When the hype of social media started and my kids had their head buried in Facebook and could not imagine living without it, I will admit I really did not get it or understand the draw. I used LinkedIn but it wasn't the platform then what it was today and I think when I first joined I had just been laid off from a job and was using it mainly for that purpose. I then had one of my kids convince me I should create a personal Facebook page - and then I was hooked. I reconnected with High School and University friends I had not talked to in years, as well as friends from childhood from a camp I went to as a kid. We are now a bunch of baby boomers and a bit younger with a group on Facebook and have 4 decades of people using this site to talk and reminisce about a favourite childhood time and place along with keeping in touch.
I started my business three years ago and though I was an avid Facebook personal user and learned the importance of using LinkedIn for Networking, I still was not sure about using social media for my business. As I began networking with others who had small businesses, I kept an eye on what they were doing from a social standpoint for their business. I then broke down. I created a business Facebook page, business LinkedIn page, a Twitter account and a created a blog on WordPress. It was slow, but over time I actually started to like and enjoy adding information and sharing it. There were times that I got busy and became disenchanted because I told myself that I was going to write a blog article a week, and I was going to Tweet every day. That worked well until such time I started getting my first clients and I let the social media fall by the way side more and more which was a mistake.
As time went on and I started developing more content, I moved my website and started looking at ways to increase traffic. I started investigating other social platforms such as Quora and Pinterest and trying to decide what to make of the sites and whether there was real value in using them. In the last year, I would say I would say I have become a real fan of social media and understand how to make it work for my business. It no longer was a chore of something I "should do" but is now something I enjoy and have made work for my business. I even have a Google+ page, but time will tell if it becomes one that I focus.
I had a colleague from the U.S. that I did some work with years ago send me a note the other day. She said she noticed that I was active on LinkedIn and wondered if any of my social media activity had paid off. The fact is that is has and have embraced it completely and I am a believer. I set aside a bit of time each morning that I am not out of the house first thing and I look at all of the sites I have bookmarked on subjects that are relevant to small business owners and do a bit of reading, I also look at my followers on the different sites and what they have shared, liked, or tweeted and see what is interesting and relevant. As a consultant and coach, I find it important to let people see what expertise I have, so I actually enjoy participating in some groups and answering questions and especially like Quora which is focused on questions.
In the last year when I have truly focused on social media as a tool for my business versus a hobby. I am not at a point I can say this client came from social media and put a ROI on the time spent, but in the six months I have more than doubled my traffic on my website. Outside of my Organic traffic from search engines, social media is the number ONE referral of traffic to my website, where I am not getting more and more leads. I have to say that social media is NOT a waste of time for my business.
Here are things to keep in mind when deciding on using social media in your business.
RK Fischer & Associates