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I met a friend and fellow business owner for a walk, and she had a marketing question.

“Should I use Facebook?” she asked.

I get similar questions about Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages/profiles/groups. But no one can know the answer until a few questions are answered.

Unfortunately, a lot of “experts” will tell you to use Facebook ads or Instagram because they sell a product that teaches that very tactic.

I take a stand against pushing tactics on a business without doing research first. When I asked my friend where her clients spent time online, she didn’t know.

I suggested she do market research to find out, and then she’d know the best way to spend her business development time.

She had something else to tell me.

“I don’t really use or like Facebook,” my friend told me.

I stopped walking.

This was a big red flag.

“If you don’t like the platform, you probably won’t use it. Find a method you love so that spreading the word on your work feels natural and fun,” I told her. She nodded. And I thought it would be useful to share what you should consider BEFORE you begin engaging online. Grab a notebook and take notes on the following:

  1. Who are your ideal prospects? This is the first item to define before anything else. Once you know this, you’ll be able to spend your time wisely instead of speaking to the wrong groups, paying for the wrong advertising, or networking with the wrong-for-you people. Sample choices: profession, industry, age, gender, mindsets, geographic location. Example: Service-based small business owners (coaches, consultants) who serve humanity in some way. They have positive mindsets and self-awareness. Now, write yours!
  2. Where do these prospects spend time? You need to know know your ideal prospect and customer inside and out. Where do they go online or in person? What problem do they need solved? What is the pain of their community/group? Note this on a piece of paper.
  3. Do you prefer online or in-person networking or a combination? Write down your answer. Some business owners thrive and get business from Twitter interactions while others use Instagram to win new clients.
  4. What platform(s) do you LIKE? My friend didn’t like Facebook, so this would not be an ideal platform for her. However, it might be a perfect one for you. The right answer to this rests in your market research and personal preferences.
  5. What do prospects need to know? This question invites you to list out what people need to know about your business before coming on board with you. Do you need to establish credibility? Are prospects looking for certifications, more testimonials, or a certain experience? In general, people need to know, like, and trust you. They need to know you have the experience and credibility to solve their problem. All of this needs to be addressed on your website–at the very least–and come through on other platforms in order to expand your reach.

ACTION STEPS:

  1. Write down one or two likely platforms for connecting with prospects.
  2. Research the platforms to see if your prospects are really engaging there.

The answers to these five questions should get you well on your way to knowing how to use your story–without   wasting time on marketing tactics that don’t work.

Join me in my free, private Facebook community for more small business marketing tips.

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