The Magic of Social Media
"You keep saying that word. I do not think it means, what you think it means." ~Inigo Montoya
Are there any Princess Bride fans out there?
I haven't seen it in forever, but I often think of it with a smile. And, when I hear other women who are solo business owners, mention social media and then cringe, I think of that quote! I want to look at them and say it in my best Spanish accent...but I don't, of course.
So I decided to blog about it, since I don't get out much.
That movie has so many one liners, weird moments, touching moments and downright funny moments. Hey, it sounds like social media, doesn't it?! We've all experienced the oversharing, awkward photos, argumentative comments between "friends", funny jokes and witty memes. The list goes on.
But do you use it for your business?
If you do, first, pat yourself on the back, since so many people feel overwhelmed with social media. Because of that, they haven't learned how to use it. If you don't, but have the desire to learn how, it isn't hard, but it does require the desire for change.
As a work-from-home mom, I always felt I was at a disadvantage because I had no money to spend on marketing my business.
If the above describes you and you have a desire to change your business, one baby step at a time, this oh, so gentle guide is for you. The goal here is to get you started, not scare you away with too many details all at once. Soooooo...
In This Post You Will Learn:
• How to get started
• How to bring people to your website from your social media accounts
• What you can do to get a professional profile picture without hiring a photographer
• How to build trust online
• What the best FREE tool is for creating an effective cover photo, so you can brand your social media accounts like a pro, without hiring a designer
Did you know that over 1 billion people are registered on Facebook, as of January, 2016? According to Statista, Facebook currently has 1.55 billion active monthly users. And even though Instagram is eighth on the list, it has 400 million users.
That is a lot of people!
Since I started using social media on a regular basis, I have seen so many positive changes take place that I didn't expect, nor was I looking for.
I am a freelance graphic designer. This is my side gig, second to and sometimes side by side to homeschooling my three kids, 15, 12 and 11. Because of this, I have used social media as my way to stay connected with those in my industry all these years. Now, since July of 2015, I have been slowly using it to grow my business.
Branding and design requires solitude. Because I usually don't get that until after lunch, I use time in between lessons to browse social media and click on links to articles that have helped me improve my craft. I have learned so much and I didn't have to leave my house! (Who's being home schooled here?!?)
How It Has Helped My Home Based Business
• I am able to follow and stay connected with other professionals that are interested in design and marketing. I am even able to get their input if I need help on a project or in making a decision for my business by sending out a viral request. People are quick to offer solutions online.
• I am able to reach my target market in non-salesy ways, by posting popular quotes, links to helpful articles and sharing image posts that make a connection emotionally with my audience.
• I have earned the respect of other business owners from being active on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Before I used these platforms, I found it difficult for colleagues in town to accept me as a seasoned, knowledgeable, business owner because they knew I worked from home and home schooled my children.
• My confidence has increased! Social media allows you to be a thought leader and it doesn't care if you do it while tweeting in your P.J.'s...as long you don't take pics!
• The best stat of all is that I have done all this without spending more than $26 a month for my Squarespace website. Here and there I buy a font or an e-book, but not more than that.
That is just right now. I will be starting email automation with Mail Chimp soon for a few more dollars a month, but all that I have learned on and from social media has pretty much been free. Marketing that way is inexpensive to free as well.
Enough about me! I created an info graphic to simplify things and help you get started.
Get Started Guide
Drive Traffic to Your Website | Create an Account + a Landing Page
Imagine reaching more people than ever before and then imagine growing your email list faster than you are doing now.
It is COMPLETELY possible by creating and actively using a social media account. Because you want your dream to be reality, you should also create what is called a landing page, or a cover page in Squarespace world.
Every social media account has your website link somewhere on the page. Instead of leading your audience to your home page, create a landing page. A landing page is a better choice because it tells prospects what you want them to do. Do you want them to sign up for your free worksheets, tutorials or to be notified of new products and services? No problem. Write a small paragraph and embed a sign up button and you will get more responses than if you just sent them to your home page. Click on the link above for a great you tube tutorial by Digital Landscape, on creating landing pages (cover pages) in Squarespace.
Launchrock also has a free landing page service that I used when launching my re-brand in the summer of 2015. I really liked it and it was a breeze to use...and it was GLORIOUSLY FREE! I highly recommend this app if you are launching a new website. You won't be disappointed.
Use your landing page URL on your social media accounts and you will see results. Promise!
*Smart tip: If your website doesn't have one, include a call to action (CTA) on each page. A call to action is where you ask your readers to do something that keeps you both connected. Since we are talking about social media, add a CTA asking them to follow you on your social media pages. Your landing page will have your call to action built in with buttons of your choice.
How to Build Trust
Why does social media build trust, you ask? Because, consistency and frequency of communication strengthens relationships. This platform also allows you to be personable, helpful and real. How can that not build trust, right?!
To use it effectively, use the 80/20 approach. That is, 80% of the time you post with no agenda. Post, like and share without promoting any of your products or services. Then, once a week or once every two weeks, post info about your products and services.
One way to learn how to use specific social media platforms, is by following Social Media Examiner. This excellent online resource has a wealth of information! I'm including their awesome article that dives deep into how to get started on each one, along with valuable links to everything you need to know about jumping online.
Keep Top of Mind
• Post an inspirational quote on Monday.
• Try a Tuesday Tip, the next day.
• Share someone else's post that got a reaction out of you.
• Click LIKE on other people'sposts on a daily basis
• Ask for an answer to a business question or for a life hack.
• Post a picture of your work space or something awesome that pertains to what you do.
Posting something to your social media accounts everyday, may seem like a waste of time. Too much effort, right? Well, actually no. It may feel that way at the beginning, but it takes some time to develop a habit.
According to James Clear in the Huffington Post in 2104, a plastic surgeon from the 1950's, Dr. Maxwell Maltz, discovered something interesting. If a patient had a nose job or lost a limb, it consistently took a minimum of 21 days to get used to the change. Technically it takes 66 days.
Dr. Maxwell stated, "These, and many other commonly observed phenomena tend to show that it requires a minimum of about 21 days for an old mental image to dissolve and a new one to jell."
By making a habit of posting inspirational quotes and image posts that resonate with you and your target audience, when you do have something to sell, they will trust you more because they feel like they know you.
Take a Professional Head Shot
I have never been able to afford a professional photographer to take my head shots. In fact, the photos I use in my package pricing PDF were taken by my 12 year old, with my Android Tracfone! (Money Saving Side Note: I avoid monthly payments by using a Tracfone, and since I do most everything from home during the day, this is the best plan for our needs and saves us a TON of money.)
How To Get That Picture Perfect Social Media Shot
- Hair and makeup: Get fixed up like you were going to the office. If your style is more casual, make it business casual, with pops of colors that you like. Choose a pretty lipstick color to bring the look together.
- Take photos in your home office. Tidy up and add a pretty plant or a vase with a simple bunch of flowers for your desk.
- Let the light in. Open the space up to as much natural light as possible. It will help keep your features from looking washed out or dull. Nobody wants that!
- Use a stand for your camera and a remote to snap the pics. (I didn't know this existed! See the link below for product info.)
- If you are below fancy, like me, ask a friend or one of your older children to snap some shots. Look in different directions so you have a variety to choose from. Looking left or right allows for you to direct the viewer's eye to where you want it to go. When used in a profile pic, it looks like you are looking at your info. This is very effective if you are smiling too. It adds warmth and is a welcoming touch.
The Nectar Collective recently talked about the best photography equipment for blogging. In this article, Chiatra recommends cameras and accessories that bloggers use to take their own pictures, with beautiful results. This is super helpful, since there is so much to choose from in the way of cameras. Check it out here.
Design A Cover Photo For Your Page | Easy Solution for Non-Designers
As far as top resources go, I already named Social Media Examiner as one, and the other one is the app, Canva.
Why Use Canva?
• Because, here you will find templates for practically every digital and print design need.
• If you are not a designer, there are ready-to-go designs, with fonts paired perfectly, so you can design your cover photos, social media posts and info graphics + so much more! Designers love it too! It is definitely a time saver.
• Browse through the templates and find the cover photo type that you want a design for.
For a tutorial on Canva layouts and design, lynda.com is the go-to spot for learning a new skill. Click the link for the tutorial and because there is a free trial period, you can learn the lesson at no cost. BONUS!!!
Using this type of marketing is an investment in time and not much money out of your pocket-if any. But, because you can get such a great return on your investment...your time...it will pay off with strong business relationships. I'll warn you though, your confidence might grow a bit and you might find yourself being more bold.
Now do you think that word means what you think it means?
I hope not!