Social Media – scary, hard work or pointless ?

If you think doing social media for your business is either scary, too much like hard work or just pointless … The truth is you are not alone – Just about everyone feels the same, at least at first.

social media logo mashupHowever like it or not, love it or loathe it – social media is here to stay and the huge reality check for all businesses is you cannot ignore it.

Don’t become a slave – but at least give social a shot

 You don’t have to post and update every five seconds on every platform – You don’t have to become a slave to social media in order to add some brand value to your business.

Fear of what to say, scared of getting it wrong or not wanting to come over like diva are all common reasons for not embracing social media – But you have to bite the bullet and at least lightly embrace the key platforms otherwise your business will be left behind.

If you don’t want to be centre stage that’s perfectly fine – let your brand and story do the work, make the most of your recommendations and case studies, retweets are fine, focus on the “why” of your business and the benefits to the customer – you don’t need to be “out there” but you do need to be out there.

Something is definitely better than nothing

If you are a mega brand looking for world domination then maybe you do need a million followers on instagram or 100’s of videos on YouTube and you probably should be getting someone to be updating your facebook and twitter every five minutes with something happening – but that  really isn’t necessary for a small business.

Anything relevant that you add really is worth doing

Relax don’t feel the second you register an account you have to be posting updates for ever and a day – occasional updates, news, special offers or customer feedback are fine and worth doing.

Every business is different but there are some key social media platforms that serve different functions but that most businesses should have accounts for … if for no other reason than to make sure you have secured your brand name on the most popular platforms.

Key Social Media Platforms

Twitter: Use for building up your following and for following back customers and people in your field. Keep up with relevant news and let your followers know about your news, updates, events and new things on your website – Always try to link your tweets to your website & use images.

Facebook: Setup your business page and fill out all the relevant info, maybe try some paid ads as these can be very targeted (much more so than most other channels) but simplest approach is to just share your updates and posts that you create on your main website.

Instagram: Visually focussed and not very link friendly, use instagram for leveraging all of your visual marketing and make sure your brand and domain is visible on the posts if possible.

Pinterest: Similar to instagram with more of a craft feel and less of an celeb feel.

YouTube: This potentially time & resource hungry option requires good quality video. Potentially talking head pieces or tours of your business could work well but they need to look polished and they also need to be on your website.

There are many many other social media channels but you should aim as a minimum to have twitter and a Facebook business page and post on the them at least monthly but ideally at least  weekly. Also register your brand / name for accounts on instagram & pinterest account even if you don’t use them straight away. A youtube channel maybe worth considering if you are good with video but even so – secure your brand on YouTube.

Slow and steady is better than starting strong and fading fast

A lot of the social media guides and consultants will tell you that you need to post twice a week / twice a day or just constantly adding new things. Frankly that is the sort of advice that puts businesses off – it starts to look like an impossible mountain to climb so the whole “social media” thing gets kicked into the long grass or dismissed as a waste of time.

If you want to become the next insta sensation then yes it’s going to become a fulltime job and a pretty unhealthy one at that, but for most small businesses just having a crack at social media is worth the effort even if you only post occasionally you will be adding to your business.

Start simply, get a routine & stick to it

The key to effective social media is consistency – set yourself some realistic goals, then stick to them, planning ahead is even better. But most of all be regular – If you can post consistently on a weekly basis don’t start out posting everyday and run out of steam.

In fact the same applies to blogging or adding content to your website, figure out what you can manage to do and if it’s only once a month – staying the course and posting once a month for a year is much more value than getting burnout after a couple of months.

Make the best use of your efforts – add the content / news / event or whatever directly to your own website and then feed out the link and taster info to that page via all your social media channels instead of creating unique adhoc things for different social media … look at social media as a broadcast medium not a publishing medium and you will get the benefits of social without the headaches.

Number ONE rule

If you are putting the effort into writing something especially on a regular basis then put it on your website … and then link to it via all of your social media.

The idea is to maximise the value of what you write or create – your website is your website and you can vastly increase traffic and traction by adding to and improving your website and then letting the world know about it via social media … that becomes a virtuous circle.

Your WeFindLocal listing is a bit of an exception on the writing front because it’s not throw away social media and there are much bigger long term advantages for you and your website to be gained from having a well written appealing in depth profile listing on …

But generally you should not be spending a lot of time writing one thing for facebook and one thing for twitter and one image for instagram and one for pinterest – create something good for on your website (long term value) and use your social media to tell the world about it (short term interest).