A Social Media Survival Guide for Small Business
“I can only conclude that people who don’t use social media are, at best, considered to be mavericks or, at worst, some kind of psychopath.” Steve Blakeman
“I’m not a very social media person” my new client admitted to me. “I mean, I know I should be…I’m just not.”
I get it.
If you were born before 1980 you are less likely to be a ‘social media person’.
So, there you are: a business person who needs social media to reach your tribe – even attract a bigger tribe. The problem is the thought of checking Instagram every morning or uploading a video to Facebook gives you a cold sweat.
You could go cold turkey, buy a yurt and live in the desert (been done), or…
you could find a happy compromise and use social media on your terms.
There is a solution and it starts by understanding that you don’t need to reach the world.
Social Media Guide for Small Business: You don’t need to reach the world.
“There is also the joy of learning new ways of marketing, with that there is often the accompanying pain of mistakes that comes along for the ride.” Jeff Bullas
Has this happened to you?
You see a tweet that had 425 retweets or your competitor has 10,000 followers on Facebook. “Damn,” you think “I really need to spend more time tweeting. Or posting. Or pasting. Or someting!”
Well, whoop-di-doo (tech speak for ‘who cares?’) they got a bunch of monkeys to jump!
Maybe that’s not your goal?
Your goal should be to build loyal followers
The kind of loyal followers who follow you all the way back to your website. The kind of followers who share your content and buy your stuff.
You don’t need to reach the world … you need to reach your tribe.
Start by getting a clear notion of who you are speaking to – who is your ideal audience, or avatar:
— what age are they?
— type of work or career?
— what problems do they seek solutions for?
— what style of writing do they enjoy: high-brow philosophy or Gary Larson cartoons?
— how do they like to engage: sharing, quizzes, comments?
Evernote (read my post about how I use this fantastic, free tool) does a great job of writing to people who love lists and getting organized.
Good is better than more.
“I am 100% convinced that you can live without using or be on social media.” Israel Garcia
There’s lots of “expert” advice online on how to schedule loads and loads of updates (I wrote about the problem with scheduling software). As if volume is the ultimate goal.
Let me ask you a question…
If you went to a restaurant, would you rather have a huge bowl of mediocre food or a small portion of delicious food prepared by a talented chef? I’d choose good over more every time.
Good can simply mean a few extra minutes editing, choosing an original image, or making a reference to a trending topic.
A good rule with social media is people share what makes them look smart. Putting a clever twist on what they think they already know will have more legs than one more post about 5 ways to be a better leader.
Comparing two posts on similar topics, my post “5 steps to writing an awesome blog post in less than 60 minutes” got a much better reaction than the earlier post “5 blog posts that will keep your reader coming back.” Taking a stand – even a bold claim – is an invitation for readers to share to their followers. They feel smart sharing the post they just enjoyed and you get the benefit of new readers.
Oreo does a great job of creating smart, often sarcastic, comedy in their Tweets.
Work in batches
“The best way to engage honestly with the marketplace via Twitter is to never use the words ‘engage,’ ‘honestly,’ or ‘marketplace.’” – Jeffrey Zeldman, Founder, A List Apart magazine
One of the best ways to be more effective is to work in batches. That could be 15 minutes of solid email work, followed by no email for an hour, instead of constantly checking your email all morning.
You can also batch your social media.
Instead of interrupting your day with updates and responding to followers, you can do it once a day. You might not go viral, but you will have time for other work without distraction.
Fortunately, there are scheduling tools like Buffer and CoSchedule that let you load up a calendar full of updates. The problem with any schedule tools (this will intentionally sound self-serving) is that most people – especially super busy business owners – don’t have time to learn how to use the scheduling tool, let alone constantly fill it.
I know, because before I created BlogWorks, that’s what I tried to do.
I’ll give you two weeks before you quit.
Good news! At BlogWorks we can do it all for you. No scheduling tools, searching for articles, fussing with pictures, or shortening links. One account, one solution, social media is done. Learn how to get started with BlogWorks.
Outsource $10/hour jobs
“If you love life, don’t waste time for time is what life is made up of.” Bruce Lee
One of the most powerful lessons I received as an entrepreneur was about the value of my time.
Here’s a simple exercise that was a big eye opener for me and might be for you as well.
Start by making three columns on a piece of paper (a flip chart is even better) and title them: $10, $50, $[what you charge clients per hour]. These are the values of the time for each task, starting with up to $10/hour, and then up to $50/hour and finally, up to your current value when working for clients.
Now, fill in all the tasks, jobs, routines, roles you fill in a typical week, putting each one in the column that matches the value of the job in dollars.
Do you see a problem?
Most business owners discover there’s lots of $10 jobs they are still doing, even though they charge 10X that, or more, to their customers. This is what Michael Gerber meant when he said we are “…spending too much time working in our business instead of working on our business.”
The solution begins by first documenting the process routine for all your $10/hour jobs. Simply make a list of each step using a Google Doc (we use Google Doc’s because they’re easy to share within our team).
These are called SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures) and they can change your life.
Next, go on UpWork and hire a freelancer to do that job. Don’t worry about creating full-time employment or giving them five jobs to make it worth their time — just start with one reoccurring job that needs to get done.
A good job to start with is publishing your blog.
You might be surprised to learn how many steps go into publishing a blog. There are at least a dozen steps, starting with logging into WordPress, entering the headline, choosing tags, that have to be done the same way every time to get your blog looking good.
Even if you’re not into social media, you don’t have to abandon it altogether.
The strategies in this social media guide for small business can keep you in the game with minimal effort and time.
Speaking of which, now you have more time for what you are into, like watching reruns of All in the family with a nice mug of Ovaltine.