Today I went to a social media marketing workshop led by Sarah D. Benoit sponsored by the Western Women’s Business Center and Carolina Small Business Development Fund. If you’re like me, working to grow a small business, probably the last thing you want to do is add one more thing to your to-do list. I certainly heard that from many of today’s participants. There was a lot of "I don’t want to do this.” “Why can’t we go back to the good old days?” “I don’t understand it.” “What am I supposed to say?”
Like it or not we can’t go back. Specific social media platforms may come and go (MySpace anyone? ) but it’s the village square now and if you want people to find and hopefully utilize your products and services, you’ve got to show up. Because I work with small businesses and have a lot of friends who are artists and entrepreneurs I know this is a struggle. But what if it didn’t have to be ? What if we could find a way to make marketing fun? Impossible you say? I’m not so sure.
Let’s try a little re-framing exercise. Have you ever worked on a project or seen a piece of art or eaten a meal or heard music that you adored? That you just wanted everyone else to experience? That you couldn’t wait to tell people about? What if we could harness that kind of natural enthusiasm about our own work life and share that with the people around us? I’m not talking about the “Hey here’s a picture of my really cute dog” or “I’m so mad at the political scene” kind of sharing which dominates my personal Facebook feed. We’re talking about marketing a business after all. But that doesn’t mean that your business social media stream has to turn into a used car lot- constantly hawking your wares. In fact, if you primarily use it for that kind of self promotion, it’s likely that no one is going to tune in at all.
If you are doing work you love or offering a service or product that you passionately believe in, why not share a piece of that passion? It doesn’t have to be a long post like this one. (Whoops.) But it has to be authentic. Maybe it’s a link to a great podcast you heard, or a memorable experience you had with a client, or a snapshot of a work in progress. I’m going to start thinking of it as the work story I might share with a friend at the bar, after a long and productive day. In his book Show Your Work Austin Kleon lists lots of fun ways to share what you do. And like Sarah D. Benoit, Kleon dispels the myth about using social media to sell things. What we’re really doing is creating community. Stepping away from our desks to stretch our legs in the village square, stopping by the community well to get a sip of water, and having a chat with whoever we see there. Just checking in and telling them what’s going on.
Sarah H Benoit shares her social media smarts.