Why Your Business Should Stop Thinking So Much About Social Media
BY: BRENT BARNHART ON MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2014
Perhaps the biggest buzzword the modern marketing world has seen within the past decade. The option of having a social presence is no longer an option at all, with 74% of all adults hooked on some form of social media (and 89% of those aged between 18 and 29). This newfound influx of online users helped spawn a wild-wild-west for marketers, all attempting to find ways to turn the social network into a cash cow.
Yet for many companies, the resulting social media madness has been less than ideal. Especially for their bottom lines. How so?
There’s no denying the power of the social network. We can reach each other faster than ever, break news before it reaches the television and make genuine connections with our customers without meeting face to face.
But there’s still an elephant in the room. Despite the hype, many SMBs are failing to make a dime through social media. In fact, a good chunk of companies are losing money as they attempt to branch out.
Sure, there’s some ad revenue here and there. Yet how do such meager returns stack up against the hours spent trying to reach potential customers? Is it all really worth the time? The energy? The effort? The resources? Is it worth paying the salary of a “social media expert?”
Ask the average small business owner and most signs will point to “no.” In addition, there are endless accounts of social media time wasters who claim to be getting down to business but aren't making ends meet.
That said, there’s an argument to be made that the ROI of social media is something that’s not monetary. True enough; it’s hard to put a price tag on legitimate conversations and engagement between excited, active users. Regardless, there is no free lunch when it comes to the social network. SMBs are paying in time and resources, all in a marketing era where both are becoming more and more scarce.
It’s been stressed for years that SMBs should find and adapt some sort of social media strategy. To fly blindly through the social channels is a recipe for a marketing disaster. However, times have most certainly changed when it comes to what a “strategy” looks like. In years past, marketers were sweating bullets over buzzwords like “engagement” and “frequency” when it comes to Facebook, Twitter, and the like. Today, perhaps it’s more prudent for small businesses to take a less structured and more minimalist approach to social media versus a bloated strategy that leaves us little time or energy to spare.
So, what should the tactful small business focus on when it comes to social? Before you obsess over how you post, what you post and how often, consider the following first:
- Act natural and embrace your business’ personality
- Stop worrying about frequency and start worrying about what your users want
- Don’t forget that you’re a small business.
While such tips may seem like common sense, many SMBs continue to squander their social strategies because they’re focusing too much on minute details and not enough on their audience.
The spread of online marketing has become both a blessing and a curse. While it’s easier than ever to get you name out in the open for customers, there are also a whole lot of other faces in the crowd. Breaking through the noise and reaching customers requires a bit of personality. Once you determine what sets you apart from the competitors, you may use it to your advantage to help develop your following. Is it your business’ name? Stellar product? Out of the box approach? As soon as you start being yourself and speaking your audience’s language, the followers will come.
Likewise, focus less on metrics such as post frequency and more on sharing content that’s relevant to your users. Whether it’s your own business content, the latest YouTube sensation, industry news or trending topics, become a resource that’s always piquing your audience’s interest. Speaking the language of your followers means that you understand them. In turn, you build a following that trusts you and is willing to listen.
Getting Down to Business
It’s easy to get lost in the sea of social media trends, topics, and marketing flavors of the week. Make sure you’re not wasting time with one simple mantra. You’re a small business owner. Never forget that business is the name of the game. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut and do what feels right for yourself and your business. If that means a social media strategy that goes against the conventions of modern marketing, so be it. If your bottom line is still in tact and you’re seeing growth, why stop?
The Bottom Line
The social sphere is full of marketing tips, tricks, and tactics that claim to transform your business overnight. Instead of getting caught up in the buzz, take a step back and figure out what works and what doesn't in terms of your social strategy. You may find over time that a smart, swifter strategy works best for you and your small business.
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