I have discussed with many business owners and entrepreneurs on how to incorporate social media into their businesses, but say that they either do not have the time, or they don’t know how to engage on social media.
Social media is simply an entry point for communication between individuals and businesses. You have to just BE YOU, get out there, and find your voice. Sure, there are some fundamental “rules” in place, but the bottom-line is that the more you get out and practice, the easier it is.
Find the platform that best fits your business. Although the platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Linked In, etc.) may have a slightly different audience avatar, if it seems too overwhelming to be visible on all, choose one or two that may suit your business and voice. For example, a company which produces an organic skincare line with a clean message and beautiful packaging may have more success using Instagram, because it is a more imagistic platform. For a business strategist, LinkedIn may be a more desirable alternative, as it allows users to connect to businesses as well as share and post informative articles.
It’s okay to be driven by the “Like” response. I recently spoke to a friend who is starting to venture out and explore which social media vehicle is the best fit for her business. She was so excited when another CEO liked and engaged with a post of hers. That feeling - the dopamine surge of connection because someone has noticed your thought, your share, or your message - is what drives you to continue to engage. Follow through on the urge to connect by thanking them, asking a question, or responding with a reply.
Avoid the "look at me" reaction. Although it is good to respond to the “like”, some may get caught up in the wave of engagement and can confuse connection with popularity. They begin to view feedback as more of a “pat on the back” so they respond and reply more and more frequently and may start to dominate a thread or discussion. Responding and replying simply to draw attention without adding much substance or content can be off-putting to those who are genuinely interested in you, or your business. Also, continually inserting yourself into conversations in which you were never, or are no longer involved lends to a sense of desperation and can make it look like you are trying too hard. Conversations should not be competitions!
Get comfortable putting yourself out there. Many people are nervous about sharing themselves on social media. The bottom line is that YOU decide what you want to share and what you don't want to share. A compromise may be establishing separate personal and professional accounts. A personal account with friends and family is a better place to communicate updates and content that is not directly related to your business. Additionally, accentuate your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. If the thought of being in front of a camera is stressful, don't do a live feed! A pre-recorded video or still pictures may just as effectively communicate your message. Someone with a more charismatic personality may thrive in front of the camera, but if you are not comfortable, it may show in the final content. In any case, get out there and market your business by showing up and sharing your passion on a more personal level.
Social media is constantly evolving, so there is no way to quantify a number of rules to be successful. Whatever you do, YOU have to be comfortable. One of the most important “rules” for social media is allowing YOU to shine through. Revisit why you started and why it is important for you to share this business or concept with others and broadcast it through the social media platform(s) that best fits your unique voice.
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Dr. Natalie Phillips is the founder and CEO of Connect4Excellence, a company dedicated to connect individuals and their businesses to their own mission and culture, to connect to others at events, to connect their own unique voice with a bigger audience, and to connect to give back. She is passionate about building deep relationships and authentic connections to help make a difference in the world together. She is committed to assisting both men and women to become more of who they are and to live out their brand. She believes in creating environments in which people can connect on different levels to help their businesses succeed.
Dr. Phillips is an Audiologist with Advanced Otolaryngology and Audiology in Fort Collins, Colorado. In addition to diagnosing and treating hearing loss, tinnitus, and balance disorders of the ear, she volunteers her time as a Global Hearing Ambassador to travel overseas with the Starkey Hearing Foundation, most recently to India, Peru, Guyana, and Mexico to deliver the gift of hearing and connect them to life by fitting hearing aids on people who are unable to afford the technology.
She is a founding sister of Women Unite, a group of women whose mission is to inspire, ignite, and assist other women achieve their potential in today’s professional setting. Dr. Phillips is a Global Ambassador Emeritus and served on the Legacy Project Steering Committee, as well as currently serves as Colorado Chapter Leader for Empowering A Billion Women by 2020, an initiative to provide the tools, technology, and resources to empower women as leaders and successful entrepreneurs.