Some Quick Advice on Social Media (for the small biz owner)…
It seems like new social networks are popping up all over the place. People in PR and marketing won’t stop urging you to get up to speed. “You need to be active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, pinterest , google + and blah blah blah” he will say. Here is a new idea before you join the social media arms race… Let’s ask a few simple questions:
Does it make sense?
Who is my current customer?
Who are my potential customers?
Who influences my industry?
Do the previously listed people utilize social media?
Will I have any ROI from social?
Will a focus on social take away from other important aspects of my business?
Now, before we go any further, I need to explain something. Social media can be so very powerful (like many things). But it can be a huge drain on time if you don’t have a clear vision and time/resources allocated to it. PR and marketing pundits telling you social media can be great for your business is like a dietitian telling you that the right diet and workout plan will help you lose weight. It’s kind of a “no shit” thing.
This article is geared towards the small business owner or small business that wants to “get in” on social media and leverage it for their business. My simple advice: If you do not have that clear vision and the time/resources, save social media for a later day. If you’re not ready to follow the diet and workout, you won’t lose any weight and will most likely end up in a worse spot both mentally and physically. Let’s not treat ourselves like that.
Discouraged? No worries, in the near future I will provide a post on how to have that vision and allocate some resources to social when you feel you are ready to go for it. When you are ready to commit to it.
I’m not preaching that I know how to run your business. I’m just trying to re-assure you that you are correct in your focus—your core product. After that product or service is amazing and will continue to be so, then go all out with social media (and let us help you! Wink wink). I know there is a strong opposition to this school of thought, but to each their own.
Back to the main discussion…. does it make sense for your business?
Here are a couple scenarios where social media (specifically Facebook and twitter) should play a heavy role in your business.
1.) Your company has a blog or you are constantly updating content to the web. Whether it be new blog posts, pictures, or videos, social media is a great outlet to get some more exposure for that content.
2.) Your business has a lot of news. Do you constantly launch new products/services, change pricing, locations, and so on? If so, you’ll find your customers would prefer that information to be available in as many places as possible.
If one of those two scenarios does not apply to your business, then congrats. You are spared from the social media arms race.
In most cases, it honestly does not make sense. Yes, there are a lot of people on Facebook. But your business doesn’t need to be extremely active on Facebook. It’s a no-brainer to create a business page on the largest social network in the world, but that doesn’t mean you have to be advertising and constantly monitoring and managing your businesses Facebook profile.
As of now, I have not spent a penny on Facebook. I have not acted on one advertisement, and I don’t know a whole lot of people that have. Have you? Probably not. Not to mention, General Motors just stopped advertising on Facebook because they don’t think they are really getting a return on their investment. Not trying to be a jerk, but why do you think with the limited resources you have, that you could run a more successful FB advertising campaign than a hyper-funded company like General Motors? This doesn’t mean GM is a better company than yours, just means FB ads may not be a game worth trying to win.
You may be asking yourself “Why is this guys banging on social media so much? I found his article through social media.” I use social media because the answers to my previously listed questions is….yes. To every one of them. All of my clients have an online presence or are soon to have an online presence because I’ll build them a website. I also have somewhat of a responsibility to be “up to speed” on social, because I owe it to my clients to give them great answers and info on the topic.
The super quick summary
Most likely, social media is a waste of time for you. It can take more time than you think to manage all of your companies social media pages. I’m with a web agency, so it obviously makes more sense for me (and it’s a necessity to be “in the know”). But even us, as a web agency, don’t go social media crazy. Because there are other things we can be hustling with like improving products/services, offering better customer service, reaching out to industry experts, and other things that actually get us closer to creating a product/service worth talking about. Isn’t the ever elusive referral the best thing for a business?
Social media can be amazing. It can be. But for most small biz owners, it’s a distraction. Is the general contractor wasting her time worrying about social media? Most likely. Let’s be honest, most of us use google to find businesses and FB to find/connect with people. Will this change? I think possibly in the future. But that’s a trillion dollar question for a later day.
P.S. If you’d like us to help you optimize your web presence, or do general technology consulting work, get in touch. We’d love to help.