Our society has changed dramatically in so many ways. One of the most obvious changes in recent years is the creation and use of social media. Just a few years ago, many words that are now common place either did not exist or had very different meanings. For example, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, posting, tweeting, content, engagement, chat, SEO, AdWords, followers, likes, links, etc. These terms and actions have allowed us to connect with individuals, groups, businesses and long-lost friends. We are connected in so many new ways, but has it all really made us more social? That’s an entirely different conversation…
Many homeschool families are taking advantage of the freedom that comes with homeschooling to create successful small businesses, and from a family business perspective, social media offers benefits that few other tools can claim. Social Media offers powerful new ways to get exposure for a brand, service, product, and the families and personalities behind those brands. It is very unique and something that when done well, offers a powerful tool for entrepreneurs, brands and small business owners. However, we need to be very careful not to use social media platforms as a crutch or an excuse to be lazy. The various platforms that we now have access to are not a quick fix or an excuse to stop marketing. While these channels help with customer retention and relationship building, they can sometimes disappoint when relied on to generate new business.
With that said, how can we use social media to our advantage in business? Here are our top 5 tips to help your family business get the most out of social media:
1) You Can’t Be Everywhere At Once – as you know, there are numerous platforms to consider – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Reddit, Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+. You need to determine where your audience lives and which channels will benefit you and your business the most. If you try to master them all, you will drive yourself insane and you will not accomplish anything beneficial.
2) Provide Value – there are “rules” that tend to change every few months as to the best practices for each social platform. At the end of the day, you want to provide your audience great value and consider them when posting content. As an example, for your personal Facebook page, most of your friends and family want to read mostly about you, your family, and your personal activities. Keep business posts somewhat limited. Once or twice a week is sufficient. If you insist on pushing a product or service, you may see a decline in your followers. A personal Facebook page is not where that audience wants to be sold to. Consider starting a fan page or business page instead. With that said, you can offer content that shows you are an expert in specific areas. For instance, if you are a real estate broker, rather than posting your listings, post articles that you have written or links to those written by others on how to stage a home or 5 tips on home inspections.
3) Be Consistent – when followers, or potential new customers, visit your social channels, they need to see current content. Therefore, decide on a schedule that allows you to post regularly. There are analytics available that can show you ideal times for posting so you will generate the highest levels of engagement and “industry standards” for how many times a day you should post. Until you can offer solid and consistent content, do not get too caught up in those stats.
4) Use Video – To help get your content noticed and to obtain a higher level of engagement from your audience, video is a key. I’m not talking highly produced video and scripts. The camera on your smart phone will get the job done. The video needs to match your brand, product and personality. You can talk to your audience on camera or you can narrate off camera while shooting an event or describing a product. Get creative with it.
5) When it Really Matters, Use Paid Posts – By now, you have probably heard that the powers who control the various platforms constantly change the algorithms which effects how your audience sees your messages in their news feed. One way to be sure your posts are getting out there is to “boost” them or pay for them to reach people. It used to be that all your “normal” posts (known as “organic”) would reach all your followers, now it doesn’t work that way. One good thing about paid posts is you can pick specifically who sees the post. You can pick age, regions, states, gender, etc. Keep in mind, you have probably seen these posts from others in your own feed. How many of those posts have you clicked on? How many of those “promoted” products have you purchased? Have any of those posts annoyed you because you have no interest in being bothered by a “digital ad” rather than a normal message? I suggest you limit the use of your paid posts to very important and/or special content. You can’t afford to waste the money or have a negative impact on your audience.
So, there you go. Simple, right? Social media is a moving target. Do not expect to become an expert over night. Just remember to try it at some level, be consistent and offer value. Oh, and you’re allowed to have some fun with it, too!
Written by John B. Robinson with Purple Monkey Garage… Fixing Businesses and Repairing Lives.
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One of the great benefits of homeschooling is that it allows families to work together and it allows students to learn valuable business and life skills in the process. In fact, Schoolhouse Rocked is very much the business of HOMESCHOOL FAMILIES. God is using these homeschool families to do great work in His name!
Because we know how many homeschool families run home businesses, farms, craft businesses, and even growing companies, we have partnered with Purple Monkey Garage to bring you excellent, practical business and entrepreneurship articles. Josh Tolley is a nationally syndicated radio host, author, and founder of Purple Monkey Garage, where their mechanics are busy “Fixing Businesses and Repairing Lives.”
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