Social media has changed a great deal over the past few years, and sometimes keeping up with all the changes get overwhelming especially if you are involved in social media part-time. Admittedly, from what I’ve gathered, many entrepreneurs are still not convinced about the importance of social media for their businesses, which can potentially be detrimental to their success based on current trends. Recently, I came across a quote on Instagram which says, “In the 21st century, there will be only two types of businesses, those that embrace digital and social media and those that cease to exist.” Social media has gone beyond being a simple tool to boost businesses online. You can now conceive an idea, do all the research, and launch a business using your computer while sitting on your couch through social media, and my aim with this article is to show you how to do so.
Finding your Business Idea
If you are interested in getting into business but frustrated because you can’t seem to find a feasible business idea that people will pay for, you can now relax. Presently, many social media platforms you can scroll through to get inspiration exist.
Additionally, you can also use Facebook and Twitter searches, which I will talk more about in the market research section, to find out what’s going on in the industry you want to enter.
After you come up with your brilliant business idea, you should do some research to determine your business idea’s potential viability, if a market exists, or to find information about your target market. Also, to help with your research, you can buy Pat Flynn’s new book “Will It Fly” or utilize the different social media platforms.
Facebook Graph Search
Once you validate your idea, start putting a business plan together. The business plan will be the blueprint to guide your entrepreneurial venture from its conception and as it grows. Unfortunately, many people get so caught up creating the business plan that they never start their business. Therefore, to avoid overthinking the plan, it is best advised to just draft the basics of what you want to do. Take a look at areas like the people that will be involved, where you will get the funding for the business if need be, your financial management and so on. Afterward, create a marketing plan then launch.
Your Marketing Plan
Making a social media marketing plan is not as difficult as many people may think. Firstly, create your social media objectives and goals that are in line with your business’ overall objectives. Your goals need to be SMART- Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Next, perform a social media audit on all your social media profiles to determine what is or isn’t working. During the audit, look at the number of followers, their engagement, who currently runs the social media profiles, what purposes the different social media platforms are serving among others. Being on every platform may be unnecessary, so choose the ones that are relevant to your current and potential customers. You should then look at blogs like Social Media Examiner, Boom Social, Hootsuite Blog for inspiration then create your editorial and content calendars. Also, it is important that you regularly perform audits because social media changes like the weather.
Launching Your Business/Product
After performing the aforementioned tasks, you are now ready to launch your product, and social media is definitely becoming more vital for that aspect nowadays. Consider using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and even your blog and website for the launch. In addition, you wouldn’t have full control of your Facebook business page, Twitter profile, or Youtube channel since these platforms can decide to cancel your profile if you mistakenly or otherwise infringe on their stipulations; however, for the website and blog you may have absolute control over, always ensure that their content is compelling, professional, and involved simply because you are projecting a representation of yourself to the world. When launching, if you use multiple social media outlets, use consistent messaging across different social media platforms to direct traffic to the media you own online. Also, to boost your product or service’s standing, allow credible bloggers and other industry experts to use and write reviews on what you are offering to the market. Additionally, Facebook has one of the most robust advertising platforms on the internet, and it is much cheaper than radio or television advertising. Therefore, if you are willing to pay to get your message about your product or service across, consider using Facebook ads.
Additionally, when launching, you need use social media to build a prospective buyer email list. Therefore, you should use a lead magnet like a free offering or some creative measure to get potential clients to sign up for your email list. Once you have their emails, you can easily reach them to build relationships or sell your product or service. To learn how to effectively create a list, you can get Ryan Deiss’ book, “Invisible Selling Machine” or Anik Singal’s, “Circle of Profit”.
SELL SELL SELL
You don’t have a business if you’re not selling something right? Consequently, once you’ve launched your product, you need to ensure sales are occurring. You can start by selling to your email list that you will keep building overtime. Also, to enhance sales, make use of social media through Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google, YouTube ads amongst others. In addition, as trivial as it sounds, once online transactions are possible, you will need some sort of shopping cart and a means to accept payments from debit/credit cards holders or payal.
It is important to note that depending on the business idea everything that was previously discussed may not work exactly; nevertheless, no matter the entrepreneurial venture, you can use social media to start, grow, and build your brand.
Originally Published on Huffingtonpost.com