Attention: Small Business Owners Considering Social Media Marketing
So you’re a small business, and a pretty damn good one at that. You know your trade and pride yourself at taking care of your customers. All good, right? Once catch. Everyone keeps telling you that “you need to get on social media”. What the hell does that mean? And why is everyone so insistent?
Rest assured, your pseudo board of advisors do mean well. The problem with their advice isn’t the intent, it’s the delivery. Believe it or not, they’re actually right. Regardless of the type of business your run, whether B2B or B2C, it really doesn’t matter. If you’re not levering the power and reach of social media, you are leaving money on the table. Power and reach that are, at least at face value, FREE. That being said, simply “getting on social media” isn’t the end game either. There are a lot of social media platforms to choose from and the thought of weeding through them alone can become overwhelming.
So here is the Colossal Agency guide to leveraging social media for small businesses. Before you go signing up and uploading pictures of your cat sleeping on the back of the toilet in hopes of millions of viral views, ask yourself, who is my customer? Knowing your customer plays a critical role in deciding what platforms will be most effective for your business. For example, if you are a B2C, LinkedIn will likely be more effective for lead generation and targeting than say YouTube or Pinterest.
Understanding the platforms is equally as important. The image below sheds some light on the situation.
So you’ve picked your platforms and are ready to sign up. Hold tight. Before you do, consider this. Who’s going to maintain your pages? If the answer is “umm I am”, I’ve got bad news for you. You’re likely too busy. So before you start business pages on 3 or 4 platforms, think it through. To be effective, driving your business with social media takes daily and in some instances hourly attention. Yeah, I said hourly. This is the fatal flaw for 95% of small business owners out there. It’s not good enough to simply sign up and wait for sales to increase, that my friends is a pipe dream.
Walk with me for a minute. Imagine you bump into an old friend you haven’t seen in years. Through your conversation, they tell you they’ve recently opened their own sandwich shop, a lifelong dream has finally come to fruition. Your excitement and congratulations are stifled by an overwhelming sense that the business is failing. Your friend offers that sales aren’t good and customers are few and far between. They proceed to tell you that they think they are doing everything right. They get into the restaurant between 8am and noon, stay open until at least 3pm every day, and ignore customer questions and concerns.
Wouldn’t you be shocked by their lack of attention to their business? Or their complete disregard for the customer? While a more dramatized example, it’s not completely unlike just “being on social media”. There is no advantage in having the lights on, with no one home. There is a strong argument that the reverse effect is possible. Your legitimate well respected business could come off to first time social seekers as unapproachable and disconnected from your customers. You must be available, proactive, responsive, engaging, approachable, and most importantly present. It’s amazing how many business completely lose sight of all of the characteristics that contributed to the success of their brick and mortar, and ignore those principles online. Consider hiring a social media coordinator or a social media agency (I know a good one) to develop your content and be your eyes and ears on these platforms.
So, before you jump into the social scene for your business consider these keys:
1.) Who is your customer and where are they socially online?
2.) Treat your social customers (friends and fans are potential customers, right?) just like you would offline.
3.) Be present. Use your social platforms as an insight into your business and your culture.
4.) If you don’t have sufficient time, recognize that and invest in in-house talent or a 3rd party agency.
Alright, go forth and tweet, post, upload and share. Check back here for more insights on how to turn fans and followers in to increased bottom-line revenue.