Ifeanyi Julian Etuokwu-Oludumila is a small business marketing and social media coach. She has coached over 500 female entrepreneurs on how to market their businesses effectively and over 800 others to use social media for business. She has also given free tutorial to over 4,000 on marketing and social media. In this interview, she explains various issues on social media and how it relates to business.
From your experience as a business coach, what challenges do women face in using social media to promote or sell their business?
Social media is a great tool for small businesses to attract, engage, convert and promote their businesses but it must be done right. From my experience and interaction with women in business, there are loads of issues they encounter.
One of their challenge is, Where to start: Most entrepreneurs complain that they don’t know where to start from but because they have been told to go online, they just hopped on social media, created accounts and started posting updates without goals or a reason for going to social media. There are different reasons why successful businesses are on social media. Some are there to drive traffic to their websites or blogs; others might want to focus on building communities or create brand awareness. Having a ‘why’ makes it a lot easier to measure what is working and what is not working. Once the goals are set, the next is to come up with a strategy and plan to guide actions.
Another challenge is Content creation. Creating fresh and engaging content is what powers social media. It is not an easy task knowing what female entrepreneurs juggle on daily basis. This sometimes can makes us go offline unintentionally but thankfully, there are social media management tools that provide an easier and hassle-free way of keeping our social media pages buzzing with activity.
Yet another issue is the Platforms: There are loads of social media platforms and they don’t speak the same language. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn are the big four and they require slightly different skills, content format and strategies in order to use them effectively.
There is the issue of Target audience: Most small businesses have not conducted proper market research and lack understanding of who they serve or are in business for (Ideal Customer/Client). If you do not know your ideal customer, what they want or need, what they are struggling with and what keeps them awake at night, it will be very difficult to create real content that will resonate with them.
Sales gives a challenge too. Sometimes there is no sales and at other times, there is low sales. Social media is not a platform to sell but with understanding of the 80/20 rule (it states that 80 percent of the social media posts should inform, educate, and entertain the target audience, while only 20 percent should directly promote the business). If SMEs can focus on serving before selling, building quality relationship, they will achieve huge social media success. and simple sales funnel.
Many are challenged with consistent engagement: What keeps social media pages going is conversation, people love to talk, people love to be entertained and be educated!
What are the main social media platforms that can be used in Nigeria for business?
There are over 30 social media sites that can be used. The few commonly used ones in Nigeria are: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Snapchat.
Should the social media for business be distinct from personal ones or can the personal platform be converted to a business opportunity?
A business focuses on customers and prospects while personal page is to keep in touch with loved ones, friends and acquaintances. Combining both will be confusing and distracting.
On the social media platforms, for example Facebook or Instagram, a business account has some key features that are not on the personal account. One key feature is the Insight.
What are the strategies a woman can use to help grow her business on the social media?
The first step before we hop into the strategies is to deeply understand who they serve, their customers and what they need, once that is sorted, all other strategies will align.
• Attention grabbing and optimized profiles
• Be consistent, even if the post can be twice a week, be sure to stay consistent and on point. (Know who you are posting for and why you are posting.)
• Provide valuable content that helps the target audience.
• Use variety of formats to create content: Text/Image posts, videos, Podcast, Boomerang, Live Streaming, and others.
• Maximise all the features (stories, highlights)
• On Instagram, use relevant hashtags
• Interact with the target audience – respond to their comment after a post, visit their page and leave comment on their own posts as well, tag and mention them and appreciate them for engaging with you.
• Go Live: People like to see who they are dealing with