The Questions You're Asking to Figure Out If Your Solopreneur Biz REALLY Needs Social Media
Social media seems like it could be a solopreneur or small business marketing dream come true. Places online where you get to talk about and promote your business for free?! Millions – no BILLIONS – of people all online in the same spots, chatting about their interest, sharing pictures of their past-times/hobbies/workouts/meals, and even places just to connect with professional colleagues. But still some people are wondering if they really need social media for their business.
It actually didn’t take long for business owners – very small to very large – to realize their clients and customers were on social media AND talking about them or the products and services they sold. Business went ALL in on social media. [if you need some numbers and stats to convince you on who’s really using social media – and yes, your customers ARE there – then check out my post busting some myths and bad advice about social media]
Maybe too much in and on social media though.
We’ve come to realize social media isn’t always rosy or positive and can be a scary thing personally or professionally. Being “ON” on social media can also take up a lot of valuable time. Those of us using social media to ‘get the word out’ about our businesses (aka marketing) feel pressured to be on EVERY social platform, ALL the time. That’s not healthy, or helpful. And with literal billions using some of the social platforms, does anyone see or hear what we say? You may be wondering if you should even bother.
So, Do You NEED Social Media In Your Business?
I’m here to say that YES – your business should be on social media. That includes your solopreneur business, even if (especially if) you’re just starting out. BUT … that recommendation comes with some caveats and tips.
Still unsure about how and why social media makes sense for your small business? Read on ... AND click the button and join my group training on Smarter Social Media Success!
Here's How to determine whether marketing via social media is a good fit for you and your business.
Do You Have Enough Business to Last You Until You Retire?
If the answer is yes, you don’t need social media. Cool and congrats! Let’s have a separate conversation on all the great things you must already be doing in your biz and why you’re still hanging out with me.
But let's be honest, do you really have that much business? I surely don’t! I’m busy, and lucky to lead a good life, but I still want to help more clients in both sides of my business. I still want my business to bring in more money so I can travel to more events, or pay to outsource things I’m not great at doing. I bet you feel you’re not done helping your niche and you could definitely use more money to grow your business and boost your life plans.Do you want your business to grow or possibly stall? The adage and advice that it's easier to keep and please existing customers than it is to find new ones is 100% true. [some stats say it’s 7x easier to retain, others say 5 times easier to keep a customer and HBR gives a range of acquiring new as 25x more expensive – point is, do NOT ever forget about your existing customers!] If you aren't on social media, you're not only missing a lot of opportunities to get new customers, but also to connect with your current ones. More and more people turn to social media for customer service and getting help.
Do You Have a Process That Is Already Generating Enough New Prospective Clients?
Your process or plan probably has a few leaks in the old ‘customer pipeline’ and could use help. Ask yourself, can you really have too many prospective new clients, or too many actual customers? Well … for us solopreneurs who offer services or work with clients 1-to-1, we could kinda run into problems if we hit the client jackpot or our pipeline floods! But usually, it doesn’t hurt us to keep bringing in new prospects and new paying customers. That’s sort of the point of business. It’s how a business grows and expands and keeps going. Social media could open you up to a whole new audience. It can drive new traffic back to your website and your email list. Smart social media use could raise your visibility and build your reputation at the top of that path of new clients.
A lot of the consultants, coaches and others with service businesses who I know, still rely on word-of-mouth as their #1 marketing tactic – if they even think of WoM as ‘marketing’ at all. Hard truth time pals- these days that isn't always enough. (and you need a process, a system, for your word-of-mouth – but that’s a different post and training. )
Having a good, consistent, engaging social media presence can work like word-of-mouth if your followers share your content with their followers. What’s a RT or a Share from Facebook but a new twist on word-of-mouth. However, you need to create a compelling social media posts that people enjoy and want to share. Being seen as helpful and real on social media could have your posts spreading and really expanding your audience.
Can You Afford Traditional Advertising Methods?
Most small businesses, and certainly the vast majority of solopreneurs, can’t afford TV, radio, or newspaper ads – and they wouldn’t be very effective in most instances even if you could afford them. You’re probably not buying a billboard outside of town. I bet most of my solopreneur pals aren’t running print direct mail campaigns either. You may not be able to spend much on PPC (pay-per-click) ads or Google AdWord campaign.
So, pretty high chance your answer on most paid advertising is “no.” That means social media advertising could be your cheapest, most affordable advertising option. And honestly, social media ads can so narrow down and hyper-target your ideal client, that traditional advertisers could only have dreamed about back in my ad agency days. Paid social media advertising is way more targeted and cost-effective than even the best local cable ads, direct mail, or any other ‘traditional’ sources claiming to be targeted. You don’t have to jump straight to paid social ads, but do know it’s a tool that solopreneurs should keep in their marketing kit.
Note: I say “advertising” up there and I mean just that – paying to promote, share, or place ads. Advertising is one part of the whole marketing process. On social media today, advertising could be a boosted post or event, a supported Tweet, or straight-up social ads. Do NOT buy into the myth that social media is ‘free’ – because while you aren’t paying to join the social platforms, you ARE paying in your effort, time, and resources. Social media can cost blood, sweat, and tears – and sometimes some cash too. But don’t ignore social ads.
10 Tools for Social Media Success
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Do You Have a Faster Way to Interact with and Answer Customer Questions?
Social media is a great place to get feedback from your customers or your potential customers. As I said, more people are turning to social media for customer service and to get direct answers, not just for research or asking their friends about favorite products. In many cases, they head to social media before the phone or email.
You can answer questions via social media and get to know your current or potential clients on a more personal level. PLUS, all your other potential clients will see your answers, your honesty, and your customer service in action. PLUS, research says consumers are 71% more likely to make a purchase based on a social referral. Personal service is extremely important to people these days. You can build a life-long customer relationship simply by making people feel that they matter, they are important and that you desire to cater to their needs as best you can.
To be successful at building a business today, you need to be building relationships. Forget about “B2B”, “B2C” and think “H2H” – human-to-human. We have better buying experiences when there’s a real human element and we connect with the person selling us something, especially if we think – no KNOW – that other human has our interests at heart. Client loyalty, repeat business, referrals, even that vaunted ‘word of mouth marketing’ comes from good relationships. Building a solid, meaningful social media presence that responds to customers is an excellent way to build those relationships.
Convinced Now That Your Solopreneur Business Can Use Social Media for Growth and Success?
Look, this isn’t about whether or not YOU personally think much of social media, like, love or hate it, or are a high user of social media. I’m not saying do something you hate and dread … BUT … it matters more that your prospective client and customers ARE using social media. They’re out there looking for answers, for services, for products, for help, and even researching YOU.
Unless your market isn’t online at all anywhere (doubt it!) and never touches a computer, the chances are that your business can benefit greatly from being on and using sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Instagram or Pinterest. I am NOT saying go join ALL of them and start promoting like crazy! “That’s not how this works, that’s not how any of this works!”
DO go take a spin around the major social sites and check out how solopreneurs like you are using those platforms and reaching their customers. This will help you decide if it's a smart move for you. [That and joining my Smarter Social Success group training program so you can learn about finding where your ideal clients are hanging out – because you don’t need to be everywhere all the time! That’s not smart social.]
Gaining visibility, building your reputation, speeding up KNOW-LIKE-TRUST process, sending targeted traffic to your website, building your prospect list, listening to your customers, researching your marketing – the many ways you can use social media for biz wins. Smart social media use can do wonders for many businesses. No, it won’t be a key marketing strategy for every business, but it’s becoming more and more common.
Still wondering how social media can translate to paying clients? Need to know where YOUR clients are likely to be hanging out on social media? Time to get even SMARTER in how your business uses social media – time to join me for Smarter Social Media Success training!