Social media is not going anywhere. It can be the avenue that takes your business to the next level of success. Unfortunately, when it comes to social media and small business, many entrepreneurs market themselves in the entirely wrong way. Whether you are just starting out on your social media journey or have already tried and failed, there are several things that you need to know that can help you to succeed.
1. Small Business Advantage
First things first, as a small business owner, you will not have the same staff power and marketing budget as larger companies. Don’t let that discourage you – you are actually at a slight advantage. While larger businesses have the financial backing to do more, you have the opportunity to be more flexible and develop more intimate relationships – and that is what social media marketing is all about (relationship building). Because you own a small business, you are probably doing most of the work yourself and lucky for you, you know your products and services better than anyone else. In return, you can offer more accurate and reliable information to your clients. In addition, rather than outsourcing your communications with your clients, you can interact with them personally. This will help you to develop real and unique relationships that will ultimately help guide you to success.
2. Social media is not a sprint, it’s a marathon
Unfortunately, many small business owners see social media marketing as a quick route to success. This particular belief is one that has led many small business owners to failure in their marketing efforts. Why? If you believe that social media marketing is quick, you will put in a great deal of effort for a few weeks (maybe even a few months). Once you don’t see a huge increase in the number of followers, you will see a big “failure” sign and lose the motivation needed to succeed. Don’t fall into the trap. If you don’t want to put in a long-term effort with social media, just forget about it – you will fail. Businesses do not reach 100,000 followers in a few days or weeks. Social media is a long term process that takes time, commitment, and effort.
3. Keep it real
Another common mistake small business owners make on social media is to create content and to continuously update it, but they fail to communicate with their consumers. The keyword in social media marketing is “social”. Developing a successful social media plan requires you to be social and interact with your consumers. Do as much as you can to initiate conversations and get your audience involved. Listen to your audience and respond to them, create content that will initiate conversations, develop contests or promotions – do anything that you can to get people involved with your business. The more you communicate with consumers (both satisfied and dissatisfied ones), the more success you will see in your social marketing efforts.
4. Stay focused, stay on track
As a small business owner you must also learn that you can’t be everywhere. Especially if you’re limited in your budget and resources. As such, much of the work that you will be doing will be on your own. There is no way that you will be able to manage 20 different social networking sites on your own. Pick and choose the ones that are best suited to your products and services, as well as to your target audience. Do as much as you can, but don’t overload yourself. Two to three well-run social media platforms will lead to greater success than ten poorly run ones.
5. Stay real
Finally, develop realistic expectations. Social media and small business go hand in hand, but if your expectations are too high you can quickly lose motivation – and that will lead to your demise!
Silvia Pencak works with solopreneurs, entrepreneurs and business owners looking to create a magnetic and profitable business presence online, improve their existing systems and leverage social media activity. She helps your clients to fall in love with what you do and turn them into raving fans and referring partners for life. If your business is ready for more results from social media and internet marketing, click here to see how Silvia can help you improve your results.