What’s all the fuss about? Will my page go viral? Or is it all just a waste of my time?
An introduction to help you decide.
Reasons to start using social media for your organisation:
If you already use it personally; you enjoy interacting with clients; you want to get known about; you have something to share…
Reasons to stay away from social media:
You’ve never used it and it fills you with fear & loathing; you don’t enjoy interacting with all sorts of people; you have enough customers/ too much work/ no time; you just think you should ‘because everyone else is’.
Some questions to consider:
- Who are you/ who is your organisation? It may take some time to discover your ‘voice’ on social media.
- What can you offer? Not just your products or service – what could be useful or entertaining? How about some expert advice? Or beautiful photos?
- Who are you talking to? Imagine your ideal client.
- How are they going to find you? You need to advertise your social media pages too. Link to them from your website. Put them in your email signature and newsletter.
- What responses do you want from the people you connect with? Unfortunately folks are not all going to flock to buy your products just because you have a nice Facebook page! Think one tiny step at a time – why would they take the trouble to ‘Like’ your page?
- What next small steps do people need to take to arrive at your ideal response? Imagine the journey – imagine the thought processes – many people know absolutely nothing about you – what are you assuming they already know? Are you making them work hard? How can you make the process easier?
So if I build an interesting Facebook page will I get lots of Likes and lots of new business?
- Nothing is certain – but if you are offering a quality product or service and do your homework about how social media works best… Possibly… eventually… after a lot of hard work… and a bit of luck.
- Question: How will you get new business if you don’t use social media? How much time and effort will it take?
- Traditional methods do still work – we get nearly all our business through local word of mouth recommendations!
What are the pros & cons?
- Social media is a tool for connecting & communicating. (It can be used well or badly…)
- Social media is still new, flexible, and can be used imaginatively in a way to suit you and your needs.
- It’s very popular – (Facebook has over 1 billion users)
- And it’s free. (but you are the product! – your preferences will be used to try to sell you stuff…)
- It seems complicated and difficult to use – but it appears that everyone else knows how to use it, which is off-putting.
- What if I get it wrong? You may feel exposed & vulnerable – especially if you’re naturally quiet & private.
- Time consuming / Addictive. Find strategies for limiting the time spent.
- Overwhelming – it’s a whole new world.
- Suspicion – What hidden costs are there? What will happen with our data? Who are all these people?!
How to avoid problems:
- Do some research:
- Explore the on-line presence of your competitors and other people in your field.
- Read about social media:
- The psychology of social media.
- Getting started on social media – A list of very useful links.
- Debunking 10 Small Business Social Media Myths.
- Retweets… #hashtags – what language are they speaking? A Twitter glossary. Fortunately, you don’t need to understand every bit of Facebook gobbledygook: A Facebook glossary.
- Get started with Facebook.
- Get started with Twitter.
- Plan – think about the big picture, but don’t make too many assumptions. Expect to start small and experiment to see what works. Everyone’s client group is different.
- Keep going – After you’ve set up your pages you will need a daily and weekly maintenance routine.
- Schedule – Try a free account from Hootsuite or Buffer. If you are just using Facebook there is an easy to use scheduling tool built in. (Click the white arrow next to ‘Publish‘.)
- Remember: Social media can seem private & ephemeral – but can be (potentially) public and permanent.
- Be friendly, polite and professional – just like you always are!
How to get started with Social Media: A quick guide to setting up your first social media page.