I sat in a cafe today with a coffee chatting to a friend I’d not seen for a while when she started telling me all about a new cafe bar she’d seen on Instagram. “The food looks so fresh and delicious!” She told me, “And it’s Italian food made by Italians! I’m definitely going to go there…” 

I just sat smiling at her, and then she realised… “they’re your new client, aren’t they!? I should’ve known!”

We laughed and chatted about the new place a little more, how she’d found it through a friend who’d been liking the bars posts, and how she’d recently suggested it as a place to visit to a colleague. And then she delivered the killer line, “…So, hows your proper job going?” (I work part-time for a holiday company as well as being a virtual assistant… yup I’m a workaholic ?) 

My proper job?!

It’s surprising how many people say this to me! To them, the only proper job I have is with the holiday company. ? The social media work is just messing about on Facebook, posting pictures on Instagram or chatting on twitter! 

Yet here we are, talking about a cafe bar she’s never seen but is desperate to go to just because of the hours I’ve spent crafting the images and text to put onto Instagram! 

It is really hard to put tangible benefits on the work you do on social media but no matter what you think, it is a proper job! I have structured work time, and I focus on the needs of the business I’m working with to define a clear plan from the start- whatever the business is – a restaurant, gym, accountant or cleaning business. No matter what you think, social media is vital to any business. Especially here in Lanzarote where most people, whether residents or tourists, turn to social media for recommendations, help or advice. It’s the new “word of mouth”, whereas before recommendations and information were passed on the street corner or when you met up with friends or colleagues, now it’s done via a post, a photo or a chat online.

One client said to me last month – “you have to stop posting! I have too many customers!” Who knew this was possible?! For him, several months before, I had stopped posting adverts and offers for his services and we had switched to posting advice and information from his area of expertise, keeping the posts lively and chatty as it’s a pretty dry subject! The transparent and free information, presented in an easy to understand format encouraged more people to contact him and to use his services without a single special offer being thrown out there. 

What am I trying to say in all this?

2 things I suppose – 

Firstly, Social media management is a proper job and should be treated like one – whether you are doing it or know someone who is working in that field. 

Secondly and most importantly, Don’t desperately try to sell to people online – no one likes this approach. Instead, take the time to show them what’s great about what you do and how your product or service will make their life or holiday better. Think about it more as how you’d chat to a small group of people about your business – you wouldn’t go straight in for the sale, you’d take your time to explain and answer questions but all the while your enthusiasm would come through in your voice, hopefully carrying them along to keep their interest in finding out more! 

Like with the cafe bar – we focused on what makes them special – traditional homemade Italian food just like mama used to make, set in a great location to catch amazing sunsets across the beach. We commented on posts of holidaymakers and people in facebook groups and on Instagram to help them with recommendations and not always about the cafe bar but all the while getting the name out there. The enthusiasm and passion of young couple who run the place shines through each post, and so we return to the start of my story – my friend will be visiting the bar this week just based on what she’s seen and heard on Instagram