Most of the people I work with are entrepreneurs. They’re doing most (if not all) of the work their business requires on their own, they’re paying for everything out of pocket, and they’re usually trying to balance a home life and a day job while they get their business off the ground. For people like this, blogging and social media are a double-edged sword: they’re basically free, which works great with a bootstrap budget, but they can be extremely time consuming to do right. The key to making sure that these tools are working for you without burning you out is strategy.
Every social tool requires a slightly different approach, and each one reaches a slightly different audience. In order to make sure you’re getting the best return on your social investment, start by figuring out where your target audience is active, and then prioritize those tools.
For example, let’s say you’re an interior decorator looking for new clients in Orange County, CA. You’ve determined that your target audience is mainly women with a household income of over $200,000/year. You’re building your business from scratch while you juggle raising your kids and clocking in to a part-time job that’s paying the bills while you’re ramping up, so you don’t have a ton of time for social media, but you also don’t have the budget for paid advertising. You need a STRATEGY.
How do you find out where your target audience is active? You can look at recent research, you can ask the people you know who fall into your target group, or you can look for people in the media who are representative of your group and see what they’re doing.
Since the group I’m using in this sample is basically The Real Housewives of Orange County, I started by looking at the RHoOC page on Bravo’s website, and went from there to each of the current cast members’ websites. They’re all active on Facebook and Twitter, and several are active on Pinterest. These three sites are consistent with what the latest research says about social media use by women in my target range.
Once you have a lead on where your targets are active, you can start figuring out your strategy. If you’re working with me, I’ll always direct you to have a solid website first, and probably steer you into a blog tailored to your goals next, so let’s imagine that’s where you’re getting started. Once you’re up and running with the site and blog, setting up your Facebook Page and Twitter and Pinterest accounts would be next. And then it’s time to create an editorial calendar and sign up for HootSuite to help you create and stay on top of a schedule for posting.
It can be so tempting to sign up for every social media tool and to try to be active everywhere online, but for most of us that just isn’t realistic. And there’s no benefit to you in creating profiles you won’t be using. In fact, stale or abandoned profiles might work against you! In order to make your social media efforts sustainable, you need to prioritize the tools that will give you the biggest bang for your buck and schedule your efforts in a way you’ll be able to stay on top of. And if you need help, I’m always here!