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Social Media: A Waist of Time? | Teagan Cloete

Between the boxing of orders, sorting out of paperwork, and trying to stay friendly to that difficult client, social media may be the last thing on the small business owner’s mind. And that is totally understandable. Why would you want to pack another weight on your shoulders? Why spend time on something that has nothing (or very little) to do with direct sales?

Well, believe it or not, but affiliate marketing [1] is worth over $17 billion. That is just someone making a video, or posting, about a product. Then their viewers/followers click on their links and buy products. Still think social media is a waste of time?

So, let’s dive into the basics.

  1. What do people want from social media?

Think of social media like a coffee shop. People go there to relax. To socialise. To catch up on what is going on in each other’s lives. People usually go on social media to get a break from reality. After a long day at work, it’s nice to just sit and scroll through Instagram for an hour.

The key here is personalisation. People connect with those they know. Social media users follow people they have a connection with. How is anyone going to have a connection with your brand when all you post are your clearance stock specials? People want to connect with your business on a personal level.

Once again, I know it sounds like manipulation- getting people to become emotionally attached to your brand so that you can sell them stuff. But it’s not a manipulation tactic; it’s a debate. You want to tell people why your business is the best. Why your brand is unique. Social media isn’t really a marketing platform, it’s a public relations platform. It’s where you build your brand’s identity.

  • But isn’t it a waste of time?

“My business is doing well from all the walk- in clients I get. I don’t really think I need social media,” states the weary small business owner. “Besides, where am I going to make all the content for social media? I don’t have that much time.”

Let me start off by saying that you don’t want to be on all the social media platforms. Pick two (or even just one) and focus on those channels.

Secondly, you don’t have to be online all day. I mean, most people scroll through Facebook at the end of the day, and you most probably do, too. So just post your photos then. It is also proven that people who engage more than what they post gain more eyeballs on their social media pages. So just after you posted, go through some other local businesses in the same field as you, and like a few of their photos and maybe drop a comment or two. They get the likes they want, and you get to put your name out there. It’s a win-win situation.

Lastly, take photos throughout the day at work. Every single day, you experience moments that thousands of potential clients would love to see. I bet you there are thousands of people who didn’t realize the amount of paperwork that goes into a coffee shop – so take a photo of your stack of papers! Or even better, film yourself while doing your paperwork, and make it a reel. Everybody loves a video.

  • How to get started

The social media of today is much less daunting than the social media of five years ago. There used to be this craze for “picture perfect” images and neatly cropped perfect lives. But times have changed. And while your photos do still need to look good and professional, you don’t have to be so “picture perfect” anymore. You can show the messy bits of life (like your piles of paperwork) and I guarantee it- you will get more engagement from your messy paperwork than you ever will with your neatly trimmed, highly photoshopped photo of your latest batch of cupcakes.

To start out, I recommend Facebook (no, it is definitely not a dying platform). You will be sure to find your target customer on Facebook. Instagram is for a slightly younger generation (mostly up to the age of 28) and Tik Tok is mostly used by teens – probably not quite the audience you are looking for.

Social media is not a waste of time. With a few easy disciplines you can quickly incorporate social media marketing into your daily life, and quite soon social media will start working for you!

[1] A marketing agreement by which an online store pays commission to an external person/website because of earnings that are generated from referrals.

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