5 Social Media Fears & How To Beat Them
We all have them. But we can all get over them.
Social Media Fears are real. When we speak to some small business owners about social media, there’s a specific kind of tone they adopt—a combination of resignation, resentment and quiet panic. We hear the same types of protests: “I don’t have enough time,” “I don’t know what to say,” or “I don’t think it’s important in my industry.”
The truth is, you really can’t get away with not being on social media anymore. There are some 2.3 billion active users on social media across a variety of platforms. In today’s world, you stay away from social media at your own risk.
A small business owner I’m friends with recently closed her Facebook page. Immediately, a few customers assumed the business had closed! She re-opened the page. In this world it seems that if you are not on social, you may not even exist.
But, don’t worry. It’s easier than you think. We’re here to assuage your social media fears, to get you started and thriving with less time and effort than you think.
Fear 1: “I’m not cool enough to attract followers.”
Tip: You do you.
From the outside, social media can appear as an in-crowd, jargon-filled, exclusive club. But once you dive in, you realize that the appearance is false. Anyone can succeed on social media if they are willing to give it a go. The important thing is to not pretend you’re someone else. Be honest with where you are and what you know. Share your expertise – people will always be happy you are contributing to the conversation. Listen to what others are saying and to what they care about. Talk about what you don’t know, too: if you pose honest questions, you’ll get honest responses and you’ll both connect with others in your field and learn something!
Fear 2: “I don’t have the time! It will take over my life.”
Tip: Rather than being constant, be consistent.
Inviting social media into your life can be like letting water into your house. If it’s out of control, then it’s the very worst thing you can have in your home (flooding, leaks, water damage, etc). But if it’s contained, then it’s very useful: running water, a big fish tank, steam radiators, a hot water heater.
Just like water in your home: contain your social media use. Dedicate 18 minutes per day. Or 30, or 45. Set a timer and stop after the allotted time. Be clear about how you are using the time. The most important part is to be consistent: 10 minutes everyday is far better than one hour per week.
Fear 3: “What if we get public complaints about our business?”
Tip: Bad responses are always a good opportunity.
As the old saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad publicity. It’s true: if you open yourself up to a public platform like Facebook or Twitter you will eventually have some negative comments. Think of them as an opportunity to show your true colors. If someone has been inadvertently wronged then it’s simple to correct the situation. If they are being unreasonable, then it is enough to express your sincere apologies.
Before you get started, do some brainstorming about what kind of problems you may be presented with so you can think through the outcomes and prepare for your reaction to people’s problems in advance. Otherwise your emotions may get the best of you, and that’s when you could do something you’d later regret.
Fear 4: “No one will care.”
Tip: Be patient and fascinating and your followers will come.
In the world of social media there is no such thing as a boring business. In fact, social media has been a great outlet for the creativity of plumbers, carpenters, supply chain companies, industrial machinery companies, financial managers, insurance agents, and more. Check out some of the “boring” companies who are clearly winning at social media. The trick is to start with what is unique and interesting about your business: maybe it’s the people, or the vision, or the fact that everyone needs it, or the integral role that you play in a larger whole. Whatever it is, people will be happy to hear your perspective if you share it in an open and captivating way.
Fear 5: “People will try to steal my clients or my employees.”
Tip: Social media will actually help you retain them.
In a competitive market, businesses are always looking to take market share and attract great employees. One of the ways that they do this is through social media. Clients feel connected to the business through social media – they get to know the people and the “other side” of the company through what they share on social media. Additionally, more and more employees use social media to make decisions about which companies they would like to work for. If your business doesn’t have a social media presence then you may be risking losing your best employees who feel they don’t have an outlet to express themselves or the company publicly. In fact, many younger employees said in a recent study that they wouldn’t work for a business that didn’t embrace social. At any rate, social media is a great way of attracting and retaining both clients and employees. The biggest risk is to not engage on social media at all.
Let’s Get Started!
While social media should be approached with care and intelligence, it simply cannot be ignored anymore. So start up that Facebook page or that Twitter account, or that LinkedIn page and tell us your success stories! We’ll be happy to see you out there.