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  • Writer's pictureMaria Alejandra Cova Terán

Why small business owners need to use Social Media - and why a strategy is crucial to your success!

Sharon: Hello, everyone, this is Sharon Heller with Network in Action, and I'm here today with Karen Albert from Behind Your Curtain. Hi, Karen.

Karen: Hi, Sharon. Great to be here.

Sharon: Thanks for joining me this morning.

Karen: My pleasure.

Sharon: So Karen is an expert on all things social media, which I'm going to give you some opportunities to talk about. One question that comes up often when I'm talking to small business owners is, do I really need to do social media? How would you respond to that question? Is it really important or is it really going to help my business?

Karen: Yeah, I get that question a lot as well, and, obviously, me being a social media coach and trainer, I think we all know what my answer is going to be, which is "yes, and definitely." But I'll kind of unpack that answer a little bit to help them really realize why it's important.

So one is, if we take a step back and recognize what's happening right now in this current day and time, is there are unprecedented amounts of individuals that are on social media right now. Facebook is reporting unprecedented usage simply because of the fact that people are still expected to stay home and limit their outdoor and socializing. And a lot of businesses have people that are still working from home, so it's such an incredible opportunity to consider, that you have these eyeballs that are now, even though we've always had eyeballs, but now we really have the eyeballs and these platforms are free. So not only do you have an opportunity to use these platforms to get in front of a demographic that is much higher than ever, there's no cost in using these particular tools.

But I will tell you that the majority of the time when business owners express their concern or frustration around social media, it's because they say, yeah, Karen you know I've tried it, and I just don't feel like I've seen any return on my efforts. I feel like I get in there and it's at times sucker. I've lost four hours that I'll never get back and I have nothing to show for it. And then they say I'm busy, I've got a business to run. And how in the world am I going to incorporate now adding social media on top of everything else that I have going on.

And I totally agree with all of that because the reason why they're probably experiencing that is because they're missing two things. One is, they don't have a strategy in place and they don't have the basic simple step by step instructions that they can follow, that keeps them guided, keeps them focused, so that they know how much time they should commit on a daily basis to their social media. And as a result of that, what they should expect from that checking off the daily-tasks list.

And I think this applies to pretty much anything in our life, we could just try it and see what happens, or we can actually get strategic and focused and feel like we can be a lot more proactive in our efforts than reactive, which is what we can definitely find ourselves doing when it comes to social media, is being very reactive, because the minute you log into something like Facebook, you're being given so much information that we are like, wait, do I like this? Should I comment? Am I supposed to share? Do I just keep scrolling? I mean, there's all these things that we are prompted to respond to and be reactive.

And so we're really sort of OK, I'm not going to look at that right now. I'm going to look at my tasks and I'm going to be proactive. And then if you want to spend time being reactive, then that's entirely up to you, but we have to sort of turn off that shiny object for a moment. And then the other reason why so many small business owners get frustrated with it is, they tell me I have a Twitter account and I don't know what in the world I'm supposed to tweet, and I've got a YouTube channel and I don't feel like I can produce enough videos, and I'm on this platform and that platform. So they feel the pressure of feeling like they have to be on every single platform and active on every social media platform, and I am never going to be the one that's going to tell you that you have to be on every single platform, because to me, that's just sort of an effort in futility. Let's put you on the platform that's going to get you in front of the demographic that has the highest demand for what it is that you have to offer. And that's really my job. That's why clients hire me, is to help them craft the strategy.

And the big part of the strategy is identifying the most appropriate and effective social media platform. Most of my clients, probably about 80 of my clients are real estate professionals, the majority are agents. I also do help lenders and people that kind of work in the real estate industry, but about 20% of my clients fall into all the other kind of buckets. But, if we kind of focus on the different platforms, when we look at who are you trying to attract, if you're telling me that you're wanting to attract individuals that are your sort of traditional consumer, the moms or the older people or the ones that especially for real estate agents, you know, if you're wanting the downsizer or the ones that are relocating or the first time home buyers or just consumers in general, Facebook and Instagram are probably the two platforms that we work on the most. I would have to say it like in the highest percentage if you tell me that you have a strong desire to put your brand and attract professionals, so if you want to work with accountants or lawyers or doctors, then we're going to make sure that we've got a LinkedIn in there as well. And not to say that LinkedIn wouldn't work blended in nicely with Facebook and Instagram, because there are ways that even though your ideal consumer that you want to attract, might be the moms and the dads and the families, but you can definitely leverage LinkedIn, to find other businesses that might already have a relationship with the consumer.

So you're using it more as a networking type of a tool, like a lead generating type of a tool working on that business to business relationship. Where YouTube comes into play is, there are two reasons why people go on to YouTube, either we want to learn how to do something or they want to be entertained, pumping out a bunch of videos that fall into either one of those categories. It's not bad to have a YouTube channel, you can use that as a repository for all of your videos, but just be realistic about what you should expect. It's not going to be a lead generating tool for you, it is so difficult to cut through all of the noise in the competition that's going on in YouTube to expect that to be a channel that's going to actually generate for you. Now, there are some very effective strategies that a lot of YouTube experts teach, that if you really wanted to take a deep dive and invest in putting together a whole strategy with landing pages, call to actions, email campaign, and all of that, it can work for you.

But I'm the let's get you a strategy that's going to help you spend this much time on it. So you actually see some return on your efforts and then you can go in your day and actually make some money. I'm all about to let's really take the deepest dive into the ones that are going to get you the biggest return on your efforts. So that's YouTube to me, is sort of yeah, you can have it and you can use it as a repository, but let's be realistic. And then when it comes to Twitter, it has really become more of an information source versus, one where you're going to show up in front, unless you are in sports or unless you want to connect with media, it's a predominantly male, dominant community, and unless you are really wanting to get in front of that particular demographic, or you just love Twitter and nuts, and you're on there as just something personally that you really appreciate. But again, it's all like, let's be realistic. Like, what are you really going to get as a result of that? It's so difficult now. I mean, maybe if you started in the beginning, and you're considered an influencer in the Twitter community, but now it's so challenging.

That's why I love Facebook and Instagram and LinkedIn. Those are probably the two primary ones that I am still able to generate some real results and returns for my clients and using those platforms. But it's all about having the strategy and that's like step one, we have to craft that strategy for you. So a big piece of that is knowing which platforms to focus on. And then the other big piece is who you want to attract as a result of. Because you've heard me speak before and you just cannot use social media to try and get in front of anybody and everybody, anybody who has a pulse is a big answer. The question is who's your ideal client? Especially for real estate agents and it's just not the way it works. You have to get really clear. Let's just focus on a very specific type of niche and let's really help you get in front of them, start to show up so that you can show up in search engine results. The algorithm is actually working for you and not against you, which is what happens when you're trying to be everything to everybody in using those platforms. And so that's a pretty long answer to that single question but I kind of sort of just unpack that a little bit because, yes, you should be on there. But let's just kind of explain why.

Sharon: It's great. That was great. Very thorough. And so let's say I have two platforms that I'm using and I'll say for myself, it's LinkedIn and Facebook, and I don't want to steal too many or trade secrets, but what are just a couple of things that I better be sure I'm doing every da to be able to have that momentum and actually some return there.

Karen: It all goes back to the understanding of who it is that you're wanting to attract. If we're looking at Facebook, for example, a majority of the time when you're wanting to attract someone on Facebook, that's going to be a potential consumer, one of the things that you definitely want to make sure that you're doing. There are two primary goals when you're using your Facebook business page is, (first) marketing to those that know about you, that's producing content that's going to add value, but it's produced in content that's going to add value to the consumer. We have a tendency of pushing our content on our page that's kind of all about us all day long.

Sharon: What we think they want.

Sharon: Exactly right, and then they get frustrated, because we're like nobody's responding, nobody's engaging and, it's like a tree falls in the woods kind of a scenario. So it really is about putting content out that is going to be of a greater interest to who you're trying to attract.

Karen: And then the second is marketing to those that don't know about what you yet. So how do you get in front of those that you want to attract but they just don't know about you? And the best way to do that is, again, going back to let's get really clear on the who and then figure out where do they hang out in Facebook, what are the business pages and private groups that cater to that demographic and then showing up in those pages and those groups as your business, not as you as the individual Facebook user, and showing up consistently so that you are commenting and engaging on those other posts that are being posted in the private groups and the business pages. And even if you go to business pages that have worked on creating the community that you also want to get in front of and engaging with who's commented on those posts, the chances are they're right in your niche. So we have a tendency of doing just sort of the first half.

Karen: We push a bunch of stuff out and then we sort of sit back and keep our fingers crossed and hope someone sees it. But another really powerful way is to make sure that you're also showing up in front, like go to their watering hole, like show up, it's not just about like let me just push stuff out and see what sticks. So those are two things you definitely want to be doing on a consistent basis on Facebook. And then on LinkedIn, it's not that different, quite honestly, because, again, you do want to be putting content out that's going to be relevant to who you're wanting to attract. But the attraction, the who you're wanting to attract might be a little different in LinkedIn, like I was saying earlier, if you let's say that the consumers really aren't professionals, then you want to find the other professionals that cater to your niche already. So for me, because I do work with a lot of realtors, I look to, obviously connecting with realtors there, but I also look to connecting with lenders and escrow and title, anybody that already has a relationship with the realtors and connecting with them on a consistent basis, "saying, hey, I see that we basically the support, the same type of customer. I love to learn more about your business" and, ultimately, hopefully, get it to a phone call, you can't do the coffee so much anymore. But that's another really great strategy of consistently putting the information out to those that know about you, but then also working to get more of those that don't know about you. So if you could kind of think about, you know, let me do some of these steps for those that I know about and then those that don't know about, if you can do that on a consistent basis, that's really where you'll start to see a shift in the effectiveness of what you're doing on a daily basis in those platforms.

Sharon: Great. Thank you so much. I always learn a lot every time I hear from you and just get reinspired to stay consistent.

Karen: I'm glad to hear that because you've heard me speak a lot.

Sharon: It's starting to work its way in. So, Karen, if somebody is ready to get some strategic help with social media or they want to learn more, what's a great way for them to reach out, get in touch with you?

Karen: Yeah. Thank you. So is my website and they can go on there and right on the homepage at the top, there's an opportunity for them to schedule a consultation call with me. So we chat. I learn a little bit about their business and kind of help them to get some clarity on things that they could be doing. And if they want to take it a step further and work with me one on one, I have a 30-day program all my clients go through and, pretty much go in and we kind of take their social media pages from zero to hero, basically. And it's all a part of the strategy. So we unpack that strategy, step one, and then we identify the best social media platforms for us.

Karen: My team then goes in and basically gives those social media platforms a complete facelift. So we'll make them look really good to the eyeballs looking at them. We feed the algorithm, they start to show up in search engine results, and then I teach them through weekly Zoome calls, how to use these strategically. Like a lot of what I was saying, like how do you find the other pages and how do you find the groups and how do you find the other professionals on LinkedIn?

Karen: But the analogy I like to use is let's clean the house before we invite the party, get over it. So you don't want to start just like, pulling back the curtain just yet. Let's let my team get in there and make it look really good and attractive. So when people do come to your social media pages, they're pretty impressed with what they see. And you're just sort of making it easier for them to make a decision about wanting to work with you. So is the best way for anybody to connect with me.

Sharon: Great. Thank you, Karen. And really, I have had firsthand experience of your 30 days facelift and know that the impact and the results from it, so highly recommend that some folks reach out to you. Thank you so much for your time today.

Karen: Always a pleasure. Thank you so much for the opportunity to speak with you.

Sharon: You're welcome.

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