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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Now that you know why you should manage your own social media marketing, what can you do next?
- Choose between 1 and 3 platforms, sign up, and start posting.
- Be interactive and responsive to comments and inquiries.
- 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.
- 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
I suspect that if you are reading this post, you’ve begun researching this question. I also suspect you may be pretty confused by now at the range of prices you’ve seen!
Setting up, and maintaining a blog can literally cost zero dollars. I’ve also seen articles by very reputable organizations, that suggest you need to spend about $20,000 a MONTH if you’re serious about blogging. Do not panic. The blogs that I set up will not cost you anywhere near that amount. Nevertheless, I’ll start with something you probably already know, but I’d like to reinforce it.
Setting up a blog is like any other business cost, you generally get what you pay for.
OK, but what should you pay for?
That my friends is the right question! The short answer is, you should pay for no more, and no less, than you need, and you should pay as much as you can afford to while maximizing the value you get for every dollar (and hour) you spend.
To make a bit more sense of that statement, I’m going to make some assumptions, that I’ll lay out now.
- I’m going to assume that you are either a self-employed “solopreneur“, or an entrepreneur with a small staff.
- I’m going to assume that you are not reading this as a representative of a bigger organization, with say, 60 or more employees. If you are, you have bigger marketing issues than I can help you with. Please hire a marketing manager.
You run your own business. You need to get the most for every dollar you spend on it to make your business successful. Social Media and Blogging are excellent marketing tools for smaller businesses because they offer incredible value. In fact, if your business is still in its very early stages, and you have a lot more time than money, you really can get going without spending any money at all. You will however, need to spend a lot of time learning skills that are not relevant to your business. So what are your options?
- Free blog hosting and super-easy setup at WordPress.com, or on Blogger
First of all, you’re a business person, wise in the ways of the world, right? Free is never free! Setting up your professional blog presence on a free service means your precious blog will be running ads for someone else’s business. The hosting company keeps all the ad revenue, and the advertisement algorithms are probably going to put ads for your competitors on YOUR blog. It doesn’t look professional. It isn’t smart. Don’t do it.
- Low cost blog hosting, using your own Domain name (YourBusinessName.com)
This means taking a totally hands-on DIY approach, and setting up your blog on a reputable shared hosting service like 1and1.com / 1and1.ca, GoDaddy, or BlueHost. This can actually be a pretty good option. It’s the option that I myself use! There is no reason that you can’t do it too. Your monthly costs can be well under $20. Should you go this route? Absolutely, but only if you are very comfortable with the “back end” of the Internet, and understand what web hosting involves. If anything in the previous sentence is even slightly confusing, DIY is probably not for you.
- Your Nephew Frank
You may have a friendly relative that blogs about his fishing trips or her collection of antique costume jewellery. Said relative may offer to set you up with a blog for a few hundred dollars. If you are very, very, lucky, and your relative is a professional blogger with a track record and a nice portfolio, then go for it. Otherwise, think back to what I said early on in this post. You usually get what you pay for. If you take your business seriously, your blog had better make that fact blatantly obvious. Nephew Frank is probably not going to cut it. Sorry Frank.
- Hire an Ad Agency or Marketing Firm
This is a great option. A large or medium sized marketing firm will have a fair sized roster of clients with excellent, visually attractive websites and blogs, with fabulous functionality. A larger firm will have a decent sized staff of professionals that specialize in all of the different aspects blog and social media marketing. Unfortunately, all of this professional service staff costs a lot of money to feed and maintain. The only way the agency can pay for those fancy digs, and fancy young professionals, is by making you pay pay for it all. If your company is big enough to afford a $50,000 Website and $10,000 to $25,000 a month to keep it going, by all means go for it. You will get a great website, an excellent, professional blog, full social media integration, marketing help, advertising support, and all the bells and whistles you deserve for that kind of money. This site offers an honest view of the costs involved in going “all in” on a blog.
- Hire a Professional Blog Builder
Yes, this is where I come in. A blogging specialist can do all the technical chores for you, so that when you’re ready to actually use your blog and start writing articles for it, that’s all you’ll have to worry about. My basic startup package is extremely affordable. For a very low fee (ask me about it) I will register a Domain Name for your blog, get it hosted by one of the world’s leading web hosting companies, set up your blog, create the initial “mandatory” pages (Home, About, Contact, Privacy) and even write an introductory blog post! I’ll also secure your blog against comment spam, and connect it to your Twitter feed for you. I also include full training and support for your first month!My basic package includes all the options you need for a professional looking, highly functional blog that you will be proud to have your clients and potential customers visit. If you want more than “basic” but you’re not ready to use a larger firm we can discuss other options, like purchasing specialized WordPress Themes, adding more pages, high-traffic hosting options,etc. I’m a solopreneur myself. I get you. Let’s Talk.
Since this article was originally posted, I’ve received several inquiries from people asking what I charge to set up a blog. I have three options available to new bloggers:
- Basic Blog Package
- Deluxe Blog Package
- Custom Blog Package
As a solopreneur (solo + entrepreneur = solopreneur), you know that your business success depends a lot on your marketing. And by now you’re probably aware that social media offers a great way to market your services. Except that, as a solopreneur, you’re too freaking busy working on your business to actually find to time to market it online!
So, whatcha gonna do?
Social media marketing works well only when it is done consistently. This simple fact presents a dilemma to the typical self-employed professional or entrepreneur.
When business is good, you don’t have time for “extra” marketing work, and when business is slow, it’s already late in the game to launch an online marketing campaign.
There is a way out of the dilemma—social media marketing takes time and effort, but not very much of either.
- Decide that marketing your business is worth some effort
- Decide that social media is a cost effective way to market yourself
- Choose ONLY the one or two social media platforms that offer you the best ROI
- Schedule a regular time every every day for social media marketing
- Stick to your schedule like it’s nailed to your forehead!
How much time do you actually need?
Here is the beautiful thing about social media marketing. Once you’ve committed to the five principles above, it really only requires about 10 minutes a day!
That’s right. Once you are consistently on top of the best social media platforms for your business product or service, it’s just a simple matter of checking in, communicating, and checking out.
What social media platforms are right for your business?
For a good explanation of the advantages and disadvantages of various platforms, read my previous blog post. But, in a nutshell:
- Every solopreneur should be on Twitter.
- Every B2B service should be on LinkedIn.
- Every B2C business should have a Facebook page.
- Blogging is perhaps the most effective inbound marketing tool for solopreneurs, but it requires a bit more time and effort.
Want to learn more? Would you like some help getting started?
EDIT: January 2017
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