not immediately be generating leads or sales for your business, it will help right from the beginning to build relationships with your followers and potential customers, as well as helping to bring your business to the forefront of their awareness as you engage and interact with people through your social media profiles.
There are a few things to consider as you decide how to get the best bang for your social media buck, or at least how to make social media worth the time you spend on it for your business.
4 tips for your small business as you consider how to use social media:
1) Leverage your personal network on Facebook.
It IS your business, and there’s nothing wrong with inviting your friends and family to like your business page. (There is an ‘invite friends’ link in your sidebar as an administrator on the page. You DO have a Facebook page for your business, right?) Share on your personal profile something about your business once or twice a week. Keep in mind that many of your friends will want to support you in your endeavors and patronize your business if possible. Don’t be obnoxious with your sharing, of course. But do include your personal network in your social media plans for your small business.
2) Be sure to follow the right people on Twitter.
You can follow the right people on Twitter by using searches (for your geographic location or industry niche, for example), and then following and engaging the people who turn up in your searches. Always follow people who interact with you, and share other people’s tweets if you find them useful and helpful. You make good Twitter friends by being a good Twitter friend, so tweet others as you’d like them to tweet you!
3) Decide how much time or money as a small business owner you want to spend on social media and stick to it.
Social Media Managers can come along side and help you get your profiles set up, and even manage your profiles with or for you. But they are doing work for you, and will obviously need to be paid for that work (various pay levels based on experience, geographic location, and amount of work).
If you don’t have the revenue to support hiring a social media manager, then you’ll need to spend some of your own or your staff’s time, instead. In general, I advise that you can do most of what needs to be done to maintain your profiles by spending about 30 minutes a day on social media. The time commitment can go up to 2 hours, or so, if you’re pursuing aggressive audience engagement and building, as well as blog management.
If you don’t have time, or you know you just don’t have the technical know-how or want-to to take care of your social media, then seek out a social media manager to help you. Whether you are spending money or time, just know what your limits are, and stick to them.
4) Above all, remember Quality is better than Quantity.
That really is true. You can try out free programs and even pay for other systems that will add hundreds of likes and thousands of followers to your accounts in a matter of days… but will they be engaged, quality connections? Likely not. You want to be connecting with people who are likely to interact with you, and possibly do business with you. Organic growth may be slower, but will serve you better in the end.
As a small business owner you want to be using social media to highlight what you’re doing in your business. You need to continue to become better at doing your business with the help of social media, rather than on just being better at using social media. Always keep in mind that social media is a tool in your toolbox, but it is not the nuts and bolts of your business.
Being involved in social media at all as a small business owner means you’re at least ‘in the game’. In Canada, I believe being involved in social media with your business, at this stage in the development of social media here, even puts you ahead of the game. Don’t get overwhelmed with what feels like the big world of social media. Use these tips to help you focus your social media efforts for your small business, and to help keep perspective if at times you’re wondering if it’s really worth the effort or money. It is, I assure you, but your business always needs to stay top priority!
Welcome to Off the Wall!
Raylene and Jeff Wall