Almost everywhere you look there is something that mentions social media or Twitter or Facebook with people telling you that you should be part of it. Yet, for many small businesses it can be daunting. It’s a new idea of sorts and it’s so different than just placing an ad in a paper and hoping for results. There are so many things to learn and new ways of promoting your business, and many of us know we should be using it but are secretly hoping it fades away so we can silently say, “Wow, I’m glad I didn’t waste my time.”
Yet I don’t believe that it will just fade away, and the longer you procrastinate using social media the harder it will be to get a foothold later. So, let’s take a look at what you could do to enhance your authority, build an audience and community and create a stronger business presence and bottom line.
First, let me tell you that social media is not something that will provide a quick fix for your business, and it takes time and knowledge to master.. Therefore, let me suggest a few first steps.
Start writing a blog
This will not be a sales tool but a way to show information to your audience and build your reputation. Write about what you know best and write in your own voice. Most importantly be the same person there as you are in real life and be informative. Remember you aren’t writing a sales pitch, but growing an audience from the knowledge you share. Start slowly and grow with it as it expands. Write about your company, the people within it, building practices and trends, or almost any of the thousands of parts that make up a home. This is what you do and your opportunity to share it, so do it. Now, this takes time and when I first started my blog I was thrilled if 20 people saw it in a day. That number today is substantially higher and is still growing. So be consistent and persistent and it will pay off.
UseTwitter and Facebook
From my perspective and for my audience these are the two platforms I use the most. The easy part is signing up for your accounts, and once you’ve done this my advice is to spend some time on each learning, watching and trying to connect with others that have similar views. This takes time, and the worst thing you can do is rush it. You will be creating real relationships and friendships with people so make sure you’re being YOU or it won’t last long. Social media is about building real relationships, providing useful information and being social —three very important ideas to never lose sight of.
Promote without promoting
You’ve probably heard that you aren’t supposed to be self-promoting on social media, and for the most part this is very true. What you’ll do is provide useful information, build an audience and community, be helpful whenever you can and share information. This will be how you promote your business. Look at a company called Patagonia. They have built a reputation and following to the point where I know people that will buy from them even though their products are higher priced than a competitor with a similar item. Why? They have built a community through their knowledge, values and information they have provided online. People trust them, what they do and what they stand for. You can’t buy that sort of loyalty; it can only be earned.
Advice for the building industry
If you haven’t started to think about using social media for your business or you’re procrastinating,get going.
Not sure where or how to start? Ask for help from someone or hire someone that has experience who can teach what you must know to be successful.
Maybe you’d rather have someone manage your program for you? There are plenty of choices and options but the first thing you have to do is START.
The world is changing rapidly and how you market your business is changing, too.