Using Social Media to Grow Your Business. Here are a few tips.
It seems that everyday another social media platform comes around. With so many platforms out there it can be confusing and even overwhelming. For people like myself who are technology challenged it can seem even worst. Sometimes I just want to put my head down and hide. I must admit that I’m not the type of person who jumps on the bandwagon quickly. I’m not what you would call an early adopter. This has actually been a good and a bad thing. On the good side: Did you know that recently a new app or was it a platform (I don’t know but doesn’t matter now) known as “Peach” actually launched and went out of business within a few hours of launching their business. (Read article here ) On the bad side: I am sometimes the last to get on board and get on board kinda late. However with time I have come to realize that this is the world I now live in. A world where everything seems to scream out for my attention. What is a woman to do?
We are now more connected digitally than we have ever been in history. With just a few taps of the keyboard we can instantly be in touch with thousands of people we have never even met. We can find groups of people who share our interests and points of view. Whether that is crafting, community service or politics. It’s all out there. The challenge is finding a group that fits your personality and point of view. The bad part of social media is that it seems to me at least that the more connected digitally we become the less connected physically we become (oh well thats another topic).
This new world (not so new now) of digital connectedness has given rise to a huge opportunity for business owners. More and more people are now becoming their own bosses and using the internet and social media to grow their brands. The good news is that YES, social media can help you grow your business. There are many social media platforms to choose from such as Facebook, YouTube (My favorite), Instagram, Snapchat, vine, Periscope, etc. The trick is to find the one that best suits your personality, style and goals. My friend Kathy Cano-Murillo aka CraftyChica says that she thinks of these platforms as different parties which we can attend. Choose the one that you like best. In the post I am going to share a few of my favorite platforms. Here is some info on how you can use some of the various social media platforms to grow your business.
Facebook Most of you are familiar with the big hitters Facebook and YouTube. (Or at least for the moment) Facebook has dominated the social media space for some time now. Whether it will continue to do so is another question. Facebook allow us to connect with family and friends. It can be a fun way to share photos, event info, etc. It is now also used by many businesses to promote themselves. Facebook is an ever evolving platform. They make changes every once in a while to improve the platform. Recently they have allowed videos to be uploaded directly to Facebook now some of these videos are giving YouTube some serious competition. Many YouTube video content creators have complained that many of their videos have been stolen and uploaded directly to Facebook without their permission. (This sucks because they don’t make money on those video) I haven’t been able to really get the hang of Facebook. I have tons of YouTube subscribers but not many Facebook fans and that’s ok. I just want to share some fun stuff with everyone, but please if you are a YouTube subscriber or blog member please follow me on my other social media platforms. It makes the party so much more fun when there are lots of people attending.
You can create personal and business pages on Facebook. Many people are also creating Facebook groups to share their interests. Facebook also offers business page owners the opportunity to advertise on Facebook. Owners can create and place ads. Facebook Ads can be targeted to specific demographics based on age, gender, interests, location etc. Some people have had success with it. There are tons of on-line courses and webinars that teach how to use FB ads effectively. Effectively advertising on Facebook is an art all of its own. I don’t advertise on Facebook but know several people who have done so with success. I think it’s a great way to advertise webinars and new businesses.
YouTube is of course the one I am most familiar with. YouTube is a great way to create videos and share what you know with the world. You can use YouTube to create revenue for yourself and your company in two ways;
1) You can use YouTube to share information regarding your business and then direct those people to your own personal website. Once there you can share your products or services with them. This is a way that you can leverage the power of YouTube to grow your business. One of the best ways to do this is to actually share something of value in the video. Then you can invite viewers to learn more at your website. You can do that either by including a link for them to click on to take them to your page or giving further instructions. YouTube will allow links to a verified connected website url.
2) You can earn revenue from your YouTube videos by earning money from the advertising shown on YouTube (CPM). Depending on how many viewers are ACTUALLY watching the ads will determine how much you make. It is such a complicated metric that I still don’t really how it really works. There are so many variables. For example depending on your metrics (analytics) such as your watch time, number of views, how long the viewer watched the video, did the viewer skip the ad, etc. Those all come into play in determining revenue. The really bad news: If someone skips the ad the video creator doesn’t get paid. This totally sucks, believe me it hurts me every time someone skips the ads. That means I worked for free. I don’t think most people realize that. Another challenge for video creators is the new YouTubeRed which allows subscribers to pay $10 a month and skip ads.. those really hurt creators.
Plan on about 1 1/2 hours of video editing for every 10 minutes of video. That doesn’t include prep time and cost of materials which can get pretty expensive. If you want to try to upload videos I say “Go for it!” The more the merrier. You will never know if a platform is for you if you don’t try it. You don’t have to wait until you have the “expensive” camera or perfect studio set up. Just start with what you have now and have fun.
Instagram is one of the platforms that I have recently begun to use. I am really loving it. I guess it’s because I enjoy taking photos and sharing them. Instagram is perfect for people who are visual. Some business owners are using Instagram as a way to promote their products and services. To be perfectly honest I’m not a great photographer and so many of my photos are not the “polished” images that seem to be so popular on Instagram. If you enjoy taking beautiful photos this might be the platform for you. There are many tools you can use to make your photos look better such as VISCO, Snapseed, and the actual tools within Instagram itself. Instagram tools allow you to add filters, correct brightness and contrast levels among many other things. You can post photos and add a description of your photo. Hashtags are very popular on Instagram and help to bring in an audience that is interested in that topic. For example #crochet or #knitting When you join Instagram you create a profile. It is a mini-bio of you and your Instagram account. You can change your profile as you add different photos to include things such as a website, product, etc. These links are clickable.. meaning when your follower clicks on those link it will direct them to the site. You can shorten your url’s to make it easier for people to follow those links. Then for example if you are showing a photo of a product you sell and if people are interested in purchasing that item, they can go to your profile and click on the link to purchase. Now you have converted that viewer into a paying customer. Win-win for all!
Periscope is relatively new. It is now the fastest growing social media platform. It is growing faster than Facebook. Periscope is owned by Twitter. It allows users to do live video streaming straight from their smart phone or androids. It is a platform that works ONLY on phones. It is currently not available for desktops but I wouldn’t be surprised if that feature came along soon. Periscope, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube all require that you build a following. What is really neat about Periscope is that unlike a webinar you can actually ask questions, comment, etc. in live time. The person broadcasting can see your comments as they come in which allows them to engage and answer questions as they come in. As a viewer (follower) of the broadcaster you can also invite others to watch the broadcast too. This is great feature because it allows you the viewer to help grow the audience of the broadcaster. Periscopes or Scopes as people call them can happen anytime. The viewers need to have a twitter account to join (at least they did at the time of research for this post). The broadcaster can then tweet that they are going to do a periscope. Also, the periscope app will sent an alert to the followers that the person is doing a scope and that they are live. The viewers can then choose to watch or ignore the alert. It’s great because it is more like a real conversation. Broadcasters can grow their business by sharing information or upcoming product launches and giving viewers information on where they can get the products or services they represent. They can share link but the bad part is that those Links are not “clickable” meaning the viewers can’t click on them and be directed to the page.
Pinterest is another platform that uses photos as a way to share. I remember when Pinterest was only a way for me to digital hoard beautiful things without actually physical clutter in my home. Pinterest is now a way that people are promoting their businesses. You can share photos of your products and add links for where people can purchase those products. Pinterest even now has “sponsored” post. Which is a fancy way of saying advertising. Business people can use Pinterest to advertise to others who have shown in an interest in the product they are selling. Just as Facebook Ads allow business owners to target their audience thru demographics Pinterest now allows the same thing. People are using the power of Pinterest to leverage their reach. If you have great photos and are a good copy writer Pinterest might be a good platform for you. Photos are organized into Boards which allows the business order to create divisions for their products. For example you could have a board that is for “Blouses” and another “shoes” etc. This will allow people to go directly to the boards that are of interest to them.
There are other platforms that you might also like such as Snapchat, Twitter, and Vine. Vine was a challenge to me because of the very short duration of video clips allow (6 seconds). I didn’t share on these platforms because I haven’t used them before and do not feel qualified to speak about them. Snapchat is starting to catch my attention. I like the fact that it disappears after 24 hours so my mistakes won’t be out there for eternity.
The key to using all of these platforms successfully is consistency. You have to put in the work to reap the rewards. If you are willing to put in the time and work required social media can a very effective way to leverage your business. Get rid of the “Get rich quick” and “Overnight” success mindset. Be positive, have fun and be authentic. Most people can spot a phony. Most importantly share what you have to offer with the world. Everyone has something valuable to share. Be yourself, everyone else is already taken. : )
If you want to learn more about using Social Media to grow your business, whether you sell handmade items, services, courses etc. Let me know. I may do a Periscope session and give you more information that you can use. This is just a short intro to this topic and I didn’t have enough space here to share everything I wanted to share with you. Be sure to become a member of my blog (it’s free) so you don’t miss other posts.
Any questions? Write them below in the comments and I will try to answer as many as you have. Also, be sure to click on the icons below to follow me on YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook.. etc. Here are my social media names.
Facebook: All Crafts Channel