I’ve been interacting with strangers online since I was a teenager. My father was always an early adopter of technology, so ICQ and AOL chat were available in our house before most people even had a home computer.
Talking to strangers became one of my favourite pastimes. I’d imagine these faraway locations, explore similarities and expand on my limited teenage perceptions of the world.
It always felt so natural.
Fast forward 20-something years and it has become even easier to connect with strangers around the world as the majority of us are on at least one social media platform.
Whether you love it or hate it…it is here to stay. So why not use it effectively to benefit your business?
trial and error
Social media for business is definitely a test of patience, takes some experimenting and is subject to change regularly.
You do not need to be on all of the channels, but you should be where your target market hangs out. (If you don’t know where they are, start here!)
Today I’ll be sharing my views on the various social media channels I use, how effective they have been for my business and what changes I’m currently testing out on each.
I joined Twitter in February 2013 when I was trying to figure out what to do with myself after quitting my 10 year career in financial services.
I had recently begun my qualification in business coaching and I mainly used Twitter as a platform to learn more about this new chosen path. I connected with other business coaches and with other startup support providers throughout the UK.
I also used it to consume knowledge and to learn about events in London that would help me expand my new network.
Eventually, it became the #1 most effective way for me to connect with strangers who I felt would be useful to my network. Globally.
I performed my first round of market research with 40 strangers that I found through Twitter, literally by saying “hey I’m trying to learn more about xyz and would love to pick your brain for 30 minutes”. These interviews helped me to then craft the right services for my target market.
I used Twitter to connect with startup entrepreneurs and support providers in different cities. On my first visit to Nairobi in 2016, all of the meetings I set up where through connections I made on Twitter. In these instances I’d say “hey I’m coming to your city on these dates and would love to learn more about the work you’re doing”.
Really as simple as that.
Over the years, these connections have provided me with both paid and pro bono engagements for speaking, training and coaching on entrepreneurship. And each of these has served to grow my network (and business) further.
yet, somehow, I forgot all this.
Some of my BEST business contacts have come from Twitter.
These contacts have come out of being human. Being vulnerable, reaching out, establishing rapport, and being direct in what I want or need.
So recently when I saw I have 20,300+ tweets, I realised it was time for a change in strategy.
For me, posted or reposting content has never been effective. And yet that’s mostly what I’ve been doing on Twitter for the past few years.
Instead, I want to re-establish the human element. For me, Twitter should be my tool for having conversations with entrepreneurs and the startup ecosystem, building relationships and learning about what is going on out there.
And so, you won’t see much curated content on there anymore. But it is where you will can find me for honest conversations, tweets from events and my general musings on entrepreneurship.
I’ll be really honest… I hate Facebook.
It is my least favourite social media channel, both personally and professionally.
I find it to be obtrusive. I rarely consume content on there. And lately, I just like looking at my “memories” to see what I posted on there in years gone past.
For several years, I tried to curate a Facebook community of likeminded global entrepreneurs. I read so many resources on building out communities, increasing engagement, etc. Techniques worked for awhile. And then they didn’t.
I’ve been running a business page on there for years, but Facebook algorithms change all the time. It has become increasingly difficult to have your posts seen, even if you start paying for better exposure.
The amount of time I put into this platform is too much for the limited results I yield from it. I don’t accept friend requests from business contacts. I don’t use Messenger. And I rarely participate in other groups.
I know this isn’t an effective strategy for increasing my engagement.
but maybe it’s because my heart isn’t in it
I’m constantly told that Facebook is the most used platform in Kenya and that I shouldn’t abandon it just yet.
But, it’s a tough one to crack and I’m not entirely convinced that my target market is on there making purchases of consultancy services.
I’ll be testing out some new strategies in the coming months to better understand if my audience is actually using Facebook to consume my content. I’ll try out some more advertising, particularly for upcoming events. And I’m going to give the page a refresh when my new branding is completed.
I’ll be revisiting this one in a few months 🙂
My business joined Instagram about two weeks ago. I haven’t yet worked out my content strategy, so I don’t have any posts yet. But I have been active with stories so far.
I made the conscious decision to try out Instagram because I’m on it anyway. And often.
I have found that a lot of my target market of likeminded entrepreneurs (particularly in Nairobi) is on there, both personally and professionally.
I didn’t want to follow them from my personal page. I reserve that one for very specific types of content that I find aesthetically pleasing – photography, nail art, fitness, tattoos, musicians.
But I do want to follow them and interact with them. I want to share their content. I want to provide businss value to them.
And all of this will come in time.
over to you
I’d love to hear from you.
Where do you hang out online? Which platforms do you love / hate? Where are you consuming business content? Making purchases?
Leave a comment below and let me know!