“Living at risk is jumping off the cliff…
Every business owner knows the risk involved with just being in business. A lot can depend on any given business succeeding. Certainly, there’s the financial need for success – both for your own family as well as for the families of any employees you may have. People depend on their income. But, for many people, there’s a much more personal need for success. Plenty of small businesses have been started as a way of fulfilling a dream. Does the success or failure of the business mean that pursuing the dream was a success or failure? Was taking the risk worth it? The answers to those questions can be very emotionally loaded.
…and building your wings on the way down.” – Ray Bradbury
The building your wings reference from Ray Bradbury, to me, speaks of learning as you go. Some part of running a small business is going to have a learn as you go aspect. It could be having to learn a new accounting software, developing new recipes, or ongoing professional development. You’re going to have to learn on the job. Diving into social media for your small business is no different.
Social media has a particularly tough learning curve, specifically because it’s always evolving. Features change, new platforms are developed, a platform’s business model changes, and audiences change preferences. Remember MySpace – well, the original MySpace, before Justin Timberlake bought it? That platform died out – people moved on to Facebook. And speaking of Facebook, how often do they tweak their algorithm to determine how often a business (via a Brand page) is seen in their followers’ news feeds? Frequently enough that it’s sometimes tough for the big brands to grapple with the changes, let alone a small business.
The point is, social media in general is always changing, and if a small business wants to use social media as a communication or marketing channel, then they need to make it a priority to keep on top the changes their important platforms make. That’s a full-time job in itself! And it doesn’t even begin to touch all the other aspects of social media relating to branding, public relations, customer service, and reputation management.
So how’s a small business owner supposed to do that?
- Hire someone to do it – an agency, a full-time employee, a contractor. Depending on your type of business, this can be very effective. Small business owners need to delegate many tasks to others so they can focus on doing whatever they do best.
- Delegate the social media duties to different people on your staff, based on their strengths. If you have a person handling marketing for your business, this is right up that alley. Do you have a great writer on staff, or someone who can create amazing graphics? Social media can be incorporated into their responsibilities.
- Find an intern. Hey, those kids have used social media for most of their lives, they know how it works, right? Well, there are pros and cons to this approach, and if you as a business owner is aware of the potential downsides and takes action to mitigate the risks, it can be very beneficial to your business. A lot of very thorough training and supervision will be needed for this approach.
- Hire a coach – with the goal of your coach teaching you how to streamline your social media, what platforms you need to use to best reach your target market, what tools to use to make your life easier, and, especially if you’re using social media as a marketing channel, how to interpret social media metrics in light of your overarching marketing goals. Metrics matter. If you’re going to take the D-I-Y approach to social media, you may as well learn to do it properly.
No matter which method of learning social media you choose for your business, if you’re determined to do it right, you’ll find the way that works best for your business. I offer a 30 minute free consultation to help you decide what option will work for your business.