I’ve seen some great conversations in some of the business groups I’m in about social media. Specifically, the numbers game. We all know how awesome it feels to see new likes on our FB page or to gain more Instagram followers. Numbers are a great tool for gauging your reach and figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Numbers should be used as one metric of success, not the ONLY one. The most important aspect of social media for business is engagement.
Quality engagement is when you are posting content, photos, and comments that are not only true to your brand, but are also helpful or inspiring to your audience.
I’ll be frank, I don’t have 10,000 followers on any of my social media accounts. I’ve been slowly working on a social media strategy that is effective, efficient, and draws in clients. It’s not easy. What I don’t want to do is get stuck in a social media loop where I’m spending 10 hours a day posting, tweeting, or commenting. There is no way that I’m putting out quality content if that’s what my strategy is. Instead, I’m working on understanding my audience better and refining my approach. Don’t get me wrong-numbers do matter! Every follower furthers your reach and can increase your revenue and solidify your place as an expert in your field. One way I’m doing this is to look at what other successful businesses are doing that have a similar audience to mine. I’m not talking about stealing their ideas (WAY bad), but modeling my approach on their level of engagement. How often to do they post and when? What’s their content like? How much of what they post is personal vs. strictly business? Why am I following them? All of these things lend insight on what they might be doing right and what I need to do better.
Another great way to build a strong social media following is to network with other small business owners. It can be a huge asset. I’ve recently joined a few Facebook groups focused (mostly) on women business owners. There are photographers, designers, event planners, finance gurus, copywriters-you name it. They are all amazingly talented and they are willing to offer their advice and insights FOR FREE. While they may not be divulging every trade secret they have, they are more than willing to give out professional opinions, connect you with resources, or simply be positive motivators. I highly recommend that if you are not already a part of an awesome group of like-minded pros, you find one-or several-asap.
At the end of the day, the most important recipe for social media success is you. Are you engaging consistently with your followers? Are you posting content that is helpful, inspiring, funny, or interesting to your audience? Are you following proper etiquette when you are interacting with people on social media? Just like with any other aspect of business, quality and intention matters. We should be approaching our business audience online like we would in person. This means that what we post (or don’t) should all be in line with our goals and values. Here’s a simple do’s and don’ts list to keep in mind:
- DO post quality content that’s relevant to your audience
- DO network with other like-minded creatives to grow your social media presence organically
- DO use social media numbers as a marketing metric but DON’T forget that it only tells part of the story
- DO treat all of your followers like they are a potential client-because they just might be!
- DO have a social media plan and DON’T be afraid to tweak it if it’s not working for you
- DON’T forget that you’re a human being and not a marketing machine. Effective engagement requires you to let your personality show
- DON’T spam your followers with constant updates. Your dog is amazing but we still don’t need to see 20+ pictures of him in a row. Space it out or trim it down
- DON’T follow people ONLY in the hopes they might follow you back
- DON’T badmouth people online. Ever.
- DO keep in mind that comparison is the thief of joy. The success of others should inspire and motivate you not make you feel bad