I have a little side-hustle where I coach local small businesses on using social media. I’m going to begin sharing some insights here, in the hopes that I can inspire and encourage you!
Social Media can be a frightening thing. People either feel comfortable with social sharing or they do not. As a small business owner, the toughest part of Social Media is getting out of the way of your own humility. Mom taught you not to brag. Social Media demands that you do.
So here is a list of pros and cons to the use of social media in your small business:
- Social media is “free”. I share this pro with a HUGE caveat. While it is free to use platforms like Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, your time still has value. And, while you can work within the free aspects of these platforms, it is not uncommon to find that you have to invest some advertising dollars to gain visibility. I advise my clients who are dipping their feet into the social media waters to stick with free services. As you become more comfortable with the intricacies of each platform (and some of the great social scheduling tools available) you can slowly begin to invest some money to make social media work better for you.
- Social Media is EVERYWHERE. Let’s face it–you can choose to not use social media for your business, but if you do, you risk losing out on valuable market share.
- Your Customers and Clients enjoy the instant gratification that Social Media affords. We are living in such an online, mobile society, that your customers enjoy finding answers quickly and easily using your social channels. Whether that means that they know that they can book appointments online, read customer reviews, or get personal answers from you, social media can save you time. A well-written FAQ on your website, or as a doc on your Facebook page will help your customers. Refer to them often and add to them as needed.
- Social Media is fun! I challenge my clients to take advantage of humor and fun on their social media accounts. Appropriate and applicable humor can boost social media engagement, and may even help build your brand. I encourage clients to set up a bank of inspirational and humorous photos, videos and quotes to drip out regularly across social media accounts.
- Social Media can be a time hog. I hinted at this on the first pro. While social media is free–it takes some time to set up and optimize. And, no matter how much you automate your social media (and I advise against over-automation), social media needs to be monitored regularly. (tools such as Hootsuite or Mention can help with this.)
- Negative Feedback is difficult to remove: If, for some reason, you make an online enemy, they can use your Social Media against you in the form of negative reviews and abusive posts. These need to be dealt with swiftly, and are a big reason that you need to be vigilant in monitoring your social media accounts.
- Social Media Moves Quickly. There is always a “new thing”. The experts will almost always claim that the “new thing” is the most important thing. I counsel my clients to choose a platform or two or three that they are comfortable with–and most importantly–where their customers are. No one wants to shout into a giant void.
Social media is not going anywhere. If you choose to ignore the power that social media can have over your business, you just may miss the boat. Need help? Check out my contact information here.