I am not a planner. I claim to be type A, but that’s only so that I have an excuse for my compulsive vacuuming. I live in the moment, and tackle tasks as they knock on my door. I was the girl in the graphics lab at 3AM the morning of the senior show. I could probably make the highest hippie on the block break out into a nervous sweat with my ability to push it to the limit. This has worked for me most of my life, until it came to running a small business. At Dinos&Darlings, procrastinating meant lost sales and high stress. It meant Sunday afternoons stuck at a computer while my babies squealed gleefully from their swing set. It meant a sharp tongued mama incapable of patience because who has time for patience when there is no time?
I learned a hard lesson, or two, or three. In small business, strategy is crucial to many elements of success. Social media is one of these elements, and managing your social media management…can be, well, unmanageable. I mean just try to open your Facebook business page without first browsing a dozen funny cat memes or political rants. Not gonna happen. Here’s the thing, social media is one element of your small business that you CAN control. It does not need to happen in real time (excluding the occasional Facebook LIVE video). Customer service and employee relations are real time, high level priorities. Don’t let social media creep in and become a chaotic creature feeding off your brain-flipping, multi-tasking, ever changing small business badass way of life. Harness that beast and make it work for you.
If you ever want to wonder, “why am I here and what am I doing?” sign up for a few social media accounts. You will quickly be overwhelmed by all the brilliantly curated content of those with an obvious knack for virtual customer engagement. Here’s the thing, you’re a small business owner. You are not a social media manager, a public relations professional or a marketing specialist…or are you? So STOP. Stop it right now. I know what you’re doing. You’re looking at every other shop, restaurant and museum on Instagram while your inner self smugly whispers that you aren’t trying hard enough, staying up late enough or drinking enough caffeine infused beverages. Right hook that self doubt and put on your favorite “I got dis” graphic tee (cue Bel Boutique, they’ve got you covered). If you have the extra cash (is there any such thing in small business?) you can absolutely hire one of these social media savvy peeps to jump start your virtual brand, but I’m betting funds are tight and overhead is high (if you do want professional help, I might know someone…wink wink). So I’ve got good news for you. There are tools, strategies and methods to tame the madness. Stop making Facebook posts as you go. Stop spending hours searching for industry relevant quotes, articles and content to share in that moment. Stop running to the back office to share an upcoming sale on Instagram, or Twitter, or Snapchat, or snaptwitagram? You are going to start fresh.
Step 1: Stop aspiring for what other businesses have. You’ve got it already. You are unique and your customers know it. Now you need to translate your real life awesomeness into a virtual expression of your killer vibe and must have product.
Step 2: Decide who you want to reach. If your customers are on Facebook, then just start there. Stop thinking you need to do all the things all at once. Slow and steady wins the race, and I am no track star.
Step 3: Change your mindset. Stop telling yourself and everyone around you that social media isn’t beneficial to your business. Decide right now that it’s a tool at least worth having in your two car garage of a brain and put it to work. Treat it like your favorite wrench. If you let it sit and rust in the damp corner under a pile of lawn furniture cushions and gardening tools, it’s not going to work for you…at least not well. Own it, handle it and use it often for really fine tuned results. (see what I did there?)
Step 4: Follow along here and on Facebook and Instagram. I’ll be sharing everything I wish I knew when I was running around like a headless chicken at Dinos & Darlings. A comfortable chicken in yoga pants and a tunic that put on a really calm, cool & collected front…but a headless and aimless one at that; often times dangerously over caffeinated. Don’t be that chicken. You’ve got this.