The thinking was that Facebook might quickly go the way of MySpace, or Instagram would just be another Friendster—here for a good time, but not for a long time.
The mediums have continually evolved, but by now it has long been clear that almost every business, no matter how small, needs a strategy to keep up and connect with customers socially. Over the past year I’ve been able to grow my presence on social media dramatically. I experiment. A year ago I didn’t quite understand TikTok. Now, two of my short videos amassed over 1 million views combined within weeks, and earned more than 70,000 likes.
If you’re anxious or unsure about how to grow your social media presence, and thus your business’s reputation, let me help you. To start, let’s talk about how most businesspeople approach these mediums. The biggest concerns I hear when it comes to social media are, No. 1, finding time to create content and, No. 2, knowing what to create as content. The latter problem is easier to solve.
It starts by listening. Stop pretending you know what other people want to hear and listen to what they are saying. Search for the questions people are asking about your industry. It’s fair game to spy on other businesspeople, your competitors, to see what they are posting.
Once you start truly listening to your potential customers, you can apply authenticity to your social media approach. It’s just another place for you to serve them. The combination you are looking for is some business, some fun and something about you.
As for the first problem I mentioned above—finding enough time to create social content—I suggest that you don’t try to be everywhere. Go all in on one or two platforms, the places where your buyers are most likely to engage with you (if you’re not sure, start with Facebook or Instagram). Make a commitment: Identify what time in the day you will be spending 30-60 minutes creating and scheduling social media content, whatever it may be. Join ongoing conversations by commenting and liking your friends’ and colleagues’ posts. Practice this engagement throughout the day or specifically at the time you’ve set.
When I say “go all in,” I mean it. You should be a constant presence, such that your customers or audience can’t miss you. Post four, five, maybe six times a day. Post to stories, post to your page, mix things up and do a video, and keep it coming.
If you still can’t think of anything to create, I like the acronym STAY. It goes like this:
Show and tell the world what you have for sale, who you helped, how your company is doing and so on.
This is where you help the consumer. If you’re in real estate, for example, explain to the layperson how to get a loan, what to look for during an inspection, or how long it takes to close on a home.
Offer some philosophical leadership. You might simply post a quote about life or business, or you can show off your expertise by sharing hints on something you are great at, either in your line of work or a hobby.
At the end of the day it comes back to you. Be your full, authentic self. Tell a story. Where are you eating? What music are you listening to? What are you watching or thinking about? Let people get to know you.
The acronym itself is a reminder that you need to STAY active. Connecting with people—your customers and potential customers—on social media is a commitment, and not for the short term. But the choice to not engage is no longer an option. So you might as well be yourself and have fun. υ
This article originally appeared in the January/February 2022 Issue of SUCCESS magazine. Photo by @justingovender_/Twenty20