We've all heard it, Facebook can be great for growing your business but the question remains, how? How can SME's make Facebook work for them?
I know when I first started dipping my toe in the social media pool I struggled to find my voice, to understand that I had something to say that was of interest to others and I have an online women's magazine! I have no problem in coming up with stories for my readers but when it came to figuring out social media I felt a bit lost.
But surprisingly, it wasn't until I was talking with Helen Feeney of Marcie Mai after the PR and Social Media seminar when she said "Thanks, I've finally got myself a Facebook strategy", that I realised it is a completely normal starting point.
I've always had the aim for the seminars to be practical and provide specific answers and solutions to individual business owners. And while we all come with the same motivators to grow our businesses, we all learn and perceive things differently.
So to help the business owners who couldn't make it to Catriona Pollard's presentation on what's involved in public relations and social media I thought I'd share some of the points explored that helped Helen have her light bulb moment.
You can also find links to the Social Media Seminars presentations on our presenters profile page. Just scroll through the list for each presenter.
Who's your audience?
It's only worthwhile sinking time and effort into Facebook if your target audience is there.
Facebook is a social environment where people catch up with friends, share stories, competitions, news and games. It suits She Inspires because we are about all these things but if your customers are other businesses (B2B) then maybe LinkedIn or Twitter is better suited for you.
Facebook is good for consumer goods and services (B2C) so for online shops, events, community groups etc.
What do you want to achieve?
Then have a think about what you want to achieve by being on Facebook. For She Inspires it's about readership and growing our audience. Kind of obvious I know but that's generally how it goes.
Figuring out what you want to achieve for your business is just about being clear what's your goal so you know what you're working towards.
Have a plan
It's after figuring out your goal that comes the tricky part but the solution is as easy as having a plan.
For Helen, the light bulb went bright when Catriona outlined her blogging plan of having one original on topic post per week and one post that is about curating other on topic online stories. These stories are shouted out on Facebook. So Catriona publishes on Facebook twice a week links to her blog stories.
Other key Facebook posts are the Tip of the Week and photos.
For She Inspires, it's about sharing stories, competition news, asking questions, newsletter updates and seminar news and events.
Taking some time to plan out your content can make it a lot easier. So decide on what you want to share - tips, stories, photos, competitions, events, news, shout out of other blogs and pages, videos and what's on - then work on your routine.
It's about creating a routine and regular content so your audience knows what to expect from you.
So you can have two or three posts a week or a day. Just stay on topic and be consistent.
The trick to it is to set yourself an achievable commitment. It's no use overloading your busy work plate and having things tumble off to the side.
While you might want to be appearing on people's Facebook newsfeeds consistently both your audience and your schedule will probably rebel.
Make use of tools like HootSuite to schedule a block of regular posts - maybe your tips - so that it can be done in one go. This is particularly useful for those days that just whoosh past you and you haven't been online at all.
But be sure to be on Facebook as a person consistently. I pop on at least once a day, spending anything from 10 minutes to up to an hour when I have the chance and am in the mood. It's the consistency that adds up. Initially I thought it would all be too much but now it's a habit, just like checking my email.
Great results from being on Facebook
I see direct benefits and results from being on Facebook and an added bonus is when I meet people who recognise She Inspires from Facebook and say they've been following us for ages. It's been a great at opening doors for me for both work and friendships. And that's what social media is all about.
Remember, be kind to yourself and your work load. You can always change and adapt. If you find you're getting the response you're after then you can put more into this free marketing tool with the aid of an internet and social media helper a few hours a week and grow from there. It's the starting that matters so figure out your audience and what you want to achieve, create a content plan and make your goals achievable.
About the Social Media Seminar Series
As business owners we are short on time and money and long on passion to grow our businesses. It's crucial for seminars and events to deliver on practical and useful information and skills as well as offering great opportunities for networking.
The She Inspires Social Media Seminar series is all about sharing skills, knowledge and tools that you need to grow your business. Social media offers an amazing opportunity for not only free marketing but also the chance to level the playing field with big business - especially as SME's are perfect at taking advantage of new opportunities by being flexible and adaptable. Big business might have the cash to throw at something but they move slowly and adapt late.
Learning from other business owners who are making social media work for them is so powerful so all our presenters have first hand experience and knowledge of running their own SMB and using social media to grow.
Click here to see the calendar of seminars and book in online - be sure to grab the early bird tickets as they go fast! Tickets are purposely priced to respect SME budgets at $45 and early birds $36.
There are two seminars per month through to October and the topics range from SEO to Google to Facebook to Blogging to campaigns and strategies to LinkedIn and more. There are two main formats for the seminars with discussion panels featuring three Presenters to solo presenter presentations.
Don't miss out, order your free business eBook today and learn from the talented business experts involved in the She Inspires Small Business Ideas Exchange Centre.
Click here to order your's now.