Social Media: What’s the Point?

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As I was preparing for an upcoming social media workshop I’m leading for small business owners, one thing kept coming to mind:  what’s the point?  Not a defeatist, why am I bothering with social media sort of point, but seriously, why are you engaged in social media?

When I work with a small business owner, one of the first questions I ask is: what do you want to get out of social media?  This is usually followed by an awkward pause, some squirming, and then a hesitant: “Clients?”

It’s okay, I get it.  You’re busy, everyone’s bugging you to do social media, it’s “free”, just do it, right?  Well, yes, it is important sometimes to just leap in.  But you can save yourself a lot of agony if you take time to figure out some stuff in advance:

  1. What do you want out of this?  Are you trying to drive traffic to your website?  Get new leads?  Make industry contacts?  Build an e-mail database?  All of these things require different approaches.
  2. What do your clients care about?   Do they want to hear about the gossip and events coming up at your bar?  Are they looking for tools to make their life run more smoothly?
  3. What benefits can you offer them?  Figure out what product/service related benefits will bring them back to your posts, day after day.  It might be information, entertainment, or inspiration, but your posts should “fit” your clients and your product or service.  One client of mine was posting political humor on her Facebook page, which sold a very different product.  Some of her clients might have enjoyed it, but her clients used her products and services for a very different, non-political reason.
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