It wouldn’t be a series on small business without talking about the world of Social Media. I was having a hard time deciding what to write, though, because many cubic tons of information are already available. To start, you need only search on small business social media and you’ll have reading material for days.
When I first started, I read many of these posts to get a sense of things and found that they fall into many categories:
- Category #1 includes posts that discuss the different social media venues and the elements of social media that are most important.
- Category #2 includes posts that enumerate the top 5 or 10 things you should be doing with social media.
- Category #3 includes posts about how to have an “authentic” conversation, engage your customers, or create your personal brand.
- Category #4 includes posts that provide studies, data, and infographics about the ROI (or lack thereof ) of social media.
- Category #5 includes posts about why [enter social media venue here] is or is not the best thing since sliced bread.
What many of these posts lack, however, is advice for people who are anti-social. In other words, people for whom the online repartee doesn’t come easily, yet they know it’s imperative for their business.
The Secret Password Is…
So if you fall into the anti-social category, this post is for you because I’m going to share a special word with you that should make life easier. The secret password is…integration.
The majority of the popular social media tools offer the ability to post information to the other sites. Some examples:
- Facebook will tweet your status.
- You can import your blog posts to your Facebook profile.
- You can embed YouTube videos easily into any tool that will allow you to enter a snippet of code.
- Use a snippet of code to insert photos from your Flickr stream virtually anywhere.
So where should you begin? Here is a simple process to help you participate in three of the most popular tools:
- Start a blog even if no one reads it (at least at first). Here is some info on the best time to publish your blog posts.
- Upload all of your blog-related photos to Flickr and embed the photos from Flickr into your blog posts as necessary.
- Import your blog as Facebook notes so that each blog entry posts to your business page.
- Set up your blog so that every new post creates a tweet.
- Use a tool like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to schedule relevant tweets or Facebook posts.
You Don’t Have To Be “On” All The Time
Many people may be asking, but what about being a part of the “conversation”? How do I stay engaged enough that people will know I’m not a bot?
My answer: the secret password is integration not automation even if you are literally automating some of the tasks. The above process is helpful to get you started because you are not only visible in more than one venue, but each of them allows people to converse with you via comments/responses. You are therefore able to see where people are most likely to engage with you and your content. You should also make sure to logon to Facebook and Twitter and correspond in real-time, but integration affords some leeway for those days that you don’t have time to be “”on”” and interact immediately.
Where Do You Fall In The Social Spectrum?
As a small business owner, the bulk of the work falls to you therefore it’s important to determine how to get involved in social media but not get overwhelmed. Integrating the tools you use will help you focus on your content and interaction with others.
Where do you feel you fall within the spectrum of being social and how does that impact your use of social media for your business? Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.