- using social media to attract clients
· Do you have a small budget, but are keen to expand?
· Are you afraid of coming across as pushy in your business?
· Are you new to or nervous about social media networking?
As small business owners, we are frequently presented with pitches designed to encourage us to spend our money, telling us how we can make 6 figures or what we MUST have in our business in order to be successful.
The truth is, unless you have thousands of spare pounds to invest, you are going to have to do some savvy spending and make the most of the many free opportunities that present themselves as well. This blog is about how to get the best from the free opportunities.
Some common myths and myth busters about promoting your business on social media
- MYTH – “the same people will see all of my posts and get bored”
- BUSTER – people will see very few of your posts, unless they only follow you!
- MYTH – “I have very little to say, so people won’t be interested”
- BUSTER – getting to know the person behind the service matters to clients
- MYTH – “all networkers are more confident than me”
- BUSTER – there are plenty of nervous networkers out there
- MYTH – “the more groups I join, the more visible I’ll be”
- BUSTER – by spreading yourself too thinly, you’ll barely be visible anywhere
Why is it important to be visible online?
There used to be ‘The Rule of 7’ – this was based on the idea that people might commonly have to see your marketing message at least 7 times before they would buy from you. In our current, ad saturated world, that number has increased considerably, so we have to be even more visible to get our product or service to stand out from the crowd. That means popping up more often and social media is a free way to achieve this. To do so, you can use more than one platform, but you have to remember the following things in order to be successful:
Be aware of the social media platforms available
Here are just a few, with some of their features:
Facebook – opportunity to have a Facebook Business Page separate to your personal page, a Facebook Group and to join other groups.
Considered to be a generally popular social media platform for small business owners.
Instagram – every post needs a photo uploaded to it – Instagram
reels can also be created. Considered popular with creatives.
Twitter – a platform where the number of characters is limited – popular with authors, academics and people who like to verbally express opinions.
LinkedIn – previously used as a formal career platform with a profile and
the ability to post up articles, but now a bit more relaxed and appealing
to more freelancers with high-end clients too.
Be your authentic self across all platforms
People buy from people. I honestly can’t say this enough! In the current world, if someone wants to feel more secure about a service you are offering, as well as researching the service, they are likely to do some social media research of you – the person behind the business. If you are your genuine self, no-one gets any surprises and you are much more likely to attract your ideal client and make sales. I recently met some people in person that I'd communicated with in a Facebook group and I felt like we all knew each other already, the conversation just flowed.
Be frequent and consistent with your message
Once you have that confidence in your service or product, potential
clients will have more confidence in you as the provider. Be consistent across all platforms, although social media platforms vary considerably, you need to make sure that people can detect the same message and values in your posts, even if the tone or approach varies a bit. Being consistent with unfiltered selfies, Facebook lives and Zoom networking, shows authenticity.
Choose your groups and who you follow very carefully
Initially, lots of people either follow everyone to get followed back or feel obligated to follow their followers. You don’t actually need to do this as it actually benefits no-one longer term. The most effective way is to follow people who inspire you, offer great advice, provide a service or product you will use, make you laugh or always seem to talk your language. Building real relationships is what will bring you business on social media and that includes reacting to people’s posts, making comments, revealing more about yourself and finding out more about others. If you belong to too many groups, you are more likely to post and run (frowned on) or spread yourself too thinly and not get to know people deeply enough for them to want to engage with you or your business.
How do I find the best groups, the best Zoom networking sessions and the places where my ideal clients will be hanging out?
I’d love to be able to say here’s a list, but that would be my list of my ideal places with the people I like to hang out with. It would also be temporary information, as people change what they are offering, move from free to paid communities or close altogether. Instead, I’d suggest that if you find any like-minded people, ask them which groups they hang out in or network Zooms they do.
It is definitely trial and error to some extent. The best Zoom networking group I belong to is one that I initially spotted as recommended and free. It charges a small fee now (payable per month or per session) but I feel at home in that community. I’ve gained great clients from there who I’ve enjoyed working with, I’ve learnt so much useful information and advice and been able to give back too and to support others – the mutual networking relationships are the most effective. This particular group is called The Brand Visibility Network for Empathetic Women in Business and is run by Lauren Hughes. https://www.facebook.com/groups/242552720247455
When you’ve found the right group or groups for you, that is also a great place to start from when you are looking for paid services too.
How do I get visible if I don’t feel confident?
1. Find a group where you resonate with people’s values and like their approach – feeling comfortable is well on the way to feeling confident.
2. When you’ve found a group you like, start to regularly comment on other people’s posts that you can engage with.
3. If asked to introduce yourself in a welcome post, do so. If people don’t know about you and your product or service, they can’t reach out to connect, collaborate or purchase from you.
4. Look out for the days when certain groups allow you to post about your business with a link. When you get to know when these are, you can post up yours and get to find out and comment on what others are offering.
5. Try out a post in response to a thread and see what response you get. It’s fine to take a few tentative steps at first, it’s also great to ask questions. There are no such thing as daft questions, there’ll probably be loads of others glad you asked.
6. Don’t be afraid to leave if a group isn’t for you.
7. Vary your posts between more personal ones and business ones and post several times a week on each of your pages and in the groups that you belong to.
8. Show your face (a headshot, picture or selfie). This is this best way of getting people to remember you or your business.
9. Give things a go, even if they are out of your comfort zone. There are free Facebook groups out there, mine included, that allow you to go live in the group at a certain time of the week. Use that opportunity to practise with an audience that will support and encourage you.
10. Try a Zoom networking session – the best ones allow chat time, rather than just being an opportunity to give a 60 second pitch in. The main thing to remember is that a Facebook Live or a Zoom call is not a paid TV appearance, it’s a group of other small business owners who will be cheering you on all the way.
11. Look out for #journorequests (journalists looking for stories are often willing to give a business plug).
12. If you are more adventurous, you could try Tik Tok or Instagram reels and starting your own Facebook group is a great way to build a community of like-minded people.
People who hide in the background are not going to be visible, it’s like trying to get fit by buying trainers, then keeping them in the box!!
I will confess that I am generally socially nervous, yet I’ve done Facebook Lives and Zoom networking sessions. I believe strongly in the value that my role as The Parenting Copywriter brings to other people, in terms of boosting their confidence and their sales, so I want to get it out there. If that means stepping out of my comfort zone then I’ll do it.
I also have a free Facebook Group called Parenting Business Connections, bringing together small business owners whose ideal clients are parents. The idea behind it is connection, collaboration, confidence building and celebrating success with others with the same target audience. Click on the link below if you'd like to join.