Seven Tips for Social Media Beginners and Confused

A friend asked for 7 tips a small business can follow that are basic for social media. It’s been rattling around in my brain for most of this Sunday because these are going to have to be pretty basic tips, I think. But if you knew nothing about social media, what would you say or post on Facebook? I often hear, “I have a Facebook page, and when I go there it is blank.” So, I think that is where I’m going to start.

#1 Tip: When you make a social profile for your business…USE it!

So many times we find new clients that want to tell me they have social media accounts, and when I go there they are blank. Their question to me is, “Well, how do  I leverage?” Um, it’s so hard to politely tell someone that just having it doesn’t mean it’s useful. You actually have to use it. Post on it, cultivate it.

#2: Understand how social media will work with your business.

Next, I hear, “I have Facebook.” Yeah, well so does 3/4 of the planet. So, what does that really mean? Well, first you have to decide what platform works for your business. The answer is the world does not revolve around Facebook. So here is how you look at it.

What do you do? Does it appeal to Facebook users or would you maybe be better served using Linkedin? And what I mean is this; if you’re a professional like a real estate agent or lawyer, maybe Facebook would work. If you sell jewelry, yup, Facebook. But here’s one. What if you’re a personal stylist, where should you be? The natural inclination is to tell me  Facebook, I’m sure. But what about writing for CEOs that may need some help to look and dress the part? Where would you be more apt to find them? So a well-written page would play very well on Linkedin. Sure, they have Facebook accounts, but chances are you have to address them directly. So one of the best tips someone can give a small business owner is to understand which social media platform is right for your business.

For me, whenever I add a page to LinkedIn I am almost guaranteed a phone call from someone who needs help.

#3 Your cell phone is your best friend.

I had to get over my disdain for being on camera. So, a few things here. Most cell phone cameras as are good as the HD camera that shot Titanic 25 years ago. Now, if you’re still sporting a flip phone or an old iPhone 4, it’s time for an upgrade. And maybe that can be tip 3a.  But with a quick tripod purchase from Amazon you too can be an internet star. So, what does this have to do with social media?

You want to be engaging and show your audience that you have what it takes to earn their business. A quick talk on what you do for the day, or your view on how your competitors do things wrong can be valuable. Or teaching how to better do something, which makes for an instant hit on social media.  But even if you can’t get over the hump on video, and using Facebook live, there are plenty of things around you to take pictures of to post on social media about your business. Maybe it’s a client sporting something you’ve sold them. Or maybe its college students in their pajamas in the Verizon store (#truestory). I’ve used that photo on quite a few social posts through the years. Heck, I’ve even takena picture of the glob of extension cord fire hazard that lives under my desk and found a use for that. This all makes for great social media.

#4 Let people know who you are.

I know, it sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But the more human you are, the more people will respond. The basic premise is that people do business with people they know, like and trust. And what better way to do that than from your social media accounts? Better yet, it’s a way to keep customers because they feel they have a personal relationship with you and know you. My dog Harley is a rock start. Everyone knows him. I have another customer whose bulldog, Karl, steals the show. But it makes doing business much easier. Social media can break down some of the barriers, so use it.

#5 Don’t let people know who you are.

I say this very lovingly, but can we not discuss politics? I steer clear of the Facebook discussions because I know I will only make enemies. Regardless of which side of the issue you are on, you will make enemies. Religion and politics need to take a really wide berth if you’re a business owner or you’ll risk losing a customer.  Dogs are okay. God not so much. A few other words to avoid include guns, Trump and the NRA. Regardless of your opinion, you will lose friends and customers.

#6 Learn to be a graphic artist. Or at least learn to use Canva.

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you may not be on a first name basis with your computer, let alone knowing how to use Photoshop. There is a great tool that everyone should know about when it comes to social media posts. Canva.com. It makes you look good even if all you know how to do is type with two fingers. If you can type, you can make images for your social media posts. Easy as pie…really.

#7 Post every day.

Yeah, not really. But to go all the way back to #1, I know I said to use it. But every day you should be able to think of something to write on. Every day I find a nugget buried in an email and I know if I was to write it out for a customer, I might as well just go ahead and make a blog post out if. Your email box should be a treasure trove of things to post on social media. Answer the questions you are asked. It’s as simple as this. Write the answer, post the answer to the question on your blog, then go share your blog post on social media, and off you go. I have a small pad that I keep handy for listing the ideas I’ve not gotten to yet.

#8 Social Warfare. 

This one is a bonus, a clue of sorts for you to figure out.

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