Social Media and the Small Business Owner

Yesterday, I had 10 minutes to present to my Christian Professional Network group my overview of social media and what small business people need to know about it. I have used my experience in blogging and later other platforms since 2004 to support my comments and recommendations, now having well over 2000 posts across several blogs and growing a worldwide network of people I can call upon for support and extra help getting the word passed around (which is what it takes to grow a business: connections of value).

First up: “Social” is the first word on Social Media. With the exception of LinkedIn, the other commonly used social media platforms all began as places to be social. Over time, it has become acceptable to conduct business in places like Facebook and Twitter. Key point: Treat all your work on these sites as if there are real people at the other end of the typed characters on the screen, being civil and polite, just as you would if that person (or group) was there with you in person, and things will go well.

Secondly: Sitting in a networking meeting indicates you already have a great understanding of how to use social media. You come to the meeting to meet others, to not only promote your product/service, but too get to meet others and hear about what they have to offer. Just take that model digitally, and you can figure out what you’re trying to accomplish quite nicely.

I quipped: Who had a surrogate work out for them at the gym this morning. In answer to the question, no one raised their hand. Calling on Grant Corrigan, an excellent and experienced health coach, I asked how long it would take to get rid of 30 pounds. Answer: 3 Months. This direction was meant to point out that 1) The results from someone else doing the work will provide very different results from self involvement, as well as, like just about every thing else, it takes effort over time to get results.

My take on the analogies of the major places small business uses to get more importantly than traffic, but revenue:

Twitter: The run by the people at the water cooler in the office notification system. Short, to the point, but lacking in details.

Facebook: (Your business page that is) Your nice glossy trifold brochure. You can pack quite a bit of detail there, and include some of the necessary information, but you don’t control the “space” surrounding your message.

LinkedIn: The place where you present and establish your credibility. The resume and detail supporting your claims of experience.

In all three above, the area around your posted information is filled with “oooo! shiny new stuff!” distractions, placed by the service, or those on your feeds. In that arena, there is a potential for the viewers to be distracted easily.

The final frontier for placing your message is: Your Website/Blog. This is the I have your attention now, and let’s discuss what I can do for you. The only surrounding distractions there will be those you choose to place. The message you send to the world in this medium is up to you, managed by you and therefore the perfect place to drive interested parties. The level of information can range from the superficial, to the dramatic detail. consider this: You will meet people and have opportunity to present yourself/your business, and you will need several versions to meet that need, dependent on the level of interest shown. Put it all there, and then you can refer them to the appropriate level of information by forwarding a link.

I have been asking for years: “how would you like to talk to someone for 30 seconds and get them to listen to you for 30 minutes?” By spending some time putting a strategic plan for your social media together, I can show you how to achieve this, and make it customized to your needs.

Just what can you do with the recaptured time by doing this well? Most likely, spending your time on the direct revenue generating aspects of your business. How would that effect your bottom line?

A major issue to consider in conducting any social media work is this: Who knows your business, your message, your capabilities and your possible restrictions (if you are in a regulated, or ethically manged profession) better than you? That is an important beginning point, as outsourcing, at the least, can tend to get only a superficial presentation out to the audience, and in the worst of cases, you may lose your professional credentials, and all without anyone setting out to have that happen. In the long run, the best voice is your own. This does mean you’ll have to get involved at some level for the copy going out. Think of it this way: You’ve already been in the business of crafting your message so you’re already on the right track to get it out, it’s just a different delivery method of the same information you use now.

My goal is help you use your digital life effectively to augment your work style. Call me lazy, but I have spent over three decades doing exactly this, with substantial results.

Call me to set up a consultation to get a solid, functional plan to fit your work schedule and your digital media platforms.

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