But I don't Have TIME for Social Media
Based on conversations with my web clients, by Pepper Oldziey
You don't have time not to do social media.
"Let's talk about time. I want to find you just two hours a week to start with."
"Two hours? Why?" asked my client.
"Is there anything you do in your work week that does not give you results, is a waste of your time?" I asked.
"What do you mean? I am the manager here, I have to do all my tasks. There is nothing extra. This is what I do."
"Ok, then, let's list a dozen main functions you perform during your work week and put approximate times to them." We did.
"Is there any one of these that someone else could do? Your pay level is much higher. Could you hire someone who is paid less than you to do one of these tasks?"
"Well, yes, this one," said my client pointing to the fifth item on his list which took him two and a half hours a week.
"How about you assign that to one of your staff, then you would have two and a half hours a week for something else, right? I'm going to tell you what you can do with that small bit of time to serve yourself and your business better online."
With just Two Hours, What Can I Do?
"Now let's talk about social media. I want to work with you on GOOGLE PLUS." I offered with excitement.
"I don't know anything about that," he said.
"We will talk more about why another day. First, let's talk about what I can do for you and what you will need to do yourself."
"I can't just hire you to do it?" spoken with a pleading look in his eyes.
"No, it has to be real. It has to be you. You can contract me to do some things, but I am not you. I won't pretend I am."
Grudgingly, "What do I have to do? This is a waste of time."
"We just found you time. Now, things I can do for you include setting up your social media pages, and I can write you articles for your business."
"That's good. I don't want to do that. What do I need to do?" he said with a curious look.
"Well, once you post articles, then people will comment on them. You need to respond to the comments."
"Me? Oh, how much time will that take?"
"You have two and a half hours, right. And you are the one who knows the answers. I don't. Let's make you a plan for 30 minutes a day."
But Online Conversations can go on All Day!
"Set a time clock. You have a timer on your phone. Set it for 30 minutes. Answer and comment. Then stop." I explained.
"Here is what you do," I showed him on my laptop. "Sign in to Google and then go to your Google+ page and check your notifications. These will tell you if people commented on your posts. You want to thank them by plussing them. You also want to comment back about whatever they said or answer their questions."
"Okay I can do that. Wait, what's a plus?"
"On Google+ you hit that button and it will send a message to the person who typed the comment that you saw and liked their note. Even better is to thank them by plussing their name. You do this by typing the plus sign and then start typing their name with the first letter. Pretty quickly their picture will pop up and you click it to add the name to your comment back. This will notify them you saw their message and are responding."
He started to smile. "That seems friendly."
"Yes, but first you need to meet some people. Then you put them in circles. Then they will see the articles we post."
"Oh, oh, how do I do that? I don't know any people here." The worried look came back.
Let's Find You New People
"What topics do you talk about with your customers? What are people interested in that also need your services?" I asked.
He explained several topics of conversation he usually has with his customers.
"Then this is what you do. In search here, you type the topic name then put a hashtag in front of it. Like this: #gardening," I explained, typing that in the box. A page opened up filled with posts.
"Wow!" My client was quite surprised.
"Here is everything, or you can find people and pages, or you can see posts, or you can see communities. Let's look at people," I suggested. Faces filled the screen and it kept going on, rows and rows as we scrolled.
"Think of this like a candy store," I shared. "Find people you would like to talk with, click their picture and see their profile. If someone interests you, just add them to a circle you make for this topic." We checked out the "people" page and made a "Gardening" circle.
"That's it, that easy? And I can go tell them all about my business," relief started spreading across his face.
"Well, not exactly. Do you like people who barge in to your conversations telling you what to think and do or buy? You go listen. Listen first and comment on what people say. There will be time appropriate for sales much later on," I suggested.
"You mean I read their posts first?"
"Yes, and respond with a plus, and you can say things to encourage, support, and even suggest ideas you have."
"Oh, why would you do that?"
"To make friends. First you make a new friend. Then you have a conversation. Then, when it seems right, you can offer the information you know. It takes time. But that's why we made time. You do this a few minutes each day and you will make friends."
"I can do that. Is that all it takes?" Smiles take over.
"That's all you need to start. Make friends. Be kind. Encourage and share. It comes naturally."
How will THAT help my business?
"Do it first. This is social media. Be social. Making money from your social presence is the topic another conversation."
Frequently conversations with clients go like this. The question is primarily an issue of time. Once you find the time, even a little time, anything is possible. You also need to manage some expectations. People often just want to sell, sell, sell and that doesn't fit in to a culture that is about share, share, share and help, help, help. Developing an understanding about this culture takes a little time and may even come quite naturally.