DON'T THROW IN THE TOWEL!
Growing your business alone, online or in a different way you would normally, can be challenging, deflating and discouraging. It can easily knock you off your feet and make you question whether you should be giving up on your business — wondering whether achieving your dream is even possible.
Feeling this fear in your business? Trust me, you are not alone. We are all feeling your pain and so have thousands of others who are now successful entrepreneurs, sole traders, and small business owners.
You are taking a huge step in the right direction just by reading this blog, looking for answers and ideas to do things differently.
We've put together a few quick tips to help you get up when you feel like giving up. Putting even a couple of these into practice will help you get your “A-game” on.
Your Digital Footprint Builds Brand & Trust When Done Right
Social media and digital space present a unique opportunity to connect and build trust with your customers. Whether you are promoting a new product or sharing the coolest home office, what customers see online gives other companies and potential customers a way to interact like never before.
The biggest mistake people make is establishing a presence and not updating it regularly once you have it all set up. For many customers or potential customers, this looks worse than not having a presence at all.
Not staying current online shows customers that you may not be current in your business either, like your inventory or customer service. If you can’t update a Facebook page, why should your customers believe that you’re on top of your game anywhere else?
2. Are You On The Right Platform?
In reality, would a plumbing business use LinkedIn to target new customers? I would suggest not. Just because a social network is available, it doesn’t mean that your business needs to be on it. The main point is not to post just to post something, especially if no one is going to listen to you.
Additionally, posting content in the wrong medium just makes you look desperate. Find out what networks work best for your industry and business, focus on those instead of trying to be everywhere. Ensure your posts are relevant to the platform, what works on Instagram should not be exactly the same as your Facebook post.
3. Know What You’re Doing
Once you’ve decided which networks to focus on and have committed to posting regularly, make sure your content is relevant and well structured. Just because you share photos of your grandson or complain about your local politicians on your personal Facebook page, doesn’t mean that you should be doing it on your business page or Twitter profile.
Focus on providing content that is of genuine interest and relevance to your target customers. If you are a plumber, focus on posting and writing content about plumbing maintenance, dream bathrooms, problem-solving or quirky tapware. Announcements about seasonal specials, trading hour changes, or introduce new employees, especially if that person is someone a new customer would interact with directly.
A great guide is to post 60-70% industry-related news and content, and 40-30% personalized content, like company updates, events, team culture or employee birthdays. Customers like feeling informed on the companies they connect with on social media and know they can trust them. Trust is built through sharing a bit of personal information that showcases how your company works and operates.
4. Respond and Engage
Just posting content doesn't cut it! Ensure you are engaging with your followers, responding to comments, questions, and posts from your users that are trying to interact with you.
Just as not posting at all has a negative connotation, not responding to users trying to talk to you is just as negative. Prioritise the task of checking for comments and questions at least once a day, depending on how large your audience is and how active your community is. Respond to all, positive and negative, it's how you respond that makes the difference.
5. Make It Worth Your While
Social media is there for you to build, interact with your target audience — take advantage of it! Ask your community for their opinions of your business products, policies, and services.
Listen to what they have to say. Many companies regularly get better feedback through social media than they ever could through a focus group.
6. Connect With The Like-Minded.
It’s pretty hard to encourage yourself when you’re in the midst of massive anxiety and frustration. Just because you are working from home doesn't mean you are in solitary confinement. Don't operate your business as an island.
Find a mastermind group or online group where you regularly interact with like-minded or companion businesses.
Join a local online networking group where you can build relationships with other business owners.
Reach out to a colleague and ask them to be your accountability partner. Choose someone who is on the same page and successful in their online business space right now.
Promote each others' businesses online and talk about them. For example, a plumber may partner with and promote a supply store, builder or bathroom designer.
7. Evaluate Your Tools.
When rock climbing you have to have the proper equipment to have a successful climb. A clothesline rope does not qualify as proper equipment. You may be able to hang clothes with it, but you wouldn’t depend on it to stop you from falling off a cliff.
If the business is slow, you may want to evaluate what software and equipment you use in your marketing toolbox, or consider hiring someone who does. Don’t overlook the importance of having the right marketing tools. You can watch your business grow much faster if you use the right tool for the right job. A plumber doesn't use a screwdriver to fix a pipe right, so why would you use the wrong tools for your marketing?
These are some of the critical tools every business should be equipped with.
A computer or laptop, not everything appears as it should on a mobile phone.
Database management software
A basic website gives your business authenticity
Email marketing/responder tool
Appropriate social media site/s
Insights and analytics - You really need to see what actually works for you.
Don’t worry about the storm. Worry about having a good anchor.
Falling or plateaued numbers might be the storm in your business. Having a good anchor will help you to ease worrying about it.
When I am rock-climbing I don’t worry about falling because I know I am anchored to my belayer who also happens to be my best friend. Not only is she my safety net; she’s also my guide, coaching me through my next steps. I'm so close to the rock, I can't really see what step I should take next. My belayer can see the bigger picture from where she is standing. Plus, she’s climbed that face before, so she knows the easiest path to reach the top and also where the pitfalls are.
Do you have a belay buddy for your business?
Who is your safety net?
Who is guiding your next step when your nose is too close to see the opportunities?
Question: What pointers can you share with others to encourage and promote?
Question: How many complimentary businesses do you share with your followers?