I have been very lucky to be a part of the Women's Inspire movement for the past few years now. I joined it when I felt frankly, very uninspired and floundering. I have now made excellent friends within the group - women has been such who have become a great source of support and not unsurprisingly inspiration too.
I have watched the dedicated Women's Inspire Facebook page help support the growth of businesses and women who are all overcoming personal, business and logistical issues and problems. Over the years we have seen problems ranging from unsupportive partners to problem with suppliers. With well over 6,000 women and a few men in the group now, you can draw from a huge wealth of experience and knowledge from them.
I have been very lucky to build the friendships I have through WIN. Everyone who is in the group is not only in it for themselves, they want to support and create opportunity for others too. Most of the active posters I have met now in real life now. At a combination of either conferences or networking events arranged by WIN or just by having a cuppa one afternoon at our leisure.
Looking back I would say most of the people in the group are Sole Traders or SME's. These businesses have grown or changed direction over time with the support of ladies in the group. Not everyone needs professional support though, sometimes just having someone listen is enough.
Moving forward we all want to make the most out of our business in. Social Media obviously has its place in a business's marketing plan but having a face to face relationship with your audience and building rapport is still essential too.
I am of course a major supporter of social media however it's an absolute must that you still make time to actually face your customer and have that personal interaction with them. If your social media is so time consuming that you feel you are always doing it, then one of the following three things need to change:
No matter what you do, you need to have a plan! What I mean by that is, ultimately everything you do has to have a point to it. It is meant to have an end result that is measurable. You need to understand what your business's "Mission" is and create a road map to reach your end goal.
If you want to have a florist business grow sufficiently enough by the end of the year to perhaps increase your amount of staff you obviously need to generate sufficient work to cover the cost of hiring staff and pay yourself. To do this you need to find leads with corporate business owners, create presentations, offer discounts, etc. This all takes planning of course but you can incorporate your social media planning and curation as part of all of this and plan ahead.
The vital last part to this would be to measure! If you don't measure the success or otherwise of what you are doing that there is no way to know if you need to improve or not. By measuring each area you are working with, it also demonstrates which area is more successful for your business. Maybe you are doing Facebook Ads, Flyers, Stands and Newspaper ads. Unless you measure the success of each of these you could well be spending hundreds if not thousands of Euros on something that isn't working for you.
Have you sorted out your marketing strategy for the forthcoming year? Do you have targets or goals for your business monthly, quarterly or annually? It's not an absolute must of course, but it does give you something to strive for.
One more thing I do want to stress though! Likes and Followers are great of course, but they need to be genuinely earned. Having customers who actually want your content (goods or services) and to build a community is more important than having tonnes of followers who never look at your page from one month to the next. In fact, the next time you are looking at your personal groups and accounts, unfollow groups and pages you haven't looked at for the passed six months. You are actually doing the page your leaving more good by unfollowing.