I often indulge in a little internal chuckle when I get a message or phone call that begins with “I stumbled across your business page in my Facebook feed…”
Nope, you didn’t stumble. This was no accident. I put myself there. Right in your path.
I often hear business owners saying “I don’t like social media. I don’t see the point in putting any energy into it”. That’s a little bit like saying “I don’t like preparing for my tax return. I just don’t see the investment”. Nowadays, to run a sustainable business, there’s not much choice in participating in either!
Whether you’re selling a product or a service, if you’re building new business relationships or planning on boosting sales, even regardless of whether you have a business website or not, you’re eighty gazbillion percent (not a real number) missing out if you’re not developing your business through social media.
As consumers, we are increasingly discerning. We know we can buy product at the click of a button and perhaps pay a little less. If we decide this isn’t the way we want to go, we are looking for a relationship with the person we’re buying from. We like to search for you instead of being tracked down and we like to gauge who you are as a business person more than being sold to. Most of the time, we’ve inspected you online and pretty much made up our mind about your business before we’ve even clicked to buy, come into your store front, or sent you an email.
So, make it easy for us to get to know you.
Make it simple for us to get our hands on your content.
Give us lots of different places to check you out.
Now, here’s where if I am doing a workshop I like to throw in all kinds of stunning numbers. I’m not really a numbers girl, my accountant would wearily testify to this fact, but the kind of numbers that make you feel motivated to get social and get in the action are downright exciting. Google Social Media Statistics 2015 and prepare to be encouraged.
When I start with a new client, I like to go on a mystery hunt for their ideal customer. This is less like stalking, and more along the lines of who the customer is as a person, how they spend and, here’s the important part, where they ‘live’ online. I can tell you, many of us consumers ‘live’ on Facebook.
Nearly 80% of us are on Facebook regularly. Some of us every day. Many of us shop while we’re on Facebook. If you’re thinking, “I’ve never bought something from Facebook”, consider the links you’ve clicked that have taken you to a website OR the amount of times you’ve thought about needing a plumber, hopped onto Facebook, and asked for a recommendation. Around 90% of all businesses that are on Facebook right now are reporting sales from their business page.
One of the top questions I get asked at digital communication workshops is “Do I REALLY have to be EVERYWHERE?”
The answer isn’t too terrible. Yes, it would be nice if you were. Have a Facebook page, an Instagram business account, a LinkedIn profile, a Twitter account if you’d like. Pinterest is also an amazing, growing platform, especially if you deal with wellness and food, and if you’re selling to men, they tend to be on Google +. But don’t spend too much time on all of them. Figure out where your ideal clients will be most likely to find you and do most of your engaging there. The other social places can be a little quieter.
Think of your regular social media places like your favourite café; the best spot to meet someone and have a chat.
Once you’re set up, learn to schedule your Facebook posts so you’re limiting your Facebook Time Vacuum to just an hour a week. Spend less than 10 minutes a day on Instagram. Be on LinkedIn, so that customers can see you are who you say you are.
This kind of relationship building lets your potential loyal customers figure out if your business practices and ethics align with what they’re looking for. They begin to feel like they’re connected to you and, as a bonus, the filters on Instagram make everyone look good.
If you have a website, ensure when you start getting socially active you link all your social media sites to your site. This makes it easier for your new client to get around all your favourite haunts and increases the search engine optimisation (SEO) of your page.
I have a particular soft spot for start up’s and ‘ma and pa’ small business. I completely relate, being an ‘un-funded’ small business owner. My business feeds my family and pays my bills. It’s not a hobby.
So, I totally understand that the world of social media for business purposes can be both overwhelming and exhausting. Especially if you’re considering much of it is usually done at the end of a long day running your actual business.
I’m not advocating you spending hours and days and weeks on social media for a good return on your investment. I’m asking you to consider looking at social media as a really great platform to put deliver your business.
Right in the path of your most ideal client.
So they ‘stumble’ across you.
This piece originally appeared in the Swan Magazine and has been reprinted with permission of the Editor.
Jay Crisp Crow
Yep, really my name