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How Entrepreneurs Should Use Social Media

Be selective and intentional

When I launched the Indie Business Network in 2000, there was no social media. The first YouTube video was not published until 2005, Twitter launched in 2006, and Instagram didn’t come along until 2010. During those years, it was easy to use social media, not only because there were so few outlets, but also because I could add them on, one at a time.

By contrast, when you start a business today, you are immediately overwhelmed because you are looking squarely in the face of dozens of social media options.

No one can keep up with all of them, yet time after time, I see people trying. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work.

Here is what to do instead.

1. Get to Know Your Target Audience

The first thing you need to do is get to know your target audience. You need to do this anyway in order to serve them well. Getting to know their likes and dislikes — really getting inside their heads as deeply as possible — will equip you to understand them.

This is the first step to a solid business — knowing who you serve and what they want from you. Once you know that, you can then take a look at the different social media outlet options you have, and make a wise decision about which one to use.

New entrepreneurs must be especially careful with social media. Here are some tips to help you be selective and intentional, so you can get results. Click To Tweet

2. Select their Favorite Social Media Outlet

Once you know your target audience well, you can focus on finding them at their favorite social media outlet.

To some extent, you will find your target customers on all social media outlets, but as you listen and observe, you will discover that they tend to congregate, more or less, in one of a few places.

That’s a clue. That’s where you want to be.

3. Focus on Engaging With Them There Where They Are

The target audience of Makers and Handmade Entrepreneurs that Indie Business Network serves tends to spend more time on Instagram than anywhere else, though of course, they are also on Facebook and Pinterest. But when they are doing business, they are largely on Instagram, and since IBN serves them from a business perspective, Instagram is where IBN focuses a lot of its social media outreach efforts. You can see what I mean here.

Is IBN on other platforms? Yes, IBN has a presence on all of the major social media platforms including YouTube and Facebook, and we push some of our Instagram posts through to IBN’s Facebook page. IBN also maintains a private Facebook group for members, but that’s not really a social media platform. It’s a networking and learning platform, which is different.

While IBN maintains social media accounts outside of Instagram, its outreach efforts are not intensely focused on those venues, and focus makes all the difference in the world.

It is this single-minded focus that has allowed IBN to organically build an engaged following of fun-loving people. It’s a nice mix of IBN’s members, prospective members, and the occasional consumer who is intrigued by the products displayed on the feed.

Don’t diffuse your efforts; harness them

When you point diffused light toward a wall, the light beams splash all over it. The beams are diffused. They take up a lot of space on the wall, and their overall strength is weakened.

But when you point a concentrated laser beam of light toward a wall, all of the energy is harnessed to one focal point. It is so potent that it can put a hole through the wall.

Think of your social media efforts in this way.

Would you rather sprinkle a little light on your target audience every now and then, or hit them between the eyes?

You decide …

Summary

Social media is a very powerful tool, and less is definitely more.

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