The best way to waste lots of your time and have to repeat efforts is to jump into social media without a plan. There are some things you have to know before you do anything on social media.
If you’re just starting to build your business online then social media has undoubtedly crossed your mind. Social media is a great place to spend time building your business but only if you have realistic expectations.
No magic will happen on social media. It won’t somehow create instant sales or help you promote your product. You’ll find more power in building customer service and brand awareness than sales on social media.
Even with that, social media is still necessary for most small businesses.
Social media still requires planning before you jump in. It takes time and effort to manage so you want to be sure you know why you’re doing it.
If you don’t have the time or you can’t come up with a good reason, don’t do it.
Because everyone else is on social media isn’t a goal that will have good results. You won’t be happy with your results at all.
Before choosing a platform, creating a profile, or putting together content there are a few things you must figure out first.
Know This First
Kind of like you wouldn’t one day decide you want to build a house and start nailing boards together, same with social media.
The end product of something you decided to do one day without a plan often doesn’t turn out good. That doesn’t mean it’s hopeless but the chance it turns out great are minimal.
Building a house requires a reason, a plan, and what you want it to do (or have). Social media is no different. You have to have a plan, a goal, who it’s for, etc.
Before you start building your profiles, content library, schedule, etc. there are some basic things you need to know first.
Before you start taking time to plan your social media approach, do you have the resources?
You must have time to dedicate to social media each day if you’re going to move forward. It doesn’t have to take hours each day though. It’s possible to have a basic social media presence with just a few minutes each day.Social media doesn't have to take a lot of time. You do need to commit to taking the time to do it before you start though. Click To Tweet
The more time you put into it the better your results but you don’t have to spend your whole day on it.
If you read any news in your industry or related to your industry then you probably already have content to share. There’s always the option of sharing behind the scenes content also. It doesn’t have to take a lot of resources but you do need fresh ideas of what to share.
If you have the time and are dedicated to making social media help you then you need to also have a proper goal.
Why do you want to put your business on social media?
Without the right intent and plan then you’re going to have a hard time.
When social media won’t work
Social media isn’t very good for many of these things so if any of these are your goals, you might want to rethink:
- Making direct sales
- Promoting your product to the world
- Getting followers so you can sell to them
- Making instant money
Hopefully, some of these are obvious but I know there are high hopes attached to social media. Often they’re unrealistic hopes though.
Social media won’t be an instant way to connect with consumers and sell them your product. Even with a lot of warming up, it’s not easy to make a direct sale.
Where social media will help
There are some things social media is extremely powerful at doing though. Social media is good for:
- Connecting with your audience
- Sharing helpful content to benefit others
- Providing customer service where your customers are
- Raise brand awareness
- Sharing relevant (and helpful) content related to your industry
That’s just a few things social media is good at. It can, of course, fit into any section of your sales funnel. That doesn’t mean it can take over any part of your funnel though. It contributes to rather than takes over.
You’ll want to document a goal for getting on social media that’s more specific than simply getting business.
Your goal could be any of the ones I mentioned. Social media is often used to create brand awareness and connect with your potential audience if you have a good message beyond selling. You’ll want to educate or entertain your audience.
The most important thing to keep in mind when forming your goal is to be realistic. Social media won’t be a silver bullet but it can be a great tool to help you connect with your customers and then reach new customers in their circles and beyond.
If you don’t know who you’re targeting with your social media efforts then you’re flying blind.
Hopefully, you already know the target audience of your business which will make knowing your social media audience easier. Without thoroughly knowing your target audience then you’ll have no way of knowing what social platform is ideal for your business.
Not all social media platforms will be effective for your business type. Knowing your target audience will make it easier to find the right network. You don’t get to dictate the social media network you use, your audience will determine your focus.
Not only that but you may get a better understanding of where your target audience hangs out online. It could be that you don’t want to focus on any of the major networks instead opting for a niche network.
If you know your audience well then you can target them well. You just need to know where you can target them.
Where To Focus
There are so many social media networks out there. It’s not only about the major networks anymore because sometimes niche networks are better for your niche than the big ones.
If your audience is of the more general type then the big networks will still have a strong impact on your plan. If that’s the case then knowing the social media demographics of the major networks is a must.
Everyone thinks Facebook is a must but it’s only a must under certain circumstances. If you find customers want to review your business and post content on your page then Facebook is a good tool to get your business out there. That probably doesn’t happen often though.Facebook isn't the holy grail of social media networks like it once was. That doesn't mean ignore it though. Click To Tweet
Facebook more often than not gives you little to no organic reach to connect with people. Your reach with Facebook will almost entirely rely on Facebook advertising.
Luckily Facebook isn’t the only network out there and your focus will probably be on any network but Facebook. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a Facebook page though. It just probably shouldn’t be your focus.
Because Facebook is always in transition, though, you won’t want to write it off completely. It’s best to establish yourself there at a minimum especially if you’re a local business.
If Social Media Is For You
Social media isn’t for everyone and that’s okay. It’s all about making intelligent decisions before you start wasting your time.
With a good plan and understanding of your audience, social media can be a powerful tool to connect your business with consumers. If you’d like to talk about your plan, why you want to add social media to your business, and how to steer towards success, schedule a free consultation to talk with a professional.