Social Media and the Self-Employed
Self-employed and home-based business owners continue to debate the value of social media. While there’s no doubt that there are benefits to listing your business on social media, it is equally important to avoid the time-wasting mistakes.
A strong business platform ensures every facet of your business venture is efficient and effective. Scheduling social media is a valuable aspect of building your business platform. What is a platform? Picture building an outdoor band stage in the middle of an empty field – there is a lot of thought and planning to design just the right stage. How much weight will it carry and how large will it be? Then there’s the cost of supplies, services and skills that you may have to acquire or outsource. When you are finally able to stand on that stage, you test it and find it is solid – it doesn’t shake around underneath you and you don’t have to go back and fix mistakes. Your platform is everything that makes it go. Now you can leap forward to the next level of your business plan.
There are plenty of dangers that can lurk unseen when it comes to using social media and we cover a lot of those in Purple Snowflake Marketing. For instance: the mistake of becoming buried in entertaining and educational posts and videos. Blurring the lines between personal entertainment and business activities can waste a lot of precious time.
Business owners need to take a good look at who the prospective client is. Having this information on hand will help you decide on visual design, color, imagery, the social media outlets you might use as well as the actual content. It is best to determine, from the very start, what your purpose is in using any particular social media outlet. You might use Facebook differently than Instagram, for instance.
When signing up for an account on any social media outlet, pay attention to the profile where you can post additional imagery, color scheme or your logo. Review your profiles annually at the very least. You want the information to be up-to-date, easy to find, attractive to clients and reflect your purpose for being there. You also want to avoid looking stale, out of date or no longer in business.
Personal social media should be viewed as separate. During business hours it is vital that you don’t even look at your personal pages or respond to messages from them. It is the same as chatting on the phone to your girlfriend all day at work – Don’t do it! Staff should be trained with this in mind, and if they post for the business it should be through the business accounts – not their personal accounts.
Avoid mixing personal with business on any level, unless the topic pertains to the business, its policy, mission or staff. Business media should not feature your personal activities, personal opinions, political views, cute and silly videos, or pictures of you on vacation, your children or family. Remember the purpose for the social media aspects of the business platform is to attract and interact with business clients and networks.
That being said, people who have connected with you on social media are there because they enjoy reading your posts and browsing helpful videos. They certainly don’t want to see fluff that wastes their time, inappropriate content or to be ‘sold to’ all the time either. Finding a good balance as to where and when you sell to the audience is very important.
Be sure your (and your employee’s) personal online presence is not offensive to clients either. If your staff is listed on your website and someone checks them out only to find that their Facebook page reveals troubling images, it can (and will) affect your business.
People also want to be listened to – so invite them to share their opinions and suggestions on your posts or to reach out to you via a private message. Your response to their feedback gives them a sense of being respected, recognized and appreciated.
Another bonus about using social media is that every time your site is listed it becomes a backlink. Every time someone views your post and follows up on the backlink, your site gains ranking by search engines. So, when used sensibly, this tool can most definitely be your friend and make your marketing efforts go a long way.