In a world where (according to an Adweek study), over 90 percent of businesses say social media is crucial to their overall marketing strategies, solopreneurs arguably have the most to gain and lose via social networks.
Sure, those platforms often have a reputation for being total time-sinks or wastelands of marketing ROI. But savvy solopreneurs understand how to use platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to spread the word about their businesses. In many cases, these same solopreneurs are growing those businesses and bottom lines without spending a dime.
But, when you’re using social media to pursue networking opportunities or seal the deal with new customers, how do you know whether you’re using your time wisely or merely spinning your wheels?
Fear not. The following checklist is a guide for solopreneurs looking to pinpoint their social strategy and use their time on these platforms wisely, to build their investment in their business.
1. Pick a primary channel.
Simply put, you need to decide on a single social channel that’s going to command most of your attention. That’s not to say you can’t focus on both Facebook and Instagram, for example, but trying to be in multiple places at once will inevitably burn you out.
For many solopreneurs in the B2B space, Facebook is the number one channel to focus your efforts. There’s a good chance that your clients and customers are already connected to the platform in some way, shape or form, especially considering that users spend an average of 50 minutes on Facebook per day.
Niche businesses, however, are booming on Instagram, especially those within B2C industries such as fashion and beauty. Growing and monetizing Instagram followers is arguably easier than ever; meanwhile, Instagram has one of the highest average order values via ecommerce, at $65 per order.
When in doubt, you can pick your primary channel by answering one simple question: “Where are my clients and customers hanging out?” If there’s a clear answer, then you know where to start.
2. Don’t spread yourself too thin.
Despite popular belief, you don’t need to be active on each and every social site. In fact, there are no “must-have” networks for solopreneurs, truth be told.
But, think about it: There’s absolutely no way you can effectively manage a presence simultaneously on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn by yourself. If you try, you’ll neglect at least half of your social sites.
Solopreneurs have two options when it comes to attacking the various social channels available.
Pick a primary channel coupled with one or two secondary channels (for example, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn).
Focus on a primary channel while using a social automation solution to help push content and maintain a presence on secondary channels
For example, apps such as Buffer and Sprout Social allow solopreneurs to curate and queue content to their social network of choice without lifting a finger. While such solutions do require a monetary investment, they allow your brand to be in multiple places at once, so to speak.
3. Never stop networking.
The old adage, “Always be prospecting,” rings incredibly true for today’s solopreneurs on social media.
There are seemingly endless opportunities to connect with new clients, win over customers and share your business’s content all at once. Private Facebook groups based around your industry represent potential gold mines of new business. Likewise, sites such as LinkedIn put you on the same level as CEOs and industry bigwigs.
4. Position yourself as an influencer.
Oftentimes, making yourself heard via social media means playing the role of a bigwig yourself. By positioning yourself as an influencer, you grow your authority within your niche and make yourself more attractive to potential clients and customers. Some smart yet simple positioning strategies on social media include:
Thoughtfully responding to questions and comments on industry-related Facebook or LinkedIn groups
Republishing your own content to the various social channels, including LinkedIn’s own publishing platform
Regularly commenting on the updates of major players in your industry, showing that you’ve got the chops to be a bigger player yourself
Any combination of these strategies not only puts your name out there, but also publicly displays your commitment to your industry.
5. Look for opportunities to curate social proof.
Especially if you’re a new solopreneur, social media represents a great place to curate social proof on behalf of your business.
Ever leave a comment that got tons of positive feedback? Created pieces of content that just about went viral? Have clients who’ve given you a digital “thumbs up” or a public “thank you” via social?
If so, you can use such social proof as a way to seal the deal with future clients and customers. By highlighting your positive social experiences either on site or throughout your marketing materials, you can break down the trust barrier for any skeptics who may not think you’re the real deal.
6. Professional imagery goes a long way.
This point is crucial but so easy to ignore: Something as simple as your professional headshot can make all the difference when it comes to networking via social media.
If you want to be taken seriously, present yourself accordingly. Bathroom selfies and party pics aren’t going to cut it if you really want to make an impression on your audience.
7. Don’t let your profiles gather cobwebs.
Finally, don’t let your social presence fall to the wayside. Period.
Consistency is key to gaining followers and traction via social: The more you post, the more you will grow an audience that’s hungry for what you have to say.
On the flip side, if a certain channel is netting you absolutely no engagement, don’t be afraid to cut it loose for the sake of your time and energy.
Today’s solopreneurs are living and dying by their social presence. By sticking to this checklist, you can save yourself from scrambling for a social strategy and focus on what really matters: growing your business.
By Nathan Chan