Updated: Jan 15
One of the hardest things about starting my own business The Write Step, has been promoting it.
It’s not that I don’t know how to do it. I’ve worked in Marketing and PR for over 30 years. I’ve worked for some brilliant companies and have been privileged to create and execute some fantastic marketing campaigns.
I can do it!
Take my previous employer, MJM Marine. During my time there, I raised their brand awareness and positioned them as the world leader in marine outfitting. I created a marketing campaign when Royal Caribbean brought the Azamara Pursuit to Belfast for a refit which saw MJM Marine appear on TV news reports six times in three months. I quadrupled the number of LinkedIn followers for MJM Marine and increased social media engagement across their platforms by 300%. I secured three industry awards for them.
That is, I can do it when I’m doing it for someone else. It is a whole different ball game when I’m promoting myself. Anyone who knows me and who has worked with me over the years, knows that I never put myself out there.
That has had to change since I’ve set up my own business. If I want to be successful, build up a strong client base and reach my goals, I’ve had to embrace social media for myself. I’ve had to put myself out there.
I can do it for you! Get in touch.
It hasn’t been easy and I don’t know if I will ever be entirely comfortable doing it but it is becoming more natural. So for any one who has just set up their own business or who is trying to grow their business online and struggling to put yourself out there on social media, here’s a few tips to get you started.
1. Choose your platforms
The big temptation is to get a profile on every social media platform available and push for more likes and followers on each. This is not necessarily the best strategy for a number of reasons, not least that it takes a lot of time to manage social media and to create posts for various platforms that people will be interested in.
The first thing to do is work out who your target market is. There are loads of articles available on how to identify your target audience. Hubspot is a good resource. When you know your target audience, identify which platform they are likely to be on. My social media strategy matches my target audiences…I’m on LinkedIn to support my business services, I’m on Facebook to support my personal writing services and I have plans to launch on Instagram with a gift idea that I am working on. I’m not on Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat but that doesn’t mean I will never be on them. I will continue to monitor them, watch how their user profiles change and assess whether they may be suitable for my business at any stage. I will continue to review my social media strategy and adapt if appropriate.
2. Be visible
You need to maintain a strong presence on your social media channels. Putting a post up every now and again is no good. You need to be appearing regularly. Think of your social media platforms as your shop window. If you were on the high street, people passing by will see you. They may not call in but they will see you and know you are there. Then when they want to purchase they will call. When you’re on social media regularly, people will see you. They may scroll past, they may not engage but they will be aware of you so when they want your product or service they know who you are.
3. Be Authentic
Even though your customers might never meet you, they will want to get to know you through your social media profile and your content so show your personality. You don’t need to divulge personal information but what you say and how you say it will let people see a little bit more of you. But don’t pretend to be something you’re not. Even on social media, people will see through it.
4. Get involved
It’s not all about you! Social media is not an insular platform. You need to engage with others. Comment on other posts, particularly if they are from someone you would like to do business with. Build up an online relationship with them. Tag people or businesses, use #hashtags. Make your platforms work for you.
5. Easy on the Sales Pitch
You don’t have to constantly sell your products or services in your posts. Of course, the whole purpose of being online is to grow your business but people get fed up if you are constantly trying to sell to them. Mix your posts up. Include some generic content – observations about your industry, snippets of your personality, even an odd picture of your dog. The key is to get a balance between building your profile and a hard sell. Remember your shop window. It unobtrusively invites customers in. That is what you want to achieve through your posts.
Of course, social media is only one small element in a successful marketing plan. There is a whole lot more to consider to raise your profile, build a customer base and create a long-term secure business. It can’t all happen at once but it is important to have it as part of your business strategy.
I can provide marketing or mentoring support, social media help or coaching to improve business writing skills. Get in touch and let’s get started on putting yourself out there!