Three weeks ago something happened here. Our area experienced terrible storms and unexpected power outages occurred throughout approximately 95% of our State. The unthinkable had happened! No power, no water, no internet services and no connection to the outside world.
Although our situation was, thankfully, only temporary, it made me stop and really think about the daily struggles businesses have in this constantly connected and social environment we live an do business in. There is so much pressure to be social, block out time to network daily, schedule updates so you ALWAYS have a strong presence online and generally try to take advantage of every popular and new social networking site on a daily basis. I”m sure you’ve probably heard that you’ve “just got to be on (insert name of any networking site here). There are a lot of opportunities out there! Make sure you don’t miss a single one!
But what happens when you have a busy week, are out of town, unexpected client projects take you away from your own social media marketing? What happens when your job as an entrepreneur pulls you away from your job as your company’s social media person? What happens when life happens and you fall short of your social networking goals?
On top of the craziness in our personal lives, the inability to keep food cold, no air conditioning, no electricity, etc. there was the inability to continue with . My business requires that I be connected, social, listening, engaging all the time. Marketing gurus everywhere tell me I have to stay visible on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and more unless I want my business to fail. My family is scattered throughout the US and much of the time we stay connected via our social sites. I hadn’t just disappeared from my business, my clients, my prospects and partners; I had disappeared from my family and friends. Suddenly I was just gone.
I decided it was time to sit down and write about how I handled my particular situation. It’s time to help businesses understand what you can do when you just can’t be social!
What to Do When You Can’t Be Social!
- Preparation – This is where it all begins. If you focus on building quality relationships then those relationships don’t just die because you have a down week. Take it from me, they don’t die if you have a down month either. Or maybe it was a good month! Lots of new prospects, new clients and great opportunities can throw a wrench in your social networking efforts too! Just remember that all those followers, friends and connections are real people. Reach out and say hello to a few of them. Start conversations. Establish rapport. Build trust. Invite a few to an offline conversation now and then. When the unexpected happens and you just can’t be around for a bit, they won’t forget about you!
- Mobile Apps – It’s not necessary to sit behind your desk any longer when you want to share an update via your social networking sites. You can still share and get updates regardless of where you happen to be physically. Here are just a few great apps, resources and websites to consider if you want to share on the go:
- HootSuite Mobile
- Twitter Mobile
- Facebook Mobile
- Pinterest Mobile
- LinkedIn Mobile
- Google+ Mobile
- Google Analytics Mobile
3. Scheduling Tools – I typically recommend a strategy that involves both scheduling updates in advance and scheduling time for yourself to actually log into your social sites and network. This allows you to have quality information going out on a regular basis during the work week. No one can expect you to live on Facebook all the time! It also allows you to have some time to personally review potential alliance partners and other quality connections and start strategic conversations with them. A few of my favorite scheduling tools include:
4. Consider Outsourcing – A good virtual assistant can be invaluable when it comes to netoworking online. They can help you identify potential new alliances, stay in front of your target audience via posts and retweets and even research quality content your target audience will find interesting. There are lots of things a good virtual assistant can do to help you stay on top of your social media marketing while you focus on running your business! Ask around and find out who your friends are using or contact us at BizMSolutions.com. We’d love to discuss your needs and put you on the right path to a good assistant (Notice I didn’t promise we could help you 🙂 Sometimes we can and sometimes we simply recommend alternatives based on your needs and budget. No sales pitches here!)
5. Phone a Friend – When things get tough and you just can’t find the time to be social online, phone a friend and ask for some help. I know businesses who schedule posts for each other in a pinch. In fact, I’m one of them! I have strategic alliances who call me once in a while and say, “Gosh, I’m just swamped this week and so behind. Would you mind sharing a guest post or two on my wall while I’m out of town?” Nice idea, right? You’ve heard of guest blog posts but what about guest Facebook posts? Sometimes we actually login as the page administrator to post but sign and tag our own business. Other times we simply leave comments on each others pages. This type of partnership gives your alliances some visibility, offers value to your audience, keeps comments coming on your networking sites and keeps you from going completely silent online for long periods of time. This one is a definite win win!
6. Take a Deep breath and remember you are human – A new client once said to me, “I’d like to see us scheduling tweets 24/7 to make sure I have consistent visibility online no matter where my audience is located.” When I explained that we don’t make a habit of scheduling posts around the clock, she seemed very surprised and wanted to know how I keep my audience engaged. I told her that, “Each night I say goodnight and sign off just as if I were a real person! People seem to respond to that!” She got a good laugh 🙂 She also got the point. You are human. It’s ok if you don’t always have tweets going out every 2 hours like clockwork. It’s ok, if you can’t make 2-3 Facebook posts every day. Don’t apologize if you can’t be on Google+ as much as you would like. Don’t let a down week become an excuse to log off for months at a time! That won’t work. Do, however, take a deep breath and realize that you are human and the people who value you, respect you and love you will understand. Very few others matter anyway.
Life gets messy sometimes and it just isn’t always possible for your social networking efforts to continue as aggressively or consistently as you would like to. If you follow my advice, however, your results will still be consistent, even when there are hiccups in your efforts.
- Share quality information as consistently as you can
- Build real relationships with great people
- Use mobile apps to post when you are away from your office
- Schedule some quality posts throughout the week so you maintain a presence, even on busy days
- Think about hiring a Virtual Assistant part time
- Ask for help
- Take a deep breath and remember to enjoy the process instead of becoming a prisoner to it