Social media is just one of many marketing channels available to entrepreneurs. It is a single component of your toolkit. Moreover, like most marketing channels, it is about sowing now and reaping later. Think of it as a means of building relationships that will result in increased mind share and credibility for your product or service.
Many solo entrepreneurs know they need an online presence, but they have limited resources and can be intimidated by the volume of work. A tailored strategy for social media can overcome these obstacles and help you avoid the trap of having your time consumed by this tool at the expense of other critical business tasks.
Where should you start?
Start with your needs. Recognize that you can design your effort based on your business objectives and available resources. Here’s how to do it.
Decide what you want from social media.
Identify your marketing goals. These may include creating awareness, building your brand, building relationships, and demonstrating expertise. Prioritize these goals based on your needs. Use a tool like Table 1 to determine their relative importance for your business.
Figure out how much time and energy you are willing to spend.
Social media experts generally recommend posting frequently on your blog and on sites such as Twitter and Facebook to maximize exposure. However, you have to right-size your activity based on your resources. Even if you cannot afford to be heavily invested in this marketing channel because of staffing constraints, you can still have an online presence on a scale that suits you. Table 2 can help you plan your time.
Decide where to focus your effort.
Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and your blog all have the potential to enhance your online presence based on the type of business and your creativity in using the tools. Their relative value depends on your goals, as shown in Table 3. For example, if your aim is to demonstrate expertise, writing a blog is a great way to do it. Then you can use the other tools to direct traffic to your blog.
Execute and engage.
Once you have determined what you want from social media, the time you are willing to spend, and the tools you intend to use, get started! Develop your profiles and add content. Then invite clients, prospects, and business partners to connect with you. Remember to take advantage of your local social media community where you will find opportunities to engage both online and in person. For those in Central New York, the Linked Syracuse-Central NY LinkedIn group, which boasts more than 1,100 members, and the Biz Buzz Social Media Conference are two great examples.