5 Tips on How to “Social Media” for SMEs

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By Rebecca Allam

For those of you who think you might be missing a trick in your business by not being on social media, or are currently subscribed but aren’t sure where to start, this article is for you.

It won’t turn you into a guru overnight but my one promise is that it will get you feeling more comfortable and confident in picking up that phone or keyboard and getting yourself out there.

Or it might just save you some time (see tip 1 below)...

1. Be committed or don’t bother

A lot of businesses, both new and experienced, come to our ‘Peerworking’ sessions asking for tips on how to get the most out of using social media. For many of us it is quite simply a chore and seen as another ‘time vampire’, but there is a reason so many of us are on there and for those who truly commit time to build content and relationships it really can work. However, if you choose to set up profiles which appear unfinished or barely used, you could actually damage your business credibility and reputation. So, think before you click and decide if this is an avenue you want to take your business down and whether you have the time to dedicate to it.

2. Just be YOU

For most people their fear stems from apprehension: “Will my post make sense?”; “Will people think I’m stupid?”; and “What if someone doesn’t like my post?” are common reasons as to why business owners and people in general worry about using any kind of social media platform. The reality of this is that quite often if people see a post they don’t like, agree with, or understand they will simply scroll past it. Thus no harm done.

What you need to remember in order for your social media self (or business) to flourish is to treat it as you would a real life social situation. Be engaging and polite. Be helpful and caring, but most importantly be as ‘you’ as you can! People follow/ friend and connect because they want to know more about you, the person. So, show off your personality in your profiles and the rest will follow.

3. It’s about listening, not selling

Social media can be a bit like going to a networking event. You are in a room with hundreds (maybe even thousands) of people, some you may have met previously and some complete strangers, then before you know it someone is standing in front of you asking the generic, “So... what do you do?” question and 10 seconds in to your answer starts waving their business card in your face (ok, maybe I’m slightly exaggerating, but I think you share my frustrations). Using social media to sell is pretty much the same thing and is a direct route to being un-followed, de-friended and whatever it is you do on Linked In... Disconnect?

4. Don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone

The most current way of promoting yourself on social media right now is video marketing. Following on the theme of being yourself, being relational and showing off that dazzling personality, people have come to realise that the best way of getting to know, like and trust someone, in a world where everything is online, is actually by seeing them face-to-face... Ladies and gents we have come full circle. I jest not.

It may be a big jump for some people, but if you can take that step outside of your comfort zone and are prepared to face the camera, it could do wonders for your credibility and overall awareness. But remember, keep it short, pointed and friendly. If all else fails just use your cat...

5. Be the expert at what you do

If your strategy for using social media is to boost both awareness and sales for your business (rather than snooping at your neighbour’s wedding pictures #guilty), then it is imperative that you put yourself across as the expert. This may mean giving away a few golden ones for free now and again, but a little goes a long way and if the content you are posting is compelling and you are seen to be on top of new articles and trends in your field, it will boost you to the title of influencer in no time.

Good luck tweetheart!

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