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An Introduction to Social Media for Small Business – 2023 Edition

Table of Contents

A Brief Introduction...

First, let’s state the obvious. We’ve all used Social Media. It’s probably played a key role in you reading this article right now. It’s been used to connect families across the world and let loved ones know you’re safe in an emergency. It’s been used to win elections and cause goliath companies to lose billions over something someone said.

Social Media is an incredibly complex machine because at the end of the day, it’s us that fuels it. I think it’s that last bit that stumps most people when they start using Social Media for their business. As an individual, we share personal and thought-provoking content to a select audience. As a business owner, we spam the same generic garbage that’s been shoved in everyone’s face for decades. Little wonder we fail to achieve the results we want.

I’m not saying don’t advertise on Social Media. Rather there is more to it than talking AT your audience, rather than to them. And no, wishing everyone a happy Friday and updating your store hours for the holidays doesn’t count.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that as a business, your Social Media journey needs to be your own. You can’t just read a couple of guides telling you what and how to post and then apply that and expect it to work. In some cases, you shouldn’t even be on Social Media. I’m sorry to announce it, but if you make edge tape for kitchen countertops, you are asking a lot of people to get excited about your product line.

You should also remember that when it comes to being on Social Media, you’re the customer. You’re the commodity being traded here. It’s easy to feel like you should get in and amongst it because all of the social platforms you use, the apps/tools you subscribe to, right down to the virtual assistants and digital marketers you hire to help you… They’d all love your money and will blow sunshine out of your behind to get it.

Getting Started in Social Media

It’s important to remember, those Likes and followers are real people, with real emotions and not just a series of numbers.

If you’re looking for quick exploits to boost your Likes, you’re in the wrong place. Those Likes and other reactions are vanity metrics aimed at manipulating you into using the platforms. Even the inventor of the Like button had no idea just how powerful the effect would be, and the dark power it would go on to hold over its users. It’s little wonder that Social Media has progressed to give rise to Tik Tok where its’ content creators will go to any length possible to achieve fame. A private supply of dopamine, in the form of validation from strangers, to anyone who dares play the game.

I can’t see one example, from above, where that results in more sales for your business. They’re benefits to you as an emotional being. So, please remember, Likes don’t pay the bills. Conversions do.

With that out of the way, if you believe that your business has something meaningful to share with the world, then yes, by all means, join the Social Media Revolution.

Here’s a couple of statements I want you to absorb before we start comparing the different platforms:

  1. No two platforms are the same. Ignore the fact that some platforms such as Facebook & Instagram are owned by the same company. Ignore the features and tools available that allow you to post the same content on both platforms with ease. More on this point at the end.
  2. Just because another company had success with their posting, it does not mean it will magically work for you. Monkey see, monkey do, does not work in Social Media.

Statistics by Platform

Rather than ramble at you, explaining why I think you should use XYZ platforms, I’ll let the data do the talking for me. The below stats were collected from 2022 and will give you a complete picture as to the current state of where your efforts are best diverted.

This should be your cheat sheet for all things Social Media. When we create a website, we also create something known as a ‘Persona’. We use each Persona to represent a particular demographic of the intended target audience. We identify their needs, wants and intended goals, and build a structure around catering for each Persona.

That’s what this matrix has done for you. A complete understanding of your target audience, per platform. It’s a gold mine of information, for those willing to submit themselves as the student and trust that the data does not lie.

What to Post on Social Media

This is the exciting part. We’re going to break free from the mundane postings of ‘Happy Friday’ and bland product placements. I want to introduce you to a whole world of content that you can post about, without ever getting stuck for content or becoming too stale.

“When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.” ~ Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends and Influence People is a timeless piece by Dale Carnegie, and a timely reminder in today’s over-advertised world. It serves to remind you to not treat your audience as a number, but respect them for having their own wants and needs. No one likes ads and we’ve all become very good at blocking them out.

A minimal amount of effort will unsurprisingly result in a minimal result. I define minimal effort by:

  • Posts with a lack of engagement opportunities. Ask yourself, what’s in it for the user?
  • Self-promotion Vs. providing value.
  • Automated or repetitive posts that become noise for your audience.

 

Your goal is to inspire or inform. Provide value, do it freely, do it openly and give it away. It’s a boomerang. What you put out; you will get back in kind.

Inform through your knowledge, wisdom, experience, technique, and process. Take a moment to appreciate your talents and share them. We tend to live in our own little bubble where we assume everyone knows the stuff we know, but someone out there wants to learn what you know.

So, what do you post? Where do you start?

Think of it as keeping a public journal for yourself. If you sell baked goods and you’re passionate about food, share recipes, ingredients, even your sources. 

If you found an amazing little gem where you get your eggs from, tell people! Let your Social Media become a scrapbook of the things that inspire and influence you to build a multimedia narrative.

Become a documentarian of your work. Think process, not product. Share the different stages of creation.

By sharing you also learn about yourself. Through attrition, you will get used to sharing without changing your process because you become overly aware that someone will see something other than your final work.
Just leave the kids, food, pets and family stuff on your personal account.

Post natively. All social media platforms are in competition with each other. They don’t want the content you’ve posted on another platform. Linking your content between different platforms doesn’t help them or you.

Speak natively. Let each platform be different. Everyone tells you to hook into a 3rd party app and post across multiple platforms. It’s a terrible idea. If the content is the same on each platform, you’ve removed any incentive for me to follow you on more than one platform.

Posts can exist in a large number of formats:

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