Big brands have definitely infiltrated social media, but it’s the small-business owners and solopreneurs who developed the early use cases for social media marketing. With big networks going pay-to-play and the increase noise:signal ratio, standing out on social is harder than ever for smaller brands who depend on content marketing to grow.
For all the talk about declining organic reach on Facebook, there are still ways small business can leverage social media without breaking the bank. Social media can still be a platform for developing influence so people get to know, like and trust you, and then buy your products. The challenge, then, is developing a strategy that enables you to grow your business without getting sucked into the social media time vortex.
According to sports nutritionist, fitness trainer and life coach Natalie Jill, social media media is where it starts for many small business owners. She likened social media influence to being a shortcut that bypasses the old advertising model to connect with a target demographic.
It’s like going to a party, but a very targeted party. With just a couple searches and clicks, you can really dial in on who you’re trying to reach. If you can grow your audience in that space, you’re reaching so much more of the right audience than you would going through traditional media.
Jill said that building a following and influence really starts with sharing useful content. She didn’t necessarily start with an agenda to sell anything; she started first by connecting and seeing what resonated with her growing audience. From there she started developing courses based on audience feedback.
Over time, she has refined her strategy. For instance, she says she used to spend hours every day creating a new video. Now she has workout DVDs — among other products — that she deconstructs into 15 second clips on Facebook and Instagram. This attracts people interested in the kind of workouts she offers, so they can get to know her and are more likely to buy the full course.
[Social] is the first spot of connection, without which no one will go to your website or buy your product.
Jill offered these tips for small business owners looking to build influence on social media:
- Start by offering something of value. Building influence is all about establishing expertise, which means sharing useful content that answers questions or provides a solution.
- Listen to your audience. Jill says it’s easy to develop a program. What’s harder is listening to your audience and developing your products based on their feedback.
- Grow by working smarter. As your following — and business — grows, identify what’s working and what isn’t working. Look at how much time you spend on a given project and ask yourself if there’s a more effective way to accomplish your goals.
Readers: What other tips would you offer?
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