How to Get Started in Social Media When YOU Are the Business

by Mack Collier

I just had a reader send me an email with a problem that I think a lot of you are facing so instead of sharing this with only him via email, I decided to write this post.  His issue is that he’s a small business owner with no employees, that wants to start using social media to grow his business.  But the catch is he really has no time for social media and wants to know if it would be worth his time to hire someone to post updates for him on Twitter, Facebook, etc.  Any of this sound familiar to y’all?

If you are in a similar situation with limited time and resources, you need to remember two things:

1 – You don’t have to do everything.  You don’t HAVE to be on Twitter and Facebook and blogging, and on Instagram, etc etc.  It’s far better to start small and grow bigger.

2 – You WILL need to invest time in your social media usage.  Or you will need to pay someone else to do it for you.  In almost every instance, I would rather see your business use social media itself since no one can speak in your voice as effectively as you can.

 

So since you have limited time (and money) but still need to find time, we need to start small, but also make smart usage of the limited time you have.  In other words, it would be nice if the time we had to devote to social media was spent on activities we are already engaging in, so that way we can effectively ‘kill two birds with one stone’.

For these reasons, I would recommend starting out by blogging.  Your mileage may vary, but for most small businesses that are trying to get their name out there, a blog is a great vehicle.  As for what to blog about, here’s some ideas:

1 – Common questions you get from customers.  What are the 5-10 questions that you are answering from customers all the time?  Write a blog post for each question, and then you’ll have the answer on your blog.  Because if people are asking you this question in person, they are likely going to Google and looking for the answer as well.  And if your customers are asking these questions, the customers of your competitors are probably asking the same questions.  ‘

2 – The 3-5 reasons why customers won’t do business with you.  This is scary to deal with straight on, but a fabulous way to convert a skeptical customer into a new customer.  Think about the reasons why customers won’t do business with you, and address those reasons head on.  For example, customers might not want to buy your home improvement product because it’s 20% higher than the chain department stores.  But what customers don’t realize is that your product is made of better quality materials that will actually save customers 15% more per year in energy costs than the product that the chains sell.  So if you educate customers on the cost savings of your product over its lifetime, you may earn their business once they realize the actual savings from buying your product.

3 – Industry news.  You are likely already reading up on the latest news in your space, so why not share that information with your readers?  This isn’t quite as applicable in a B2C setting, but is a great idea if you are in the B2B space.  Also, sharing industry news creates a valuable resource for current and potential clients, which helps establish your expertise.  And again, this is likely information you are already searching for on your own, so just share your findings with your readers.

So the key with a small business is to start small with social media, and then grow as you can.  You don’t have to start using 3 or more social media sites at once, in fact that’s often the fastest way to kill your social media strategy.  Start small, and focus on the 1 or 2 channels that give you the best way to reach your goals for social media.

{ 9 comments }

Kelly March 4, 2014 at 11:14 am

Great advice Mack and this quote is in my opinion the key to success: “You don’t have to do everything. You don’t HAVE to be on Twitter and Facebook and blogging, and on Instagram, etc etc. It’s far better to start small and grow bigger.”

Start with a blog and that one account that makes sense for you — and take it from there. I’ll even step back a bit: if you don’t have the courage or time to start with a blog then start by carving a name for yourself and your business on a platform where you can share, meet like-minded people and begin introducing yourself as an interested party and player within your niche or industry. Start curating content!

You can’t live off curation alone and at some point you will want your own piece of real estate (owned by you) but until then you can make a serious dent and begin building your relationship with your industry/market/niche peers (and future customers or clients!)

Mack Collier March 4, 2014 at 11:18 am

Thank you Kelly. And they could also use Paper,li (#client) as a content curation tool, right? ;)

Kelly March 4, 2014 at 11:32 am

Ha! You got me. Yes, they could. It’s an excellent tool to help find and build community. They could also use Scoop.it which I think is an excellent starter especially if you want to train yourself to get into a writing habit.

Mack Collier March 4, 2014 at 11:39 am

But just having the content curated in one place really helps spark content ideas for your own blog (and even other social media channels). It’s a big assess to have content pulled from multiple sources so you have a sense of what topics are being covered and resonating with readers like your own. I often do exactly this to get inspiration for what to talk about here. It really helps.

Jerome Pineau March 4, 2014 at 11:38 am

In my experience, curation doesn’t support every content goal — for example, it’s a lot more effective supporting a “help/learn/train” editorial line than “entertain” – just saying.

Jerome Pineau March 4, 2014 at 11:15 am

Yeah but then you probably need to spend the time amplifying your content on earned media channels too. After all, it doesn’t take _that_ much more effort and what’s more, lot’s of folks interact with blogs via TW or FB shares these days so all engagement isn’t herded back to the blog platform. From a dissemination/engagement perspective, it pays to spread the love on the classic channels too.

Mack Collier March 4, 2014 at 11:20 am

Jerome you are right and I think so many businesses think they have to invest a lot more time than they actually do. Which is a big reason why I suggest starting small because typically once they get started they’ll see that the time issues aren’t as big as they feared. Then they can move forward with amplifying the content, as you said.

My thing is to get them in the water and start swimming :) Too many businesses stay stuck on the shore for fear of getting wet.

Jerome Pineau March 4, 2014 at 11:36 am

It’s tough with small and medium size shops. When I was dealing with those back when, it was mostly about ROI — for example: here’s what this amount of exposure will cost you via social vs. traditional PR firm (mindshare goals). But even then they get really spooked at the slightest costs because deep down they perceive social as either free or cheap.

Korah Morrison March 13, 2014 at 4:27 am

This is a proven fact that if you overlook social media marketing for marketing and advertising your business, you miss wonderful benefits. :)

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