The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media (Part One)
Define your value and connect with your clients using our guide to getting started on social media.
Almost every Soloist knows that they need some kind of social media presence to connect to new and current clients, but it’s hard to know where to start and how to know if you’ve made a good investment of your time and energy. Read on for some tips about how to get started.
Taking the Plunge Into Social Media
There are two key questions to ask yourself before committing to any social media site and to help you develop your initial social media strategy.
1. Who’s your target audience, and where are they engaging online?
This might be the most important question to ask yourself as you head into the wild west of social media. The average age, gender, and general interests of your ideal client is going to greatly impact what social media sites they use and where you can best engage with them.
60% of SnapChat users are under the age of 24, while Facebook tends to attract more people between 25–54. So, if you want to work with millennials rather than Gen Xers, SnapChat might be the way to go.
By the same token, Pinterest attracts more women than men, so if your business caters more to women, then that might be a good place to focus your energy.
2. Where do your services stand out best?
Before deciding on a social media platform, it’s important to ask yourself where your services will stand out most. A hair stylist or makeup artist might be better served by a presence on a site like Pinterest, YouTube or Instagram where the visual aspect will be particularly engaging, while a writer or tutor might reach their ideal client more easily on Facebook or Twitter. On our sister app, Prefer, you can connect your Instagram feed directly to your profile, so that all of your potential clients can get a visual of your services. If you decide to use multiple platforms, make sure you use the same handle across every site, whether that’s your name or the name of your business. Keep it consistent so that you’ll be easy to find.
Learning to Swim in the Social Sea
There is no definitive answer to the question about how many social media sites you should be on, or how much time you need to spend on each every day. Every Soloist’s business is unique and every Soloist needs to do what helps them reach their target audience and business goals. Before you make your final selection, check out all of the different options and see which ones feel most authentic to you and where you think your voice will resonate best.
Once you’ve decided on a social media site or two, use these tips to start posting:
1. Connect with your community
The goal of social media is to connect with your audience in a real and authentic way. Social media is a powerful tool that allows you to nurture relationships with people even when they’re not standing right next to you. When you take the time to turn your client base into an engaged community, it allows you to grow your business through referrals and gives you more ways to grow your network and your business.
Using your social media presence to create tutorials, give tips and advice, and answer questions is a good way to show your expertise and build trust with your clients and prospective clients. You’ll also generate referrals by making sure that your expertise is widely known and proven.
2. Showcase your value
Nearly every Soloist gets into their business because they have something unique to deliver. Chances are you have a specific value proposition that you need to communicate to your clients to help you stand out from the crowd. Whether you’re an expert in balayage, a vegan chef, or an acupuncturist particularly focused on seniors, take advantage of social media to hook your audience by showcasing your unique passion and expertise.
3. What to share online?
Think of it this way, when you’re face to face with someone who is purchasing your services, you don’t spend your whole time bragging about what you do and how well you do it. When you’re talking to people online, it’s the same thing. A good rule of thumb to follow is to keep your self promotion to only 20% of what you share online, the other 80% should be focused on informing, connecting, and relating to the people you’re hoping to engage.
Being active on social media is all about keeping the conversation going beyond the interactions you have in person with your clients. When you share the kinds of things that you’d be excited to share in person, your social posts feel genuine and people naturally want to respond.
4. Set attainable goals and smart time limits
Social media is a bit of a dangerous beast in that it has a tendency to suck you in and take up way more of your time than you can realistically spare. It takes a serious amount of discipline to stay on task and not waste valuable time.
Set attainable daily and weekly goals for yourself, and stick to them. Decide how much time you’re going to spend creating unique content, answering questions, and engaging with others’ content. Then put your phone down. Set a timer if that helps, especially in the beginning.
Soloists in this day and age are fortunate to have this highly targeted marketing avenue at their disposal. With just a couple taps on your keyboard every day, you can create a virtual extension of yourself that your community of clients and other professionals can engage with whenever they’d like as well as share with their own network. And the best part of it all is that it’s free and incredibly entertaining to use!
Follow us on Medium and stay tuned for Part Two where we dive into how to take your social media presence to the next level.