So, we’ve said goodbye and good riddance to 2020 and it’s time to focus on the year ahead. Yes, it’s still a challenge for small business owners across many industries but one thing that you can control is how you and your business show up on your social media channels.
No more posting once a week (or less), no more reactive posts because it’s 5pm and you’ve not posted anything and still have a blank screen staring back at you as you rack your brains for inspiration. And no more time wasted on social media content that gets nothing but tumbleweed as a response!
2021 is the year to get that social media monster tamed and working the way you want – to get your products and services in front of the clients that are ready to invest. And they are out there, I promise you. In late 2020 I had my most profitable months since I started my consultancy and that is because, for at least 7 months of last year, I showed up on my social media mostly daily, at worst just 3 times a week. Over that time, I increased my LinkedIn connections, Facebook friends, and Instagram followers which allowed me to increase my engagement with my ideal clients and get them wanting to know more about my services, increase my opportunities to be recommended by others in my social networks and build new relationships which offer collaboration too.
This isn’t me focusing on how great I am at social media, not by far. It’s to demonstrate that showing up ad-hoc on your chosen social media is not enough to get your target audience even seeing your content, let alone engaging and taking any action to find out more. So, this blog focuses on a few tips to get some momentum with your social media activity and get results this year.
What do I mean by results?
- More awareness of what you offer.
- Engagement with your ideal clients
- More client enquiries.
- And more opportunities to convert those to grow your business.
Here are my tips to make the most of your social media (without it taking hours of your time!)
No marketing activity is going to get you those results without some strategy behind it. Before you write a post, click connect or comment on anything in your feed – take a couple of hours to consider what you hope to gain from social media. Do an audit of what your activity has achieved so far. It should not just be about likes, follows, more connections, and friends, it’s about focusing your efforts and precious time where it can make a positive impact on those three results above.
So, if you are trying to be on a whole range of social media – you may want to rethink! I know, it’s about now that the FOMO will no doubt kick in. However, understand where your audience shows up and make sure that is where you show up too. Yes, you may love Instagram or LinkedIn but if that is not where your audience is – don’t waste time you don’t have on that social channel.
Scary? Hell, yes but if you’ve been spending time on a social channel for months, years even, and got no business from it – there are valid reasons why.
Time to Take Action
1. Do that audit and get a social media strategy in place so you know where to focus your time this year.
2. Make a decision to cut back and simplify and focus on just 1, maybe 2.
3. And learn how to maximise the channels you choose to focus on – know them inside out and use every tool they offer.
4. Less is more – make your time count.
Commit to daily social media time – yep, every day
Before you dismiss this and stop reading – this doesn’t mean creating content – it means engagement. Posting new content a few times per week is the ideal but not always possible, especially if you are not confident in your writing, time is against you or you really need some inspiration on topics (more on that later). But you can use commenting as a way of engaging – and this is one activity that many do underestimate the power of.
This is not meant to be a list of ‘Don’ts – there is just one – Avoid always liking anything and moving swiftly on. Ideally you should never just ‘Like’ (or any other of the options available) it’s lazy and does nothing for increasing your reach or engagement on your social channels. If you like it, love it or loathe it – comment on it! Just show respect.
Engagement is about showing up daily, commenting on others posts and taking an active role in any groups that you are a member of. This is a powerful way to grow awareness of you and your products and services.
Time to take Action
- Comment on at least 10 posts the days you cannot post yourself! Less are needed the days you can post if time is a factor.
- Engage with others who are commenting too. If LinkedIn is your platform, comment on 2nd degree connection posts – widens your reach even more.
- So, what do you comment on? Those posts in your feed where you can add value. By sharing your knowledge and experience – this will build the all-important ‘Know, Like and Trust’ with your ideal clients.
- Be strategic with your comments – engage on popular, relevant posts where you can build awareness of your expertise and always add value.
- Sorry, there is another don’t – No hard sales pitch and don’t make your comments all about you!
Pro-actively grow your social networks
Time is always against us as small business owners or solopreneurs but it’s important to think strategically when it comes to your social network. This is not a short-term activity – it should be something you focus on all the time – and growing your online community is a fundamental part of that social strategy I mentioned earlier.
However, it’s not about the numbers – great to have thousands of followers, friends or connections – but a large percentage need to be relevant to your industry, your business community and your potential to grow.
Whatever social platforms you choose, dedicate a bit of time each day to connecting with or following new people and businesses. If time is challenging then an obvious one is to connect with those you’ve had engagement with via your commenting activity. If you have more time to dedicate – search for people that you would like to be connected with.
By growing your followers, friends, and connections – you are massively increasing the reach of your content when you do publish some and the opportunity to engage with much wider audiences too. Just make sure they are relevant audiences. If they engage in any way with your content – the potential for your comments and posts to be seen is huge.
Time to Take Action
- Depending on your choice of social media, always get personal when you want to become part of someone’s social network or they express an interest in joining yours!
- Send them a DM or personal message depending on your social channel – let them know why you wish to connect, be friends or follow – and the engagement goes up a level as its personal to the two of you.
- Don’t rely on text to connect or respond to a request from someone – use audio or video – even more personal and way more memorable.
Make the content you post count
I’ve avoided too much focus on actual content so far but it is, of course, a key part of any successful social media strategy. And it’s the one area that can quickly cause overwhelm – limited time, limited confidence in writing, no inspiration on what content will work….sound familiar?
Regular content posting combined with connecting and commenting is going to make your investment in social media a success. However, to give you the real low down on content is a blog in its own right so, as a starter, as long as you focus on the following 10 tips in your content you’re going to be heading in the right direction:
- Add as much value as possible – with the emphasis on advice, ideas and education
- Your content is about your ideal client/target audience – not about you!
- Focus on how your product or service solves your ideal client’s pain points and what the pleasure points then are once resolved – what’s in it for them?
- Ask questions and ask for feedback.
- Mix it up with some more personal observations on life/work etc – these demonstrate more about who you are.
- Use short, medium and long-form posts – again mix it up.
- Include images that resonate with your audience– avoid anything branded – these don’t get such good engagement.
- Embrace the power of video content – doesn’t have to be the polished paid-for type – authentic is the best option and quick and easy to produce – even your phone.
- Follow the 80/20 rule – 80% adding value and advice and just 20% focused on any kind of ‘soft’ sales.
- If people comment – make sure you respond – get the conversation going and who knows where it may lead!
Has this given you food for thought on how you’re going to develop your social media in 2021?
If you would like a no-obligation chat about your social strategy, I offer a free no-obligation 30-minute call to give you some clarity on the best options to suit your business.