Social Media for the Busy Mamapreneur
At least once a week we get a post on our Mamas & Co. member forum that is a cry for help. Someone, somewhere is in need of critical social media assistance STAT! Whether it’s Facebook ads or the latest Instagram feature, there is a lot of confusion about the best ways to tackle social media. All the various platforms are constantly changing their features, their functions, their formulas. So much so that even a seasoned pro can get tripped-up. But (thankfully) another member always swoops in with the solution.
This blog post is not for the seasoned pro.
This post is for the average mama entrepreneur or first-timer business owner. This is for the entrepreneur who feels overwhelmed by it all (as I often did and, I confess still do sometimes). This post is not going to give you all the answers to the social media puzzle, but I hope it sheds some light on the topic and gives you some guidance. After all, if you’re a mama entrepreneur, time is precious and you want to get the most impact with the least amount of stress. Here are a few tips I have cultivated over the years.
Think like your customer
If you want to reach a certain market, use the platforms they would use. For example, if your target audience is males age 18-24 then I would not suggest Pinterest. Similarly, if your target audience is middle-aged professionals, Snapchat would not be my first choice. Many consultants or business professionals use LinkedIn more than they do Facebook, so if that is the market you’re trying to reach, then try it. Know where your target audience spends their time, and if you don’t know, find out. If you’re not comfortable with a certain platform, there are plenty of people out there (many in Mamas & Co.) who you can reach out to and hire if need be.
Pick a pair
Ever heard the expression “Jack of all Trades, Master of None”? You don’t want to be Jack. Pick two social media outlets and do them really well. Get to know all their features. Understand their users and regularly post content they want to see.
Content is Queen
Your content doesn’t have to be picture perfect, but what’s important is you are posting a variety of content, and doing so often. As an exercise, come up with 5 completely different things you could post this week that your audience might be interested in. But take note (this is important!) - don’t make it all about YOU. Think like your customers. What do they want to see? Maybe one post is a fun event that you’re a part of, another might be a related article on your industry, or a rave review from a client, or a promotion you are offering. The best feeds are the ones with a variety of things going on, and do not feel like one long ad for your business.
Do more of what works
Now that you are thinking variety, start to take note of what is working. Which types of posts get the most likes and shares? Find out what your audience is loving, and do more of that!
Engagement, in a nutshell, is ensuring you do more than just post and leave it there. Look out for comments from your audience and post a reply to them. Think of it as a conversation; it only works if it is two-way, and you never want to ditch someone in the middle.
Get more mileage
This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you’re going to take the time to create a video for your business, make sure you’re sharing it in every place you possible can: your website, YouTube channel, Instagram, Facebook… You can schedule these posts (see below) so they don’t appear in all your SM channels all at once. Also, think about ways to turn content into different formats. Realistically, that video could become a blog post (or two), infographic, free list-building incentive, a quote block or two, etc., etc.
Get comfortable with video
Do you remember the 80’s hit “Video Killed the Radio Star”? Well, it’s back, with a vengeance. The writing is on the wall… cell phones are getting better cameras, Instagram now allows videos when it once did not, and Facebook recently launched it’s new live streaming feature “Facebook Live”. Not everyone loves video but there are no signs of it going away anytime soon. It’s like texting was 8 years ago; if you didn’t get comfortable with it, you will get left behind.
Image is everything
When it comes to your social media posts, a picture really does say a thousand words. And if you’re relying on your 2006 flip phone to give you high quality images, you’re in trouble. Invest in the best possible phone you can afford (you can write it off as a business expense) and take care to post images that are in focus, well lit and in line with your brand. If the post is important or will be seen by many, it might make sense to use an SLR or even a professional video camera. If you don’t have or can’t afford this, ask a friend if you can borrow theirs. And while selfies can be fun and even effective, but they lose their pizazz if overused.
Schedule your posts
Save your sanity and schedule your posts. You can pre-write them days, weeks, even months in advance and save them for when you need content, or you know you’ll be too busy to create content. Scheduling tools like Hootsuite and Meet Edgar allow you to schedule all your social media posts in one place. Facebook also has it’s own scheduling feature, which I personally find very handy, and I am frequently posting 20 – 30 times a week across my various endeavors.
If you’re just starting out, these tips should help you get started on the right foot. They key is not to get overwhelmed. Keep at it and over time you’ll grow your skills and your following. And have fun! They don’t call it “social” media for nothing.
Lianne Kim is the founder of Mamas & Co. and owner of Think Big Sales Consulting.