As an entrepreneur, odds are that marketing is just another hat you wear. Along with being the bookkeeper, customer service rep, and salesperson, you are responsible for growing your brand. When you search for marketing tips, you also find out that social media “ninja” apparently is something “marketing pros” say you need to become.
Social media can be an intimidating place. There are many different platforms and ways to participate. You may be asking “What social media sites should I belong to?”, “How often should I post?”, or “What should I even be posting?”. Before you join every social media site available, try to post all of the information you think your customer needs, and eventually experience burnout, I want you to do this:
Take a deep breath in. Slowly breathe out. Then say, “I can do this!”.
Good. You can do this! Now we got that out of the way, I want to share with you 3 ways you can actually leverage social media to help grow your brand on social media without having to be a social media “ninja”.
Social media isn’t a code you can crack or involve a magic formula you can use to go “viral”. However, there are a few ways to set yourself up for success and begin to really connect with your customers online.
1) Develop a Plan
Seems really obvious, right? However, many entrepreneurs like yourself dive in headfirst to social media without having a clue of what goal they are trying to accomplish. To begin developing your plan, ask yourself these questions:
- What is my goal with social media? Typically, a goal of proper social media use should be to engage in conversation with your audience (more on this in the next point). Other goals would be to help raise brand awareness or promote certain products.
- What social media site is right for me? Don’t sign up for them all at once. You can sign up for more as you go along and continue to grow your brand, but try getting really good at one platform before you move on to the next. Good at writing short comments? Try Twitter. Prefer taking pictures? Maybe Instagram or Facebook would work best for you.
- How often should I post? I always suggest to people that it’s better to be consistent and post less often, than post frequently at the beginning because you are excited and then fizzle out. Find a number of posts per week you can commit to and start there. Just remember to try and space them out over the course of a week!
2) Listen to your audience
As I mentioned in the first section, listening to your audience is key. Social media has a major benefit that many other forms of traditional advertising don’t: you customers now have a way to provide feedback.
While not all customer feedback is beneficial (let’s face it, sometimes people are just mean online for no reason), much of it can be. Engage politely in the comments on your posts, or create content that allows for customers to join in conversation with you.
Check out this article (after you finish this one of course) from Allagui & Breslow for 4 great examples of listening to your audience and engaging with them online.
3) Be Real
This tip is going to be very short. Even though it is very simple, many people also struggle with it the most. Be real. Be authentic. Be true to the brand, your company, and why you got involved in the first place. People can tell when you are being fake from a mile away and it won’t connect with anyone. You might get lucky and fool a few people, but it will eventually catch up with you and your brand.
Again, be authentic on your social media.
With these three tips, you can start with social media with a good basis for success. Of course, you will learn more overtime, but these three ideas will always be at the core of more in-depth social media practices.
Any thing else you would want to add to this list or question? Let’s talk in the comments below!