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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

#SocialIsntScary – Fear of Getting Started

With around 78% of people using at least one social media platform, nearly 1/3 of the Earth is on social. This infographic from Uzu Media breaks down the number of users on the most popular social media websites to give you an idea of the possible impact of participating on these platforms.

While small business owners are aware of the need for social media marketing, as well as the potential it generates, many have yet to get started. Only 31% of small business owners have created and cultivated an effective social media strategy. These professionals are afraid of quite a few things when it comes to doing their own social media. Do any of these sound familiar to you?

  • Don’t know where to start
  • Afraid of failure
  • Not sure what to post
  • Not sure where to post or how often
  • Worried about negative engagement or reviews
  •  Not comfortable putting myself out there
  •  Concerned about the level of commitment necessary to be successful

I bet at least one of those resonated with where you are currently. That’s okay. With any new endeavor, sometimes you just need to make a plan and jump in!

Have a Strategy
The best way to eliminate your fear is to make a plan. Marketing and social media strategy is essential. Goal setting, analytics, decision making, ROI and impact will be difficult to incorporate and track without a plan. You need to know what you want to do ahead of time and then you need to be able to measure what worked and what didn’t so that you can adapt your strategy for success as you go. 

Here are the elements that need to be included in your strategy:
  • Where to post content.
  • When to post content.
  • Who you are posting content for currently.
  • Who you’d like to reach with your content.
  • What to post
  • Why you are posting.

For those concerned about negative social engagement, the key to keeping the trolls at bay is having a plan in place to monitor your social accounts. You will need to understand the difference between engagement that offers opportunities to fix the problem versus engagement that is spammy, inappropriate or harassing in nature. The quicker you delete the spam, the inappropriate posts and harassment – the better. Understand how to delete, block and remove content from your social feeds.

On the other hand, don’t go around deleting every negative comment. Part of what makes social media work is that it gives your audience the opportunity to connect with you and be heard. If they have a genuine complaint or concern, simply deleting and ignoring them will not be viewed favorably by your audience. Once you see this type of negative engagement, immediately post so that they know you’ve seen their comment/post and want to have an off-line conversation to cover what can be done to resolve the issue. They are giving you an opportunity to turn it around. Just take the conversation offline so that it’s private.

Once you get started, be sure you’ve come up with a way to remain consistent. This may mean starting small and working your way up. That way the audience doesn’t notice that you aren’t posting as often as you used to and then make the assumption that you are no longer invested in your social. Adding more is always better than cutting back. The old adage of don’t bite off more than you can chew is the key here. You can always add new platforms or more posts later if you discover you have the capacity to do so.

Be Authentic
Today, people are more likely to support brands that they know, like and trust. That means they aren’t investing in a logo, or a big office, or an online shop. They need the opportunity to get to know, like, and trust you. Purchasing anything has an emotional element to it as well. Provoking an emotional response from your audience will help them become more interested in you and what you do. 

However, people are smart. They are assaulted on all sides by direct mail, spam, advertisements, commercials… they’ve learned how to spot a person who is being authentic from a used car salesman type. 

You will need to truly understand your target audience and what they are seeking. The more authentic, genuine and real you come across, the more they will trust you. If you can combine that authenticity with a message that appeals to your followers – you’ve hit the social jackpot!

Team Up
It can be frustrating to create great content when you haven’t built a following yet. However, that content is what is going to grow your audience. If you want an organic way to fast track your exposure, find influencers that have a similar target audience and collaborate with them. Guest blogging is the easiest way to do this. This will expose you to their larger following and connect you with experts in your field or industry at the same time.

Once you create and implement a solid marketing strategy for your social media, you will only need to focus on maintaining it. Start small and work your way up – just one social platform to start is more than enough if you are worried. If the effort you are putting into social is too time consuming, contact our team. We specialize in helping small businesses #BeAwesome with their social media, branding, and marketing strategy online.

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Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+,YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and the tools to manage them.

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