I’ve read countless blogs about the “right” way to market on social media. They say the same thing over and over and over:
- Be authentic and personable.
- Find where your customers hang out.
- Post valuable information.
- Make some measurable goals.
- Create a strategy.
- Post regularly.
- It takes time.
- Oooh… and make sure you’re using Google Plus.
And you know what? It’s all great advice. In theory.
Most solo business owners are just fumbling around in the dark with a blindfold on when it comes to social media. Even if they take the blindfold off, they still can’t see where they’re going. That’s exactly what I was doing for years. Until I got so overwhelmed, I nearly abandoned it all. And that moment was pivotal.
I realized my social media marketing was doing nothing for my business.
(Ok, so it was stroking my ego or punching my ego, in relation to how many “likes” I had on a post.) I decided if I didn’t change, I’d just leave it altogether.
Then I figured something out. I was following tons of advice and not listening to myself. I hadn’t taken a few minutes to think about what I liked and what I could really commit to doing.
If you feel like you’re overwhelmed by social media and all the posting you “should” be doing, it’s time to stop. Step back. Be honest with yourself.
Psst… (here’s the secret) There is NO “should”. It is your business.
First, ask yourself these questions:
- What social media sites do I like?
- Which ones do I hang out on when I’m not working?
- What blogs am I currently following that I love?
Have you never used that Google Plus thing? Great – exclude it from your “have to” list. Do you hate Linkedin? Awesome – cross that off your “to do” list. Is Twitter too much to understand? Sweet – leave that one behind too.
Now, I’m going to share with you what works for me – but, please note, I am not giving you advice. I’m merely sharing what I like and how I created my social marketing plan.
First, what I like to do:
- I like Facebook for keeping in touch with people I know, and for getting to know new people better. This is almost exclusively done on a personal page. How can I get to know people if it’s just a page and I’m not seeing their posts? (I rarely post to my official FB business page).
- I’m in a few industry-related and entrepreneur Facebook groups where I like to give advice to people asking questions in my area of expertise, and that leads to people asking about my services.
- I love Twitter for reaching out to people I admire and aspire to be like, and for meeting new people.
- I love a few blogs, and I try to comment on each new blog post.
I created a social strategy around only what I LIKE to do:
- Post to Facebook on my personal page. (2 x’s a week – 5 minutes)
- Go through my personal Facebook feed and like + comment on people’s posts and business pages that have an audience I’d like to woo. (Daily – 30 minutes max)
- Visit Facebook groups and leave comments when appropriate. (Daily – 15 minutes max)
- Post on Twitter. This ranges from strategically sharing blog posts by people I’d like attention from, to sharing stuff about my industry, to posting what music I’m listening to. Most importantly, I sincerely talk and respond to people to have conversations with them. (2 x’s a week – 15 minutes)
- Read and comment on blog posts. (3x’s a week – 15 minutes)
That cuts my daily “to dos” down to less than a hour. And to be honest, since I like seeing what everyone’s up to on Facebook, it’s rarely during business hours that I’m doing that daily 30 minutes.
When this isn’t working for me? I tweak it.
How do you know if your social media is not working for you?
- You’re not doing it.
- You’re not able to measure the results and/or you feel like you’re shooting in the dark.
- It doesn’t bring you any joy.
- It’s super overwhelming and feels hard to do.
If this sounds like you right now, it usually means it’s time to strip everything down. Pick just ONE thing and commit. Yes, I said ONE thing. Do that one thing consistently for at least 30 days (90 days is better).
Measure that one thing. Did you get any business? Did you make any valuable connections that led to business?
Remember, just because you don’t fully understand how something works yet, doesn’t mean you have to follow all the “shoulds” those gurus keep yelling at you. You have to fumble around in the dark until you find the light switch.
No matter how many blog posts I read about social media marketing, I did not understand it until I actually did it. I needed to make all the mistakes myself to really “get it”.
Do you have a social media strategy or plan? How’s it working for you and your business?
A big shout to Julie at J. Heiland Interiors… the inspiration for this post. I hope you’re finding your own way.