This article first appeared at Found and Flourish.
If you’re a small business in 2021, I’m guessing you find at least half of your clients via social media. Even so, many entrepreneurs see content creation as a secondary priority, something they get to at the end of the day when they’ve finished their ‘real’ work. If you’ve got a solid strategy in place, your content can actually help you achieve your business goals, educating your ideal customers on what you do and pushing them through your funnel. Large corporations with big marketing departments can afford to channel time and money into paid advertising on Facebook or Instagram, but small business owners usually aren't in the same position. Having to wear every hat, from customer support, sales, research and development to HR, means that not much time is left for managing the company social media accounts.
Managing your social media yourself doesn’t have to take hours and hours. The most important thing is that your online presence is showcasing your business at its best, and you can ensure that’s the case by conducting an audit of your social media.
Donald Miller, author of content bible Building a Storybrand, kicks off his methodology with this quote:
“The human brain, no matter what region of the world it comes from, is drawn toward clarity and away from confusion.”
Essentially, we want your social media profiles to do exactly that - guide your customers in the direction of clarity, showing how your business can help them.
If you want to make sure your business is successfully showing up online, here’s how you can make sure your profiles are in tip-top condition.
Social media is primarily a visual experience, so low resolution images don’t cut it anymore. The first step to auditing your own social media profile - whether that’s LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest - is to take a step back and see how it looks to an outsider’s eye. Is your logo clearly identifiable? Are your brand colours obvious? If you’re a freelancer or someone who works for a company, the same rules apply. You still need to have a visually recognisable profile so that people can immediately tell that it’s you. The best way to start - if you haven’t already - is by choosing your brand colours. Don’t overthink it: pick two or three colours as your primary brand colours, and then a couple more to act as secondary colours. At BURO155, our brand colours are light pink and dark blue, and our secondary colours include lilac, peach and salmon. Found and Flourish is instantly recognisable for its pink and green combo, while members like Sara Dalrymple are identifiable through their use of a strong, bright colour scheme. The key to building your brand’s reputation across social media is to be consistent. Make sure your profile picture, background image, header image and even email signature are in your brand colours.
Tone of voice
If your business is just you and one or two others - or if you’re a freelancer - you might not have given much thought to your brand tone of voice. But again, consistency is key. Are you conversational? Do you talk to your audience as if they’re your peers? Perhaps you’re more formal, as tends to be the case with B2B businesses. And across your social media captions, what type of language do you use? Do you swear? Do you use emojis? If so, how often, and which emojis?
You might even want to choose one way of addressing people that you always use in your videos or email newsletters that’s instantly recognisable as ‘you’. Consider creating a one-pager for yourself (and anyone who might work with you in the future) outlining your tone of voice, words you do and don’t use, and when and how to use emojis.
It’s important to make sure your personality comes across in your brand tone of voice, and that you’re being authentic. A great example is FastForward Amy, a Belgian business coach who runs online courses for entrepreneurs. Amy is fiercely authentic and often throws in a sex joke, explicit language, or a reference to orgasms (it’s actually impressive how often she can mention the word ‘orgasm’ in her business podcast…). The reason for doing this? Because that's what Amy’s like, and she wants to attract her ideal customers.
There’s no point in appearing prim and proper in your social content, only for people to sign up to your course and be appalled by your language. So however you choose to show up, make sure it’s in line with the people you want to attract.
Arguably the most important part of any social media profile, your bio is your one shot at grabbing your audience’s attention and getting them to click onto your website, where you can convert them into paying customers. The easiest way to make sure you’re getting your message across in as little space as possible - every platform has a character limit - is to focus on your mission statement.
Chris Guillebeau, author of The $100 StartUp, provides this handy framework for crafting your mission statement:
“We help [customers] do/achieve/other verb [primary benefit].”
BURO155’s example is this:
“We help brands and entrepreneurs create results-driven content with minimum effort, and maximum results.”
Once you’ve picked your mission statement, test it out on some willing guinea pigs. Make sure you’re conveying your USP so that people know how you stand out from the crowd, and why they should hire you or buy from you.
Other things you could include in your bio:
Specific accolades or qualifications (PhD, RYT200, Forbes 30 Under 30)
Any notable clients you’ve worked with (Google, Nike)
Industry experience (12+ years in the fashion industry)
Press you’ve received (As seen in Forbes)
Your location, if it’s relevant (UK-made, Edinburgh-based)
Solidifying your message
It’s said that we only remember something we’ve seen or read once we’ve seen it 7 to 11 times. People are often worried that their audience will get bored of hearing the same catchphrases time and time again. But unless you keep telling people how you can help them, no one will remember.
I always ask my clients,
“have you been scrolling through LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter today?”.
The answer is invariably yes. I then ask them to tell me about 5 captions they read this morning. As yet, no one has actually been able to relay the contents of 5 captions they read.
So remember, the same thing is happening with your posts or tweets, and you need to keep driving home your message until it stays firmly in people’s minds. Make sure you’re using each social platform to the max: strategically curate your Stories and Highlights on Instagram, write LinkedIn articles, and push your content through Pinterest. Social media doesn’t have to be hard work - and the effort you put in comes back tenfold.