Small businesses can be a tricky thing to grow because resources are usually lower and competition is higher.
Although there are many different ways to market your business social media is definitely one of the channels that you can use to do it cost effectively.
But there are usually a few issues that small businesses run into when it comes to social media. Here are just a few of them
- they don't know what to post on social media
- unsure of what social media channels they should be on
- unclear on how much money they should invest in social media
- don't know the technical side of how to run social media ads
- they think that it is a waste of time/energy
- they view social media as just a distribution channel instead of a communication channel
Don't know what to post on social media - this is usually a challenge for many small business owners because they tend to overthink this part. The best place to start is to think about what your end goal is.
That goal typically is to increase sales which is ALWAYS the goal but the problem with only focusing on that is you will skip and rush through the process that is necessary in order to get the sales.
That process is .....relationship building. If you are in business I am going to assume that you are wanting to build an asset that will continue to grow and provide cash flow over a long period of time.
If that is the case then you are going to want to focus more on building relationships instead of just getting transactions.
In order to do that you will have to discipline yourself to be patient and to develop relationships with your customers.
This requires you to go through the typical relationship building steps which is getting to know them, letting them get to know you, understanding what their pain points and problems are, showing and giving value, and communicating how you can help.
The mindset necessary for this to work is to have a give first mentality. Think more about what you can give your customers than what you can get from them.
This small shift in thinking will cause you to behave in totally different ways. This mindset will cause you to be more empathetic and resourceful for your customers and in return they will end up liking and trusting you.
Once they like and trust you and can see that you offer big value to them THEN they will want to do business with you. By taking the time to build the relationship your lifetime value of a customer will go up!
So the things that you want to post on social media are pieces of content that demonstrate your expertise with a call to action to have some type of communication with you.
That can be in the form of emailing you, commenting on a post, direct messaging you on a social media platform etc.
The goal is to open up and start a conversation so you can build upon that. So think through the types of content that will allow this type of activity to happen.
You are the expert so make sure that you are guiding them through the process and be the leader.
Test as many different formats of content as you can so you can find your sweet spot and then once you do find the sweet spot do more of that!
Unsure of what social media channels they should be on - there are so many different channels that you can use on social media and even offline that it can be overwhelming and expensive to even know where to begin.
What I recommend you do when it comes to choosing your channels that you will be on is, first ask yourself the question who are you trying to target?
You have to know your perfect ideal customer before you set out and do a marketing campaign. The reason why this is so important is by being clear on who you are going after you will be able to choose the correct media platforms that make sense for your business and avoid the ones that don't.
Time is very valuable when you are a small business owner and you can't afford to waste a second on things that will not help you move the needle.
So do your research and find out where your customers are spending the most time on and then create a presence there. It may be one channel it may be three channels it just depends on what business you are in.
Typically (not all) different platforms have a more dominant customer base than others. Facebook's audiences are going to be different than Pinterest audiences because Facebook may have more of a consumer audience that is older versus Pinterest may have more women consumers looking for projects and recipe ideas.
The mindset of each platform is different and the way that you should post on the platforms are different as well. That is why I cannot emphasize enough on investing your time into testing and documenting many different formats until you hit your sweet spot.
Great marketing starts with research and testing!
Unclear on how much money they should invest in social media - social media is an investment just like any other platform so you must treat it as such. You may need to invest into a team of people, ads, or content creation.
But the one thing you must do is....INVEST. If you want this platform to give you an ROI then you must take it seriously and commit.
Social media marketing is not for the lazy and uncommitted. Social media will not work if you just put up one ad or post a piece of content every once in a while.
If you want to get big returns from social then you are going to have to be consistent and take it seriously by allocating some resources towards building and growing it.
This can be anywhere from ten dollars per month all the way to thousands of dollars per month. What you DON'T want to do is purely look at social media as a cost and get overly fixated on that.
You want your mentality to be more of an ROI mentality which is... the cost of investment is irrelevant if you are getting a return on your investment.
You want to start small and test with a small amount of money and once you figure out what works for you THEN you will begin the scaling process.
But when you scale you want to do it incrementally so you can lower your risks to reward ratios.
Avoid the temptation to just blindly spend thousands of dollars until you have figured out what works for you first.
Remember being patient is everything and you want to think about long term success not just one day success.
So start investing some of your marketing dollars into social media today. It doesn't matter how small you start the key is to just commit and begin.
If you want your dollar to turn into ten then you have to start now.
Don't know the technical side of how to run social media ads - there are a lot of resources available to teach you how to run social media ads if you just look for it.
Youtube is a great way to learn and figure out anything that you want to learn on social media. There are also quite a few marketing teachers out there that I do believe add a lot of value when it comes to learning how to do this stuff.
Here are a few that I like to learn from
- Neil Patel
- Eric Siu
- Gary Vaynerchuk
- Jon Loomer
- Ryan Deiss
- Brendon Burchard
- Joe Polish
- Mari Smith
- Social Media Examiner
- Dennis Yu
- Frank Kern
Those are just a few and there are a lot more out there that can help provide you with the tools, support and knowledge all you have to do is invest your time in learning how to do it all.
I like to preach about doing your repetitions. Just like working out or learning a new skill the only way to master it is to practice over and over and over and over again.
There is basically no other way to do it because you can only learn from experience and doing.
Although books and guides are great resources they are only as good as the person testing and applying them. So commit to a learning program today!
They think that it is a waste of time/energy - tools are only as effective as the person using them. If you only put a very lackluster amount of time and energy into social media then yes it is a waste of time.
But with that being said I hope that you have an alternative strategy that you are committing to grow your business because if you take that same mentality and use it on television, billboards, radio, newspaper, direct mail you will also be wasting your time.
The mentality is the most important part about marketing your business because without commitment you will fail.
It is like the saying which is you get out what you put into it and if you put in the time, energy, and resources and you apply it wisely it can bring in big time dollars.
I have personally seen companies bring in over six figures per month using social media. I have heard of companies doing much more than that and I believe it because it is possible.
Social media is literally no different from any other media channel when you think about it. It has human beings who have jobs and interests all hanging out in one place.
It is just like if you were advertising on ESPN, a live sporting event, billboard, the newspaper, the radio, etc.
All those channels represent are places that an audience has been built and then ads have been sold to businesses to get in front of those people.
It is that simple and no more complicated than that.
If you are in business and you understand that you need to advertise and get in front of people then you understand that you must pay and invest in order to be in these other traditional channels to get in front of your target audience.
As Gary Vaynerchuk has said multiple times in his speeches.... there is nothing wrong with the traditional ways of marketing the only problem is they are too expensive based on what else is available in the market.
If you get a billboard in a local town you can pay up to ten thousands dollars per month or more depending on where you are at and for about half that cost you can reach the same amount of people and much more targeted using social media ads.
So just think a little bit more about whether social media is a waste of time or not before you dismiss it because you could be leaving a ton of money on the table that you don't have to.
They view social media as just a distribution channel instead of a communication channel - Social media is more than just a distribution channel it is a place to communicate directly with your customers.
Instead of guessing and trying to figure out what your customers want, you can speak right to them and almost get instant feedback on whatever it is that you are trying to get feedback on.
In order to make social media really work you are going to want to invest in answering and responding to your audiences questions, concerns, and ideas.
Essentially you want to build a relationship with them and invest some time getting to know more about their current circumstances so you can help.
Also you can use social media as a way to research your market and to get a pulse of what is going on in the world so you can adapt.
Social media catches so much data and trends that it is an incredible tool for research and development because you can test your ideas quickly and get a response and who knows maybe someone who is in your community will give you a piece of feedback or advice that can help improve your business.
The key takeaway that I want you to have after reading this article is to do your homework, get involved with social media, and commit to growing your business or your brand.
Everything that you want to accomplish is possible using social media as long as you are committed and you take action every single day.
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If you need help with your business then send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org