Building your business online

For many years the culture of all communication has been changing. Initially, many of us thought that the social media and digital branding space was merely a digital version of what we were doing in the real world.

But it’s not. It’s more complex and nuanced than we realise.

How we communicate with our family and friends has changed. And it also means that how we build our businesses has also changed. With a significant increase in businesses trying to engage more online since the global impact of COVID-19, understanding how to use social media to build a business brand and reach a larger paying audience is crucial.

Many clients have shared their stories of how they’re creating additional income streams and leveraging their social media networks to make these side-hustles viable. Single-income and even dual-income families find it even more challenging to cover expenses and manage their budgets. But starting a Facebook page just ahead of the festive season may not be enough to boost December sales. Launching an online sales platform in February may not break even until late July.

Social media is quick and relatively easy to set up. For the basics, it’s free, making it an attractive way to announce and promote your business. But despite the ease and speed of setting it up, it’s not a quick fix.

If you’re in this boat with your business or side gig, don’t give up just yet. In a recent conversation with Tim Slatter, an online communications strategist, he reinforced the old axiom of ‘slow and steady wins the race’. Having helped SMEs establish sustainable online brands for over a decade, he’s seen how every single business they’ve worked with, in a wide variety of sectors, all needed a minimum of 6-18 months to establish themselves online.

According to Slatter, this is because the complexity of online branding extends far beyond a clever marketing hook. It delves deeper into the why, who and what of the business value proposition (motivation, audience and message). Marketing hooks are great, but customers and clients are now looking for deeper engagement with a brand story.

In some other research, released a helpful article earlier in 2021 that seeks to answer the golden question: How long should my social media take to work?

The first thing, they say, is to understand what we mean by “work for me”. Are we looking for more sales, increased website traffic, brand awareness or relationship maintenance? This is important because it helps us understand what we want to achieve when building our business online, which in turn helps us set more realistic expectations.

Then, when it comes to setting realistic expectations, also ran a survey to determine what type of turnaround time an entrepreneur could expect on some of the current popular social media platforms.

These stats are pulled from their article:

How long does Instagram take to work?

Typically we recommend anywhere from 5-10 posts per week over a minimum of six months. Some have seen success much faster, and others have to put in closer to 18 months of consistent work to see success on Instagram.

How long does Facebook take to work?

A Facebook business page can take anywhere from 12 months to 24 months to become successful. Facebook pushes for supplementing your business page with ads or sponsored posts to accelerate the process.

How long does Twitter take to work?

Twitter moves fast, do you? Because of the ability to engage with content as a business, Twitter can see a quicker road to success. But don’t be fooled; this doesn’t mean it’s easier… It’s become an expectation that you post on Twitter multiple times a day, engage with your direct audience along with others. That means you keep your channel live, respond fast, and seek out other supplemental content posted by others. This could take anywhere from four to 16 months.

How long does YouTube take to work?

Being the second largest search engine in the world has its benefits. YouTube is an extremely powerful tool and doesn’t require as much momentum as other social media platforms. A larger following certainly helps, but valuable content is CRITICAL here. For business-focused timelines, an average of six months to two years can be used for YouTube.

How long does LinkedIn take to work?

If you find yourself with a group of 10-20 extremely connected employees willing to help grow the presence, you can see some of the quickest growth out of all the social media pages. 

LinkedIn is filled with business-oriented individuals who are willing to engage/support in exchange for the same. The research suggests eight to 16 months.

If you’re looking to bolster your income, remember, it’s a lot like leveraging the markets for long-term investing; give your investment time to root and grow, don’t expect immediate returns.

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