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When we’re thinking of buying a product, we either go to e-commerce apps or see who is selling what on our Facebook pages or Instagram, sometimes even TikTok. Brands have learned to live on social media, providing all kinds of content that help them not just stay connected with customers but also connect at a deeper level and gain new clientele as well.
But when you’re a small business with limited budget and manpower, how are you supposed to maximize social media? If you’re a casual doom scroller, like myself, how can you use your time on Facebook or Instagram productively enough and make a profit?
To help us understand the basics of content creation for businesses, I spoke with Mica Gonzalez, a business coach and productivity strategist for business owners. Gonzalez helps businesses and content creators build a workflow for growing their communities, and here are some of the biggest tips she gave.
Growth takes time
Gonzalez is an advocate for respecting the hustle but not taking it too seriously. For her, growth is something you should nurture and not burn through. “The whole narrative of hustle culture, which [suggests] that if all your free time is not spent working, you’re not being productive. I was so tired of seeing that narrative. And the reason for that is because I definitely believe that hustle culture can promote burn out,” she said.
After all, a good strategy will take time to develop. Creating a strategy means forming a plan, knowing when it’s effective or not, and being flexible — all of which cannot be accomplished overnight or a week, possibly even a month. And as for starting that plan, her first recommendation is spending time getting to know your ideal customer.
Knowing where your audience is
It doesn’t always pay to be on all social media platforms, especially when you’re just starting out. So how do you know which one you should prioritize?
Gonzalez suggests interviewing or surveying some of your ideal clientele and finding out which social media platforms they check during their free time. “It makes no sense to invest in LinkedIn marketing if your audience is not on LinkedIn or it doesn’t make sense to go on TikTok if your audience [doesn’t] really use TikTok,” she shares.
Doing so narrows down which platforms you have to worry about, what kinds of posts you can share, and even how often you should be posting.
Posting regularly, but at your own pace
There’s always pressure for small business owners to constantly post as it’s easy to be forgotten on social media. It’s difficult to pinpoint how often you should be posting and at what times since users behave differently, but there are apps that can help you determine trends and when users are most likely to be active.
If you aren’t ready yet to invest in such technologies, the important thing according to Gonzalez is posting regularly, at the very least three times a week.
“There are conversations about posting more than once a day so then you can have more people get those posts. However, I know it’s not realistic for small and medium businesses,” she said. What you should try to achieve as you’re starting out is understanding what it is your audience is looking for, and you’ll have to post regularly to find that out.
And for a meaningful engagement with your audience, Gonzalez suggests content that brings value to you and your followers.
The value litmus test
“I have this litmus test that I recommend to people and just ask: 1) Is there value in this, and 2) will my audience specifically get value from this. And if you can answer yes to those two questions, then you can absolutely post it,” she explains.
Value, in the words of Gonzalez, can take many forms and isn’t always just about education. Followers can also benefit by gaining inspiration, ideas, and yes even entertainment!
“That’s why we see so many brands like Angkas for example, they’re very funny. They make funny posts because that’s entertaining, and that’s [valuable] for their people,” she added.
For example, if you’re a business selling scented candles, you don’t have to limit your posts with product photos. You can post about the process of making one, or home decor inspos, or even routines built around enjoying a scented candle. You also don’t have to limit yourself to one kind of media.
You can try photos, graphics, videos, even content that has your face on it. The point of this is to find out what resonates the most with your customers and followers, and use that as a starting point to sell your business.
That being said, it’s also good to know what your chosen platforms can or cannot do. Take Instagram for example. Even though it’s owned by Facebook, users can’t click on links placed on captions. A workaround is to put the link in your bio instead.
Simplify the process
Creating social media strategies is also often met with the temptation to use tools that supposedly help build and post content. And while Gonzalez herself subscribes to a few of these, her advice is to simplify the process by working with what you already know.
And when you’re at a point where you can invest money and time learning new tools or hire someone to do it for you, then that’s when you bring in things like schedulers, graphic design software, and more.
Gonzalez recommends that as business owners, you shouldn’t be spending too much time figuring out the complexities of social media. Instead, enjoy the process and enjoy connecting with customers. After all, it’s really the product that would matter in the end. Her suggestion is if you can do at the very least an hour each week to create a marketing and social media plan, then you’re good.
“Call it your ‘Marketing Mondays’,” she kids.
Make social media a better place
Over the years, studies have shown that being on social media can have adverse effects on people’s mental health, and that’s something Gonzalez is calling on everyone to fix. She firmly believes that if we are conscious of the things we put out to the world, then we can make it better for everyone.
“How can we provide value in a way that makes audiences love social media, love engaging with our businesses and brands instead of being just another reason why they think social media is the reason why they’re feeling anxious or depressed or something,” she says.
She brings this challenge back to value. As a business, if you’re able to build a significant following in the future, you’ll want to have a brand that uplifts and enriches.
Social media is essential for a business since this has become a major force in connecting with consumers. And so making it a place where everyone can be themselves can only help you make better profit even if indirectly. Doing so will also help you enjoy the different ways you can get to know your customers and bring value to their lives. – Rappler.com