Leveraging Social Media And Running A Small Business
By: David Siteman Garland, author of Smarter, Faster, Cheaper: Non-Boring, Fluff-Free Strategies for Marketing and Promoting Your Business
You are a small business owner. You take care of clients and customers. And the marketing. And managing. Heck, you also clean the toilets if you have to.
You also understand social media is important. You have heard all the buzzwords. You are on Facebook. You may have set up a Youtube channel. You are tweeting...perhaps. While every person has a different opinion on how to maximize new media, but you have one key question:
“How in the heck do I have time to do all this and still run a business?!?!”
Bonne question! I’ve had thousands of conversations with people extremely successful with social media and with thousands of folks who are not getting any traction. The same stories of success and failure come up over and over again. Why? Because social media, new media, Web 2.0, whatever the heck you want to call it, is a lot like falling in love.
Perhaps you have been in one of these situations: You are/were dating someone that you were sort of into. But you always claimed you never had time to hang with him or her. You were too busy. Maybe washing your hair or walking the dog. Then, suddenly you find your soul mate and the excuses go away. You spend more time with him or her and your life doesn’t fall apart. Suddenly you aren’t so busy.
The funny thing is using social media for your small business is really no different. It takes time and effort to create real value and it doesn’t happen overnight. Like a long-term relationship, you simply have to engage with it -- and work at it.
Here are social media lessons to maximize both your time your small business marketing strategy:
1. Attend the right THREE parties.
Think about the various types of social media as different kinds of parties. Some are parties you are attending. Some are parties that you are throwing.
A big mistake is trying to attend every party. That is similar to trying to attend every business conference. Sure, you might be able to make it to each one, but you will be exhausted and I doubt you will really add or take away any value.
My suggestion, from the trenches building my successful online show, The Rise To The Top, from 0-100,000 viewers in less than two years is to pick a total of three types of social media from the following categories:
Category #1: Online Content You Create (your party) (CHOOSE ONE TO START)
- Webinar Series
- Online magazine
- Video tips
- Another type of content you dream up
Category #2 Places You Hang Out (other parties) (CHOOSE TWO TO START)
- A couple of the other zillion social media and new media sites
2. Avoid Common Social Media Mistakes & Time Wasters
As any small business owner knows, time is a premium. Your personality probably falls into one of two categories:
- Need a plan down to the minute.
- Need only a guideline.
Here are the most common mistakes I see made in social media for both personality types:
A: You’re not creating your own online content, sponsoring content or curating content. Meaning, you are just...talking. Nothing wrong with talking, but trust and authority come from creating online content.
B: You’re creating online content, but focusing it solely on your product. Instead focus on a subject or topic of interest. Tell stories that draw the reader in. What do people care about that you can write/blog about? Keep your social media marketing relevant and human.
C: Lack of consistency in creation. Have a consistent day(s) you post. Perhaps it is Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday/Thursday.
D: Spending your allotted time on online content creation. When you do this, you won’t build traction. The secret sauce of social media is the social element. Be a social media leader by building relationships, meeting people, etc.
3. The Big Secret....
...is there is no secret. Everyone has different opinions. In my experience of going from a complete unknown to building a 100,000 person community online in less than two years via social media, I’ve found that there isn’t one thing that worked. It is a combination of many things.
Since 2008 I’ve posted over 200 articles, 500 videos, 14,000+ tweets, talked to the media over 200 times, hosted 26 events -- the list goes on. Those numbers aren’t meant to scare you, but instead encourage you because it all starts with one simple step. One post. One tweet. One interesting conversation. It is up to you to build the momentum.
Go get ‘em!
Davis Siteman Garland is the creator/host of The Rise To The Top, the #1 Non-Boring Business Show and author of Smarter, Faster, Cheaper: Non-Boring, Fluff-Free Strategies for Marketing and Promoting Your Business, (Wiley, 2011).