When social media was first conceived as a communications method a number of years ago, most individuals became wary since they didn’t want to reveal themselves further on the big bad Internet.
Another issue was that they didn’t want to, or felt uncomfortable socializing with others on the Web, who were complete strangers. Now, it’s just become the premier marketing and communications tool for all businesses.
Social media has completely transformed how you promote and are promoted. Small marketers and large corporations are able to leverage considerable brand presence when flexing on social media.
They can activate “peer to peer” campaigns which can go instantly viral with little capital. For smaller businesses however, there’s a bit more work and effort that’s required.
Small Businesses And Social Media
What generally happens is that for the majority of small businesses, when wanting to make their dent, that the promise of social media really doesn’t result in an acceptable return on investment (ROI). The initial results are usually non-existent.
There’s also a lot of mixed messages from a number of unscrupulous Internet marketers, who are looking to make a quick buck, who exaggerates what the appropriate use of social media is.
So the end result is that this leaves most, especially novice small business owners completely perplexed and frustrated. Since social media is lumped together with Search Engine Marketing (SEO), it becomes another online marketing myth or theory which they don’t understand, or can’t afford to do.
Why Social Media ROI Sucks
Most will place too much of their expectations on social media. This is also completely understandable, given that anything can potentially go viral overnight, while remaining completely transparent in execution.
But based on its face value alone, the metrics which social media provides doesn’t really equate. This partly because the majority of small businesses will measure their ROI based on crude methods.
What they’re wanting to know is, “How many leads did social media bring me last week?” The problem is that most don’t have accurate tracking methods, so they just go with their gut feeling.
Initially, getting any direct leads from social media can be extremely low, especially when it comes to niches which are off the grid. People just won’t get that excited about “retweeting” your carpet cleaning business for instance.
Social Media Automation
Another big barrier and myth is the notion that doing social media is extremely difficult to do, or that it’s too time consuming to execute.
What the majority of social media advocates tend to be is overzealous, believing that everyone should be tweeting everything that they do, and that everyone will absorb whatever is posted.
But the reality is that you’re not famous, so they don’t care who you are, or what you do. You most likely don’t embrace the “rockstar” lifestyle when you’re posting on social media.
What the mainstream message is when it comes to automation of any type, when associated with social media marketing, is that it’s usually considered as being “spam.”
So What To Do: Small Business And Social Media
For small businesses, you shouldn’t be avoiding social media as a part of your Internet marketing efforts, but should rather be embracing it. Doing so can be extremely effective if executed properly.
Advantages Of Social Media
• There’s evidence that any social media signal will influence your overall website search engine rankings, especially on Google and Bing
• Social media feedback is often used as a sounding board when consumers are wanting to determine the reputation or legitimacy of a business, brand, or product during the purchasing process
• Social media significantly improves branding, which offers human as well as search engine benefits
• Customer retention is usually enhanced or verified by a strong visible and responsive social media presence
• Word of mouth, peer to peer referrals will regularly occur on social media, which drives traffic to your website, increasing revenue
So participating in social media is required. Small businesses should be recognizing these secondary benefits which also helps keeping the costs of their marketing efforts down. But expectations should be lowered, and make sure that you begin slowly and properly.
The Keys For Social Media
• Make sure that you automatically “share” each and every blog post that you publish to all of the various social media platforms
• Use software automation tools and apps to schedule your posts so that your feeds look genuine, alive, and well executed
• Develop or find strong sources of content which are industry specific, and that your audience will absorb and share
Why Small Business Should Be Embracing Social Media
The biggest excuse that small business owners and marketers have when they don’t bother using social media is: “It didn’t bring in any or enough leads the past month.” This however is no longer viable or an acceptable reason.
Search engines are now definitely incorporating social signals, everything that you do on social media is reflected on their results. Consumers will also research social media first, such as getting opinions or reviews before they making a purchasing decision.
So at the very least, use social media as a customer service channel, and a sounding board for your business, product, brand, or service.
But since the majority of small business owners and marketers are usually resource or capital constrained, what they need to do is become shrewd in execution.
Make sure that you leverage automation when it comes to your social media campaigns, which is an excellent start, this provided that you stay within its boundaries.
So bring all of your available human resources to the virtual table, where there’s an opportunity for real social media engagement, while using technology to make the process more efficient.
Just make sure you don’t go overboard, and shoot for quality in production which meets the high standards of your audience, and make sure that they participate back.