I recently wrote an article about social media marketing for work at home parents, or more specifically for mums looking to supplement their family income by putting their skills to use and selling their goods or services as a side-line.

One day while having coffee with a couple of girlfriends, we got onto the topic of my article, and how they had never thought of turning their hobbies into a money making scheme. One of my friends in particular is desperate to find a way to bring in some extra income, and like most families these days, her household bills have been steadily increasing but their income has stalled.

Huffing and puffing

Until now my friend had been looking for some part-time bar work to do in the evening, or even a little cleaning job to fit in during school hours, but was unsure how that would work out during school holidays, or when she needed time off if any of her kids were off school sick. So we spent the next half hour going through her skills and suggesting possible ideas for a small home business, and how it would fit around her already busy life.

She is incredibly house-proud and her home is immaculate, so we knew that a cleaning job would suit her, but that job would take her out of the house away from her children and mess up her family routine. But then we hit upon a perfect solution! As well as having good housekeeping skills, my friend is also one of those odd creates who absolutely loves to iron clothes! She spends hours a week standing and ironing while watching TV, so why not get paid for doing this for others?

Blowing her own house down….

No matter how enthusiastic my other friend and I got about the idea, or any other idea we suggested, my friend would always be quite negative, and thought it would be easier to work outside the home for someone else, no matter how inconvenient or disruptive that would be to her normal family routine.

Being afraid of the big, bad wolf!

I felt that there was something else preventing her from taking the plunge, so I asked her outright “what is it that is really stopping you?”. She sighed and physically slumped back into her chair, and admitted it wasn’t the work involved, it was thought of promoting it to get clients that scared her. She dislikes using a computer, and really only uses it to help her children research homework topics. She was terrified at the thought of using social media to market her business.

Sometimes I forget that for many people social media can be quite a stressful and difficult thing to navigate and understand. So with regard to my friend, I will have to take a huge step backwards and baby-step her through everything a little at a time. Because the whole social media world is so unfamiliar to her, I wanted to explain it to her in a way that she would be more familiar and comfortable with.

This is also a strategy that could work for anyone reading this who may also be a little hesitant about promoting themselves on social media, and this is a much less scary way of looking at it.

It is just a story in a book…

I asked my friend to think back to her early school days, and to remember how enjoyable it was to sit on the floor around her teacher at story time and be carried away to another world while listening to tales about cackling witches, grumpy trolls and fire-breathing dragons.

As adults, we still enjoy a good story – just look at the multi-million pound book and film industries to see the evidence. Social media is just the same – your audience wants to be entertained, it’s just a different platform with another method of delivery – its as simple as that.

Show and tell your favourite things

Treat Facebook as a place to show and tell, just like you did back in school. You would never have dreamed of taking something boring into class to share with your friends, so why would you ever consider doing something so drab as an adult on Facebook?

Take a look at the Facebook timeline of any popular brand you like, and you will see that they share content that is captivating, informative, quite often amusing, and it all contributes to its larger brand image and story. The more successful brands will always remember who is listening to their stories, and will adapt their content to suit.

Social media sites are not the place to be posting huge swathes of text. You don’t need to write a novel for every post you make. How boring would that be! People join social networks to socialise and play, so don’t have time to wade through a lot of information. Like a child with a story book that contains no colourful pictures to break up the text, your readers will quickly switch off and find somewhere else to go to be entertained.

Share with your other little piggies

Social networks are a two-way street. If you can give your followers a chance to participate, they will appreciate the offer. As a child you would have let your friends take a turn on your bike, or share the see-saw in the park, so Facebook is not a place to be selfish, it is a place to share.

In the story of the Three Little Pigs they ended up sharing the house made of bricks, this way they kept themselves safe, kept each other entertained and well supported, and kept the wolf from the door.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

If you think you will struggle to write enough engaging content to keep your readers inspired, then turn the tables! Ask questions, pose a puzzle, invite people in to post amusing photo’s on your wall, tell a joke and ask for one back, post about a funny thing that happened to you and ask if anyone has experienced the same, post an apt cartoon that relates to your business, there are so many options you can use to engage with your followers and none are too time-consuming to do either.

So if you are completely new to social media marketing, or not too confident about your posts, take a step back to your childhood years to find some simple inspiration to get yourself going, and to scare away the big bad wolf that is holding you back.