When I studied marketing back in the early 2000s, social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook didn’t exist. But as website technology evolved, what we know as social media soon followed.
And now, if you have a business, small or large, it is expected that you will have some sort of presence on social media. But what is the point of being on social media? It can take up a lot of time, and it certainly has some dark corners and less desirable aspects.
Essentially, it’s a way of meeting new people and talking to them. And as a business owner it is something that you need to embrace in order to get new clients or customers.
However, what works for one person or business doesn’t work for another.
If you’re a freelance consultant and all your work comes from former colleagues, you might find that a good LinkedIn profile is all you need, and you can back that up with case studies and a creds deck.
If you sell art or handmade items, even if you sell via a platform like Etsy you’ll still need to have a social media presence to send potential customers to look at your Etsy store. Instagram is great for businesses that have a visual aspect to them, with images that you can share – work in progress on a drawing for example, or a carefully curated display of finished items. And Facebook offers lots of opportunities to share your work, even if you don’t have the money to get into advertising on there.
I used to spend a lot of time on Twitter. I live-tweeted events, participated in online chats, co-founded an in-person tweetup that ran for a couple of years, trained a number of business owners on how to use it, and helped a local charity ensure that their Facebook and Twitter presence was coordinated and understood by all the members of staff that used the accounts. In the process of doing this, I met all sorts of interesting local people – some became members of the Rotary club I belong to, others are people I still see regularly in real life at local networking events, and one even became my accountant!
So when I asked my Facebook friends about Twitter this week, I was sad to hear that these days a lot of people feel Twitter is a nasty place and is mainly only good for checking the news and local traffic. I always found it to be an interesting way to expand my social and business networks, meeting people I may not have met on other social media platforms.
I’m still working out which platform is best for me and my own business.
I do use Instagram, but only for sharing photos of flowers, trees, or random objects my toddler has acquired! I use Facebook, but the algorithm prevents my posts from reaching as many people as I would like – and it does take effort to maintain a good presence in groups. I also use LinkedIn, but there is a lot more noise on it than there used to be. And I’m dabbling with Twitter again to see whether I can find any local Maidenhead businesses and charities on there to chat to.
I’ll continue to tweak what I do with social media to find my own balance and best way to use it – and that’s what I’d advise anyone with a small business or small charity to do. You can try the different platforms to see which one works best for you – and work out how to make the most out of the time you have available to spend on it.
It doesn’t have to take over your life if you plan your usage of it properly – and it could introduce you to some interesting people and expand your network.
If you need help figuring out how to plan your social media presence, I have a social media planning sheet you could try using. It’s available at the bargain price of just 99p here.
If you fancy giving Twitter a go and see if you can breathe some life into it in your local area, I have an introductory guide that may be of interest. It’s currently £17.00 and you can get a copy here.
And if none of that sounds helpful and you’d like to chat to me instead, get in touch here and I can come up with a consultation package to suit your needs!!