I have become slightly addicted to infographics in the last week or so. I think it may have come through reacquainting myself with Pinterest and setting up a Work-Related Board and also spending a long time on Copyblogger and Mashable just reading and reading, trying to get up to date with everything and anything that might possibly be relevant to this business and my quest to develop it.
Today, I’ve mainly been reading the Buddy Media Strategies for Effective Tweeting Report, which is really interesting and deserves a look but none of this addresses the point of this blog post. Social Media. I love social media, well, I love Twitter, I am little obsessed and spend a lot of time tweeting away and it has been extremely beneficial and is responsible for I’d say 95% of my work to date. There’s always a worry whether I’m using social media effectively for my business but then, it’s working so I must be.
I had a read of an article at Mashable discussing the ways small businesses are approaching social media from the wrong angle and thought more and more about my approach. Their five main points are as follows:
- Social Media isn’t the place for the hard sell
- Social Media isn’t about self promotion
- You don’t have to be everywhere
- You don’t have to keep up with the big brands
- Social Media isn’t ‘free’
I found points 2 and 4 most interesting. 2 because a lot of what you see in the small business community on Twitter (where I do most of my networking it has to be said) is a HUGE amount of ‘like me, follow me’ or words to that effect as people try to build up their following. I, of course, do this too but it’s interesting to hear that the guys suggest:
“Small businesses need to treat social media like a cocktail party among friends. To be liked, you’ve got to be gracious, genuinely interested in others, and not dominate the conversation.”
“Share great content from others in the industry. Ask questions and encourage participation. And most importantly, recognize that sometimes it’s better to talk less and listen more.”
Both these points are hugely valuable and something I am definitely going to take into account as it’s extremely easy to get completely tied up in your own aims and goals and not consider how valuable sharing and discussion with others in related industries can be. What’s more, it is extremely off-putting when ALL you hear is how great others believe they are and this can make it quite difficult, uncomfortable to engage with the community.
I think point 4 is also extremely valid as it’s essential to remain grounded and always remember you don’t have to keep up with the big brands. Perspective is important as you develop your business and trying to be Tesco is never going to get you anywhere. Mashable say:
“Creating giveaways and contests is one of the most effective ways to generate new likes and improve overall engagement. But small businesses often feel the pressure to offer flashy prizes that are well beyond their budget.”
I agree with this to a certain extent as you see companies striving to out do each other, even on a small fry basis and I guess I’m lucky in some senses as by offering a service there’s very little I can give away for free, I don’t have products and am always willing to consider any project of any size, even with test samples and periods involved so it’s not like there’s anything I could genuinely give away anyway. Just a thought.
Social Media is amazing, I could not live without it for both personal and business needs and though I keep the two relatively separate, I hope I manage to come across as me in every instance.