How to Get Started With Social Media in Your Business
This issue our mentor is Lena West, a social media and business growth expert. She's also the Founder of the Influence Expansion Academy, the only social media mastermind created specifically for women entrepreneurs.
Lena West is the Founder of the Influence Expansion Academy, the only social media mastermind created specifically for women entrepreneurs.
Community Q: As a busy entrepreneurial woman I have enough to do to run my business, strategize for future growth and have a little time left over for a personal life. I have been remiss in building out my social media platforms. Everyone advises me stop procrastinating and start doing it now. But is it really all that important for me to do that—and, if so, where do I even start?
Lena West: It's really easy for everyone to give advice when they don't have to manage your day-to-day responsibilities! I speak to and coach thousands of women entrepreneurs every year and the first thing I want to share with you is that this is a common challenge. You might think you're the only one who doesn't have her “social act together”, but nothing could be further from the truth. Many people, especially busy women entrepreneurs, are still wondering where they're going to find the time, energy and quite frankly, the interest, to get value from social media. And, as a result, many do nothing. It seems like it's just too much.
However, not using social media really only guarantees one thing—that your business won't get the visibility needed to stay relevant. A lackluster, unproductive business doesn't sound like an outcome that's an option for you, as you mentioned strategizing for future growth in your question. This makes me believe that you want your business to not just survive, but thrive. And, today, it's kinda hard to do that without including social media in your marketing mix in some way.
Think of it this way:
I'm quite sure you're good at what you do. You get results for your clients. They like working with you and you them. It probably would even be fair to say that all of them need your services a great deal, otherwise they wouldn't be working with you. You went into business for a reason—to help a specific type of person or business be more successful than they are. What a shame it would be if one of these specific types of people who really, really needs your help—the kind of help your company can uniquely provide—but they can't reach out to you, because you either cannot be found online or your online footprint pales in comparison to other companies in your industry—companies that may not provide the same level of quality as you. Can you see where this is going?
Having said that, I will add that most entrepreneurs swing the pendulum of correction too far in the opposite direction and try to do it all. And, that's where things go wrong. Really, really wrong. Here's what you can do instead.
You asked where to start. At this point, you've got to get going, so the best place to start is by being where your market is. Right now, that's your only and chief responsibility. Now I'm sure you're asking how you find this out, right? Well, you have to ask. We all have clients who we feel more comfortable with than others. Start there. Give three or four of them a quick call or shoot out a short email. Let them know your company is going to be becoming more active on social media and you'd like to know if they use social media, which social networks they use most often for business and if your company were to be visible on social media would they interact with you. The first question is to prove to yourself that your market is indeed using social media. The second question tells you on which social network you need to focus your attention and the third question sets up the next step on your social media success path—engagement—interacting with your clients and their colleagues online.
Once you have a general idea of where to focus, open or update your account, follow/Like/connect with all the people you reached out to and start talking. It's also a good idea to pop over to YouTube and watch a few videos on your social network of choice—searching for "Twitter tutorial" is bound to come up with some good options. Hint: look for the videos with the most views. Above all, allow yourself to make mistakes and know that social media is very much like anything else—the value you get corresponds to the value you give.