Social Media 101 for Sole Proprietors

Social Media 101 for Sole Proprietors

We’ve recently had conversations with two different individual business owners. They were feeling intimidated by our suggestion that they should post more regularly and more often on their social media channels. We spent some time probing their initial reluctance to commit to a schedule. We heard their concerns about motivation and a lack of self-confidence about their writing skills. Eventually, we zeroed in on the real issue.

In both cases, these sole proprietors worried that they had nothing “important” to say. They felt insecure about their ability to “sell” their business in social media posts. They also felt that the demands of running their business precluded dedicating any time at all to social media posts. (This last point might have simply been a way to avoid addressing the first two points.)

Strategic social media posting is not a trivial matter.

To be effective, these posts should engage the reader on some level, either personal or professional. At the same time, we’ve all experienced being drawn into what initially appeared as a potentially interesting topic presentation, only to discover part way through that it was a barely concealed sales pitch for a product, service or event. Maybe the experience soured you on that author’s offerings. We’re less inclined to click-through the next time that person posts what looks like an interesting headline or topic.

In both cases, our advice was straightforward. Post about you.

Did you do or see something interesting today? Did you have a fun or challenging interaction with a customer or client? Are you planning a vacation sometime soon? Tried a new restaurant? Bought a new gadget? Stop thinking that your posts should be contenders for the Pulitzer Prize!

Both people have interesting personal histories. One is a seven-time world award-winning black belt karate instructor. The other is a former professional wrestler who now offers personal training to clients over 40 years. Since their personal stories are genuinely interesting, their stories are worth reading. But our point was simple. People do business with people they know and trust. Potential customers and clients aren’t going to get to know you if your social media posts sound like a canned sales pitch or advertising. Therefore, share the stories that make up your life. If necessary, preface the most personal posts with a NSFW flag!

Authenticity has become a buzzword.

What we’re advocating IS authenticity in how you present yourself to the world. Be yourself. Speak from the heart. Unclench. Write about what interests you. Most of all, don’t be so concerned about “the pitch.” Removing that stress will make it easier for you to get started. Because starting is where it starts!

As a result, this approach will show you online as a real person over time. Someone that people will want to do business with, because you’re real. Consequently, they begin to feel like they know you. Trust isn’t far behind.

Want to know more about how small business can start with social media marketing? Contact us. Conversations encouraged.