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It should be the icing and not the cake…

It should be the icing and not the cake…

It should be the seasoning and not the soup…
It should be the snack and not the meal…

You’re probably wondering what I’m talking about here, it’s quite a smorgasbord of food analogies isn’t it? But they all make the same basic point, which is a very relevant, and I feel timely, one if you run a business.

Social media is not the be all and end all of your business – running your business and making sales is what ultimately matters. Social media plays a part in that but it is just one of the tools at your disposal – not the only tool.

Going back to my food analogy, there’s no denying that a cake can be transformed by the icing, but once people start eating the cake, if it it doesn’t taste good or it’s dry, people won’t be back for more. If you spend all your time making your social look good at the expense of having good business processes and delivering on your customer promise, you will bring customers to you to buy – but it may be a one time purchase and acquiring new customers is way more expensive than retaining existing ones.

On the other hand, if you make the best cake in the world, but the icing leaves a lot to be desired, you run the risk that no-one fancies trying the cake as it doesn’t look appetising – you do need to showcase things well and social media is an integral part of that for many businesses these days.

So ultimately we get back to balance.

The stage your business is at will usually determine what sort of “broadcasting” out to the world you will need to do, and this can change over time. Social media is part of your broadcast requirements, but so is gaining offline coverage, networking, customer service leading to word of mouth referrals.

There’s a whole menu to present to people in terms of selling, but you always have to remember that you need to have time to buy the ingredients, make the food, serve it, clear up, develop new season recipes, respond to reviews – look at the whole of the process and allocate an appropriate amount of time to the selling bit – then you get balance.

No time marketing and selling = no customers. Too much time marketing and no making and selling = no money.

The other important thing to remember is that your customer should be front and centre of your mind when you are deciding what and where you will spend your marketing time on. (The wording in that last sentence was very deliberate by the way, you do “spend” your time, as in everything you do costs you money, even your time and you should be very mindful about how you spend it).

So, where are your customers, where do they hang out, where do you see them? That is where you need to concentrate your time, marketing your business is really important but it is only a part of what you’re doing and you should allocate time to it accordingly.

I’ll keep to my food analogy again here, if you have limited time to pop out and sell those lovely cakes you made, you’d head to a cake fair or a market so that you maximise your chances of selling (or anywhere my family is hanging out is probably a safe bet ;-))

The same applies for your business, it doesn’t matter what the businesses around you are doing, what the people you follow are doing – what matters is what your customers are doing. If they’re on instagram, be present there, if they’re on tiktok go there. If they’re mainly at events, go there. If you’re not sure where they are, go and have a look at a few places, find them and then draw back and concentrate there.

You need to be selling cakes on your cake stall at a cake fair for the time that is open, while the customer is there – and then you need to go and recover (important to put that time in too), regroup and get ready to go again.

As a business owner, understanding your customer is key, knowing where to talk to them about things that they are interested in starts the relationship. Making what they want and showing them intrigues them and tempts them to buy. Delivering it when they want it, how they want it delights them.

Interest, intrigue, delight – the makings of a beautiful relationship.

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