To social or not to social—that’s a question I often get from clients (and friends looking for free advice). The answer is more complicated than simply yes or no.
If you are willing to commit to a plan and consistent engagement—yes.
If the idea of an editorial calendar and engaging with your social media platforms every single day makes you break out in hives—no.
If you already use social media to share your personal brand—yes.
If you just frowned and Googled “personal brand”—no.
If you are creative—yes.
If you hate being creative—no.
If you are a small business (and have answered the “yes” questions above)—ABSOLUTELY. Why? Because 93% of people who follow small- and medium-sized business on Twitter plan to purchase from the SMBs they follow, according to a report from Twitter and Research Now. If you can successfully engage with potential customers through other sales and marketing efforts, you can support your efforts to convert those prospects into wins via social media.
Go Big, Or Go Take Your Hashtags Home
Here’s the catch. You will only win with social media if you are actually using it correctly. Share your thought leadership blogs, repost and re-tweet great business articles. Be real…including some fun photos of the team. The rule is fairly simple: 80% education/leadership/helpful content and 20% sales. The reason won’t surprise you; according to a survey from Stackla, 86% of consumers say authenticity influences which brands they like and support. Being genuine counts, people. Don’t be bombastic when it comes to your product or service and don’t try to build a public persona that doesn’t align with your vision and mission as a company.
I counsel businesses in a very straightforward manner. Social comes after the rest of your messaging is done and it’s best not to do it if you can’t do it well. You need to know your mission, vision, and what you offer your customers before you can trumpet it across the land of hashtags. You need a calendar that includes events, engagement points, blogs, and more, scheduled out across all your platforms.
We’ve talked about consistency being a hallmark of good marketing before…and social is no exception. Know what you want to say (topics), how you want to say it (voice), who you want to talk to (personas), and what you want them to feel and remember. Then hammer that home with creative, engaging posts.
P.S. Using a tool such as Hootsuite can provide guidance; scheduling out your calendar can encourage planning. (Check out that tool’s Tips for SMBs)