Practical tips for stepping up your social media game: entrepreneur edition
In case you didn't notice, social media is like a thing now.
Let me start this by saying that I really, really love social media. Always have and it began long before I ever started my own business. I studied Advertising/PR in college but I always joked that they should rename it Social Media Studies because that’s 99% of what we talked about in my classes. Instagram was the very first app I downloaded when I opened up my first iPhone 4s in 2011.
While I know it gets a bad rap sometimes, it also has its redeeming qualities. I love how it connects us all over the world. I love how it creates legitimate communities among people who have never met in real life. I love how it allows us to keep up with one another’s lives as we daily share the things we care about. I love how it’s easier and faster than ever to capture photos and share them with our friends.
I especially love how it has allowed me to grow my business by networking with people in my area. It really is so cool.
When you have your own business in sales, (be it a direct sales business, an Etsy shop, a boutique, a service, a blog, or a restaurant) social media is usually the fastest way people will learn about you and become interested in whatever it is you have to offer. These days, studies are showing that people are less likely than ever to make a purchasing decision from advertisements alone. The majority of people actually discover new brands, products and local businesses through word-of-mouth.
With that being said, while many may hear about a cool new coffee shop or the BEST mascara ever through a friend a lunch or a co-worker in the office, they also are finding this same information from their friends on Instagram or Facebook. I can’t tell you how many times I have purchased clothes online because my favorite fashion blogger styled something so beautifully. In an instant, I can go from really liking her outfit to clicking a few buttons and having it hanging in my very own closet. Now that is cool. And powerful.
You’re a smart girl. You’re ready to step it up. Let’s get started:
1. Get clear on your objective.
If you want my opinion (you’re reading this so I guess you do), you’re going to need to stop thinking of your social media platforms the way the rest of the world does. The rest of the world does not own a business. So whether you like it or not, you represent that business at all times. For me and my business, I understand I’m a walking billboard for myself and my services so I can either create a good image or a bad one at any given time.
Let’s start with an example.
I try my very hardest to always be positive and uplifting because part of my objective is to show people how much I love my life as a business owner. That means that if I complained every time something bad happened, I hit an obstacle, got my feelings hurt or was discouraged, I would be sending very mixed messages to my audience. Do I love what I do, or not? It’s not about being fake. I’m a huge advocate for being as real as possible. But “real” doesn’t mean that everyone needs to know everything about my thoughts, my opinions, my political views, or my bad days. Real means being myself … not a carbon copy of someone else. Real means letting go of “perfect” and stepping into “authentic.”
So while the rest of the world may tweet about how bad the traffic sucks, or how crappy work was, or how stupid so-and-so politician is, I won’t. Because it doesn’t help me to accomplish my objective.
So what is it you want your social media followers to feel or think when they scroll through your feed? Ask yourself this before each post to insure you’re staying consistent with what you want and what you’re doing.
2. Let’s Get Personal!
Now that that you’ve decided how you want to come across to your audience, it’s time to make it personal! No, I don’t advise airing your dirty laundry, however I do advise letting your audience see the real you! While you are a “walking billboard” for your business at all times, you are more than your business. You are a daughter, wife, mother, student, cat-mom, runner, crafter, photographer, and frequent concert-goer. You get the picture. Let the world see that you are more than just a work-from-home Boss Babe. This one is actually sometimes harder than it sounds. But as a woman who works in direct sales, I like my customers and prospective team members to see how my business actually enriches my life. I would never want to come across as the girl who’s obsessed and addicted to working. I’m passionate about my work but at the end of the day, we work hard so that we can live the lives of our dreams. I like for my audience to see how my business helps me to lead a purpose-driven life filled with special relationships and God-given joy.
If you find that you have a hard time balancing how much you should post about business, family, and faith, you can pencil your posts into your planner. It may seem unnecessary to some, but this helps me to make sure my #1 marketing platform is being used most effectively and also honoring my priorities.
3. Be Consistent With Content.
When you juggle a family and a business, it hard to keep up with one more thing. I get it. Still, I want to encourage you to make sure you are getting a good amount of content posted each week. Are your clients and customers hearing from you regularly? Is your content interesting and engaging? Is it consistent with your objective? Can everyone tell you are still in business?
I know you may think that sounds dramatic, but there have been multiple times I have wondered if some of my friends who had home-based businesses were even doing it anymore. Before you know it my curiosity gets the best of me and I'm checking her accounts to investigate. When it comes to running a buisness, silence isn't golden. Consistent posts insures people never have to guess if you’re still in business! If you want your business to grow every month then act like it. I can’t tell you how much business I have gained just from people who followed me on social media for long enough until they FINALLY became interested in me. It wasn’t instant. It was consistent effort over time to build TRUST and rapport.
4. Quality Over Quantity
Jamie. Did you not just tell me to consistently engage with my audience?!
Yes! Be consistent by all means. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have a to post every day or multiple times a day. Just make sure you have enough to keep your followers engaged. You are a busy woman running a business for goodness sake! Just make sure when you do post, you use great images that aren’t blurry or dark. Choose photos that are well lit and line up with your overall objective. Don’t feel like you have to have the most beautiful Instagram aesthetic of all time or be a professional photographer either. I personally do work at having a pretty, cohesive aesthetic and about 75% of my posts are taken with a DSLR camera. However, I didn’t start there. The work that you do is far more important than a perfect Instagram feed. Just take the time to post great quality photos that mirror the world-class professional that you are.
So this year on Thanksgiving instead of posting one of those weird photos of your dinner plate with all the same foods the rest of us are eating, get a cute shot of you and your siblings, or your mom pulling her famous pie out of the oven, or a sweet candid of your grandparents hugging. All I’m saying is try just a LITTLE harder.
5. Don’t Be Like The Rest Of Them, Darling.
When it comes to businesses in direct sales, I see so many consultants just copy and paste images or captions from one another because it’s easy and they feel like they can trust it will be effective. I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with this, however it’s never going to make you stand out or create your own voice. So many people want to know my social media tips. They like following me but they don't exactly know why. Want to know why? For starters, I don’t copy and paste. I don’t want to step on your toes. It’s just that I really take the time to decide what it is I want my customers and prospects to see from me. Just because this works for Susie Q. doesn’t mean that it’s right for me and my audience. In the future, if another Boss Babe posts something inspiring, share/regram it or always give credit. If you ever see another Boss Babe post something that’s very informative and worded well, shoot her a message and request her permission to go with her ideas or phrasing. It’s professional, respectful, and it forces you to stop and think about what you want to share with your audience.
Additionally, try to take as many of your own photos as possible. Whether it’s in my own direct sales company or others that I see out there, I find that the girls doing the BEST in their respective companies are also the ones who creatively share how they use the products that they sell. If you sell make up, don’t be afraid to post your own before/after shots, do your own make up tutorials, feature your best make up tips on Instagram/Snapchat stories, and share a photo of your go-to lipstick. Don’t just use company stock photos or someone else’s selfie. Use your own because your clients and followers will trust it more and find it more interesting. If you sell jewelry, show them how you wear it and incorporate it in your own style. If you sell healthcare products, please show everyone your results from time-to-time. That will really get their attention! I think you get the idea. I have just found that the posts that really get me to stop scrolling are the ones where the sales consultant is repping her own products in her own unique way.
So get creative and get a little more “you” with your social media posts.
6. Stay Woke
If you were born before 1993 you might have to Google what “stay woke” means because I totes had to. #itsfine. But seriously. Stay up to date with what’s going on in your industry, your company, social media practices, up and coming brands, new product launches, business journals, etc. Every now and then, I spend my “after work” hours reading up on new direct sales companies. Not because I would ever switch but because I like to know what’s out there and how it could affect my business or clientele. It’s just smart. You know Apple and Microsoft aren’t totally ignorant of each other’s latest product launches. From time to time, ask yourself “what do the competitors do better than me? What do I bring to the table that no one else does? What are my areas I need to grow in? Are there opportunities that I could take advantage of to help grow my brand?”
It’s a simple S.W.O.T. analysis, ladies. It stands for:
I am always evaluating where I’m great, where I’m struggling, ideas to grow, and potential threats for my business. When I’m constantly aware of these things, it often does affect the things I’m posting on social media.
My point? Don’t just go-with-the-flow. Act like the CEO of a your own company. Think like a business owner. Be on top of what’s out there and how your industry is changing (hint: It’s always changing). Stay woke.
One of the reasons we are all using social media is to grow our network, meet new people, and potentially entice new customers. Using appropriate hashtags, location tags, and tagging specific brands or people of interest will help grow your follower-count and network. I recommend using hashtags that will allow people to actually find you, so skip the silly ones. I try to use hashtags that have less than 100,000 posts in them, giving me more of a chance to make it to the Top Posts section in Instagram. Instagram will allow 30 hashtags per post so I try to use as many as I can. It has allowed me to meet other really cool girls. One of the women who I developed into a leader on my team found me on Instagram. She had never tried the products in her life, but she loved how fun and happy my feed was and thought that whatever I did looked like a blast. She shot me a message on Instagram and signed up that day. Today she is a phenomenal leader in our company and a dear friend to me. She wasn’t the first and I’m sure she wont be the last! Glad I had a platform that stood out!
for the most helpful tips on gaining more followers, head over to Summer's blog! I learned so much from her and this post!
8. Love Your Product
Listen. If you don’t already use what you sell on a daily basis and absolutely freaking LOVE it, then this blog post will never help you. You have got to be “sold out” before you ever get someone else to “buy in”. I use the products that I sell EXCLUSIVELY. I take pride in them. I am confident in what I sell. I would pay full price for it if I didn’t already sell it. So guess what. People trust me. My clients like to buy from me. We all already know that women are intuitive. They know when something is the real deal or if it’s phony. So just be the real deal. Love what you do. Love what you sell. Believe in it. Believe in yourself. Once you really embrace that, people will start to believe in you too.
9. Don’t Take Advice From Someone You Wouldn’t Trade Places With
This one is pretty self-explanatory and also just straight up good wisdom for anything and everything. For curating your own social media presence for your business, stick to your gut or model yourself after people doing it well.
10. Social Media Will Never Replace Real Relationships
This one may be the most important for you to remember. Do I believe in the power of social media? You bet I do! But I have found from personal experience that it will never outshine the results that come from developing trust and meaningful relationships. In sales, the customer always buys you before they buy whatever you’re selling. So don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and make a call (terrifying, I know). Write a handwritten note whenever you get the chance. Go above and beyond with your customer service. And don’t ever get too unfamiliar with seeing someone’s smile IRL and not on the little squares on your phone.
Because at the end of it all, if you don’t have real relationships then you’ll forget how to be human. And when you forget how to be human, you stop connecting. And when you stop connecting, you’re out of business!