It's a little ironic to write the above headline for a blog post but it reiterates the conversations that I have with many entrepreneurs today. For entrepreneurs, their main concern is getting the word out about their product/service. In the majority of cases they don't feel that social media can actually help them with marketing. Small business owners think that social media is trivial at best and a complete waste of time at worst.
This may come as a surprise to some. I know it surprises me at times. It feels like Facebook and Twitter are littered with entrepreneurs, MLM participants and work from home experts. While there may be a high percentage of people using social media whose business is primarily online, there are many brick and mortar type businesses that still don't want to consider utilizing social media.
When you dig a little deeper, you come to realize that it's not shocking that small business owners feel like social media is dumb and a waste of time. The most telling sign is the fact that roughly half of small business owners don't have a website for their business. If they don't have a website, why would they blog, set up an account on Twitter or do anything else online?
Because I didn't quickly embrace social media myself, I would like to offer my tips on how to maximize social media for the small business owners who feel like social media is dumb and also a waste of time.
What You Should Do: Set up a website.
Setting up a nice website can be very inexpensive and if you wanted to take a little time to learn, you could set up the site yourself. A feature of your site should be a blog. Once you have your blog in place, you should set a schedule with regards to how often you will post and what content you will write about. Don't worry if you are not a writer, I wasn't either (and depending on who you talk to, I am still not).
Why you should do it: Build credibility for yourself and your business.
If you want to know what I think about small business, you don't have to ask me, you can just read my blog. The same goes for any small business owner. Do you want to assert yourself as an expert? Share your knowledge of your field. Do you want people to be able to find you on the web? Create content that can be found? Do you want to drive traffic to your site? Give people a reason to come to your site and keep coming. Do you want to have a more intimate relationship with your clients? Communicate with them on a regular basis. Share your thoughts, your fears, your vision.
Today's client looks to the web to determine how credible you are in the marketplace today. If they can't find you then they may worry and decide not to do business with you. Having a web presence not only solves that issue for you but opens up a whole new set of doors for your business as well.
Don't get caught up into the time issue or the fact that you may not have a lot of writing experience. I feel like when it comes to sharing your thoughts, the main thing is to be authentic and as long as you do that, readers will resonate with what you are saying. If you don't have a web presence and a blog, ask yourself why you don't ( beyond because you think that it is dumb and a waste of time) and then ask yourself what you need to do to get a web presence in place. In part 2 of this post I will talk more about other social media platforms and what you can do to maximize your experience with them.