Solopreneurs – Is Facebook Right for your Business?

Facebook Sign - should your nonprofit, ngo, or charitable organization be using Facebook?

If you are a solopreneur, or self-employed professional, you’ve probably considered using Facebook as a marketing tool. But is it the right tool for your business or professional practice?

Let’s start with the benefits of Facebook.

  1. Nearly everyone you know has a Facebook profile
  2. Nearly everyone you know uses Facebook daily
  3. It follows that every one that will use your services or buy your product is also on Facebook!

But does that automatically mean you should use Facebook for marketing?

Not necessarily!

Let’s dive a bit deeper. Why are people using Facebook, and what do they want and expect from this particular social media network?

  1. Communicating with family and friends
  2. Keeping up with what friends and family are doing
  3. Letting family and friends know what we are up to
  4. Managing events, inviting others to events, and responding to event invitations
  5. Entertainment; checking out interesting and/or humorous memes
  6. Watching videos
  7. Learning new things and keeping up with different kinds of news

While not completely inclusive, the above list is pretty representative. You’ll notice that only the last item on my list has any real relationship to the marketing objectives of most businesses.

We are facing a dilemma, aren’t we?

All of our potential clients are on Facebook, but most of them are not using it to learn about new products or services, or to network with business interests.

How to use Facebook to Maximum Effect

The most important aspect of using Facebook for business interests is to use the technology appropriately.

Do NOT use your personal Facebook profile for business purposes! That is a surefire way to alienate friends and family, while simultaneously over-sharing with business related contacts. Your family does not want to know more about your business than you share with them at dinner, and your business contacts and potential clients, would probably be happier if you spared them photographs of you, shirtless at the cottage with a beer in one hand and a case of empties at your feet!

Set up a Facebook Business Page!

In my humble opinion every business of every type should have a business page on Facebook. Even if we recognize that Facebook is not our ideal social media marketing platform, we should have a presence there. Essentially, Facebook has become a secondary website. Just as people expect that every serious business will have some sort of web site, people now expect that every serious business will have a Facebook business page.

A business page is strictly business. It is managed from your Facebook personal account, but is separate from it. Posts made to your business page can be set to be from you personally (which makes sense if you are your business), or from the page name, which makes sense if your business brand is not the same as your name.

It is not difficult to set up the business page, Facebook has instructions, and easy to follow prompts, for doing so. And professional help from people like me is also readily available.

You Have a Page – Now What?

Let’s start with the basic “must do” stuff. A header image, a logo image (or professional head shot). Descriptions of your products and services, and of course invitations to “Like” your page sent out to your personal Facebook contacts. Add a couple of interesting posts over the next few days, and you’re set to go.

The really big question now needs to be answered in earnest. How much effort, time, and money should you spend on an ongoing basis of your business’s Facebook presence?

This takes us back to the dilemma we talked about at the beginning of this article. And here is how we are going to resolve the dilemma. We will ask ourselves the following two questions:

  1. Who is my ideal client?
  2. Is my ideal client likely to be responsive to my business interests via Facebook?

The concept of an “ideal client” is fundamental to all marketing efforts, whether through traditional (predigital) channels, or through contemporary digital channels like social media. Once you have a profile of your ideal client, you can answer the second question.

In broad terms, if your ideal client is an individual consumer, it’s reasonable to expect that your Facebook page is going to be very important to reaching out to them. Facebook has built its social network around individual consumers. In fact, we as individuals, are Facebook’s “product”. Facebook users are the product that Facebook sells to advertisers.

On the other hand, if your ideal client is another business—you are a B2B enterprise, Facebook is less likely to be your social media platform of choice. Keep your business page active. Check in on it from time to time. Be especially responsive to any inquiries or posts made to it, but don’t spend hours of time or thousands of dollars promoting it. Your basic presence there will probably suffice.

Your “Ideal Client” is a Consumer on Facebook

Here is where things get interesting. Once you have a Facebook business page, you can hope and pray that people will find it. Fortunately, some people will. Mostly they’ll be your friends, family, and most active customers. That’s great. But it’s clearly not enough. Those are the people that you communicate regularly with in other forums.

For your Facebook business page to be really useful, you are going to need to reach out, and that is almost certainly going to involve an advertising spend. Sure, you’ve been told that social media marketing can be done for free, and that has been the case (besides your investment in time) right up to the completion of your page setup. But since your ideal client is using Facebook, you’re going to need to find a way to be seen by them.

Fortunately this is where Facebook’s business model really shines. Because Facebook users are Facebook’s product, and because Facebook knows nearly everything about every user, it becomes exceptionally easy to be extremely granular about who will see your Facebook ads. There is literally no other advertising platform that allows such precision targeting. Is your ideal client a 35 year old single woman who is looking to be a condominium in Toronto? No problem! Target your ad to female Facebook users between the ages of 32 and 39 who have interests in real estate, condos, lofts, and home decor. Is your ideal client a 21 year old who likes to listen to live music in Oshawa? No problem. Target your ad to 19 to 25 year olds, living within 20 km of Oshawa who like local bands and dance music.

Keep at it. Stay engaged. Build your like list. And, as always, offer something of value on your Facebook page. Once you’ve managed to bring someone to your page, it is vitally important to keep that person engaged. At the end of the day you want all the time, energy, and money that you’ve invested to translate into sales, and lasting, mutually beneficial business relationships.

Want to talk about this a bit more? Contact me!

Solopreneur? 4 Reasons to Manage your own Social Media

solopreneur working from home

Soloprenuers and other self-employed professionals, like real estate agents, b2b consultants, lawyers, accountants, dentists, and ADR professionals, often feel themselves to be in a bit of a bind when it comes to social media marketing management. It can be hard to find time for social media, not every entrepreneur feels like information technology is a core competency (or necessity), and on the other hand—hiring a marketing agency to manage Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc, can be quite expensive. Too often the end result is that the solopreneur simply forgoes social media completely, or dabbles lightly just to be there.

There is Another Way!

It is possible to have a successful social media marketing strategy that any solopreneur can self-manage. The key to this lies in choosing only the social media platforms that make the most sense for your particular circumstances, and then dedicating just a few minutes every day to those platforms.

Why do it Yourself?
Here are 4 good reasons that every solopreneur should manage their own social media marketing:

  1. The first and most important reason is an unquestionable truth. Only you can be you.
    Unlike larger businesses in which the brand is represented by multiple employees and multiple stakeholders, the brand of the solopreneur is represented by the individual human being behind the brand. This also holds true for people like lawyers and accountants who may be part of a partnership, and for people like real estate agents who are working on behalf of a brokerage. Social media are for social networking. People like to interact with other people when they participate in social networks. Solopreneurs have a unique advantage over even the largest brands in this regard, and working social media as a “real person” can deliver dividends that are simply unavailable to big, impersonal, brands.
  2. It is way less expensive to manage your own social media accounts than it is to hire a marketing agency.
    On the page of this site that talks about pricing, I cite an example of a smaller marketing agency and their fees, which are also compared to the fees of their competitors. Suffice to say that typical social media management fees run to several thousand dollars every month. Hiring an employee to manage social media (even part-time) is still going to cost thousands of dollars, on an ongoing basis. And, most importantly, outsourcing social media account management, effectively kills the number one advantage that the solopreneur has when it comes to social media networking. Only you can be you.
  3. Why use a fishing net when you can simply bait a hook? There is no need to waste time, money, and energy on platforms that are not likely to yield results.
    Big corporations and their big brands pretty much need to be everywhere all of the time. Solopreneurs only need to be where their customers are. There is no point to filling your sales funnel with leads to nowhere. Learn where your ideal customers spend their social media networking time, and join them there.
  4. Get closer to your clients. Building community with stakeholders is what social media is all about. Join your customers, and potential clients, and become an important part of their online communities. At the end of the day, networking through social media is not that different than networking in the “real world”. Offer helpful advice. Be ready with solutions to problems. Ask for input, or even for help. Always remember that the people at the other end of your keyboard, are real, flesh-and-blood human beings, just like you are.

self-employed woman working on a computer

Next Steps

Now that you know why you should manage your own social media marketing, what can you do next?

  1. Choose between 1 and 3 platforms, sign up, and start posting.
  2. Be interactive and responsive to comments and inquiries.
  3. Post anything that you believe your community will appreciate from you. That means that you should NOT post only advertising slogans and sales pitches. If you would not appreciate seeing something similar from someone trying to sell to you, don’t post it.
  4. Ask for help! If you are not sure how to get started, or what platforms make the most sense for you, get help from a professional like me who can get you moving in the right direction. Yes, professional services (like your own) have to be paid for. But as you know very well, the right kind of help, from the right professional, is worth every penny.

Contact Allan Revich

 

LinkedIn Jobseeking

Reviewing job seekers resumes at ye olde workplace

Are you job seeking, job hunting, searching for jobs? If so, then LinkedIn should be your new best friend. But there is a lot more to LinkedIn Jobseeking than just clicking on the “Jobs” link and searching for work in your desired field and location.

Start Early

What does “early” look like. Let me put it this way… if you are currently job seeking and unemployed, it’s already too late to start early. If that’s your situation, don’t despair, LinkedIn is still your friend, and we’ll catch up in a couple minutes. Using LinkedIn for job seeking should begin well before you actually need a new job.

For starters it is critically important that your profile is always up to date. Did you get a new position, or job title? Update your profile. Earn a new certificate or complete a work-related course? Update your profile.

Keep your connections current too. Did you meet someone new in the “real world”? Connect to them on LinkedIn. Are you connected to your friends and family? Connect. Colleagues (former and current)? Connect to them too.

Beyond keeping connections current, it’s important to keep current on what your connections are doing. Yes, most of the LinkedIn “anniversary” updates are annoying and useless… read them anyway! Look for opportunities to reconnect with those contacts. Consider these little contacts as part of your personal marketing strategy, just a little light tap or touch to let people know that you’re around and thinking about them. There is definitely no reason to respond or send congrats out for every one of these anniversaries, and announcements, but some are important (starting a new job, or new business, moving to a new city, etc.)

The critically important aspect of connection management on LinkedIn is that LinkedIn is a Social Network, and it isn’t social unless you are networking on it.

Networking for Job Search

Now that your profile is up to date, and your contacts are current, what can you do in the LinkedIn social network to actually find a job?

  1. Use your “Headline” wisely

    It’s right under your name on your LinkedIn profile. It’s the first thing people learn about you. Depending on your current situation, you might want to start with letting people know what you’re looking for. If that’s not appropriate (maybe you’re not ready for your current employer to know you’re looking elsewhere), the use this space to say something important about yourself that a potential employer might find attractive. Remember, this is not about stoking your ego, or impressing people with a fancy job title. Your goal is to put something here that a potential employer will find attractive. Let people know what you can do for them.

  2. Your work history is basically a resume

    Just like the resumes that you send out, employers and potential employers want to know what you have done and what you can offer. Let them know. The caveat here is you may want to go lighter on specific details than you would on an actual resume. Your goal here is marketing. Make sure employers are interested, AND interested enough to want to learn more about you. You don’t want people to make their hiring decisions based only upon what they see on LinkedIn.

  3. Work your network (part 1)

    Here is where the magic of LinkedIn really happens. Spend some time learning about your contacts. Do any of them work for employers that you would like to work for? Reach out to them! Ask them if they know of any positions that might be open, or are about to open up. Ask them who the decision makers are in their workplace. Let them know you would like to work with them. Ask them to let people in their workplace know that they have a friend interested in working there.

  4. Work your network (part 2)

    More LinkedIn magic. You can also network with your network’s network. How do you do that? Browse the connections of your own connections. Look for people that work for employers that you find interesting. Look for people who are experts in the field you want to work in. IMPORTANT: tact and tactfulness is required. Avoid being an annoying stranger. Instead, ask your own contacts for an introduction. Once introduced, be tactful again… unless the person you want to connect with and meet has indicated that they are actively seeking a new hire, it’s probably better to arrange for an information meeting. While very few people appreciate feeling ambushed by job seekers, nearly everyone loves the feeling of being respected for their opinions, views, and expertise. Remember; they already know that you are looking for a job,  make a good impression, show appreciation for their helpful information, and they will contact you if something becomes available somewhere – at their workplace or at someone else’s.

Ask for Help

Finding a job is hard work. It’s probably the most difficult job that any of us ever has to do. Don’t make it even harder by doing it all alone. This article shares some information about using LinkedIn to help with your job search. When you are a job seeker you should also use other resources – both online and offline.

Online, let your Facebook friends know that you are looking for a job. And while you’re on Facebook take a close look at your privacy settings and at your public posts and images. Make sure you don’t have anything there that a potential employer might find to be a deal-killer! If your profile is really wild, consider making it harder to find.

Offline, let your friends and family know that you are looking for work. Better still, ask some of them to review your resume and cover letters. Ask them to review your LinkedIn account. Be open to suggestions. What I’ve written here will be perfect for most job seekers, most of the time… but it might not be perfect for you.

Lastly, consider getting professional help. I offer my services at a steeply discounted rate, specifically for unemployed job seekers, and in addition to my expertise in using social media, I have a background (education AND experience) in career counselling.

Contact me to learn more

 

What About the LinkedIn Jobseeking App?

LinkedIn has a jobs app for mobile devices, and a jobs tab on it’s web site. Nearly every major employer now posts job openings on LinkedIn now. But just how useful is it for the typical jobseeker?

I’d rate it a solid “meh”.

Every job seeker should use it. It has a feature that for some job hunters could be described as “killer” (in the good sense). LinkedIn will tell you if any of your connections are working there. If that’s the case, it might bring you to the top of the list.

Unfortunately, the list might be pretty long. The success of LinkedIn’s foray into the job market has been a bigger boon to employers than to jobseekers. There can be hundreds of applicants for each position posted, making it exceptionally difficult for anyone without personal connections to stand out.

Obviously one should apply for every position that makes sense for them. But unless your application is the 1 in 300 that’s a perfect match (and it might be!), the best way to leverage LinkedIn is through your personal network.

LinkedIn Jobseeking Samples
(Apple iPhone App)

 

Sleep Country Marketing Job add from LinkedIn app
Marketing Position has more than 100 applicants in only 3 days.

 

LinkedIn advertised marketing position with more than 700 applicants in less than a week
LinkedIn advertised marketing position with more than 700 applicants.