My Business has a Social Media Profile – I’m Happy! (Really?)
So the inspiration for this article is based upon a recent experience with a potential client. After many months of sporadic discussion about a support plan for their social media, I received the answer of “after thinking about it, we have a social media profile already and I’m happy with what we are doing.” Really? What points are being considered to arrive at that conclusion?
I will admit at the outset that I definitely have a horse in this race as I manage a business that supports other companies in optimizing their use of social media. I will make every attempt to not sound “preachy” through this article. That’s because my goal here is not to convince, rather to stimulate thought about what metrics are being used to evaluate the benefits of social media and what considerations are explored to decide how a business should proceed – or not…
Here’s what I think…this business owner, like so many others I have encountered, does not distinguish between the possession of something vs. its potential utility – at least for social media. The fact that a profile exists and that a periodic (by that I mean about once or twice a quarter) post is occurring to prove that someone is fogging a mirror on the other side of the computer screen is apparently what engenders happiness with the result. This conclusion is not too dissimilar from other things we use in business. Think back…remember when you were given your first business cards? Remember how proud you were of that card? It existed and had unlimited potential in its capabilities of telling someone else who you were and what you did…remember? Now think back again, how many of those business cards did you purposefully use beyond family, friends, the occasional business meeting and of course the free lunch bowl drawing at the local deli? If you are like so many others, you can take them or leave them and therefore the mere possession of a business card checks a box and therefore, “you’re happy” with simply having them available. Hmmm, that’s how many people view social media?
If you are reading this article then you probably already agree that social media is a business need to have already. However, what considerations ought to be involved when deciding what kind of usage and support (whether you as the business owner will do the work or you hire someone like me) you will dedicate to social media? Let’s first do some Q&A to get to a common baseline:
Q – Do I need social media for my business?
A – Yes! Here’s why…”Facebook adds ½ million new users every day; 6 new profiles every second. An ever-expanding market worth tapping into.” socialmediatoday.com That’s for just one platform. While arguably the largest social media platform by utilization, there are many others where your potential clients spend time.
Q – Is it important to have the right social media presence?
A – Definitely. Having the wrong type of profile can get you in trouble with the platform provider and hinder your use. Here’s a question back to you…”know the difference between a Facebook profile vs. fan page vs. group/community page vs. business page?” You really need to…
Q – What social media network should my business be using to spread brand and message?
A – Short answer…it depends? With 73% of the US population on social media (statista.com) it’s a must have for business, but does the dentist’s potential clients really need an Instagram feed from the office with the latest tooth extraction? Ok, maybe that was a bit over-the-top, but you get my meaning.
Q – Is social media becoming as important a marketing venue as other venues?
A – Yes! Recent studies show that social media is gaining similar influence to television and in 2014, “at times during the year, TV and social media were on par.” adage.com
Q – Does social media cover all potential lead targets the same?
A – No. It is true for this medium as with any other that there are differences in utilization demographics that require some specificity in usage. In other words, know the audience and therefore tailor the message. Pinterest has a heavily skewed female utilization rate and LinkedIn sees high adoption of high income users. businesinsider.com Knowing what you are saying to whom is vital to success.
With the preceding established, is it enough to have any old social media presence and use it any old way you want? Not to offend, but if you answered yes, stop reading and move to something else as the following won’t be beneficial to you.
If you agree that the answer to the prior question was “no” then you are at least open to the concept that a prescriptive presence and approach to social media is necessary. What metrics/considerations should you apply then in making the necessary decisions? Here are my suggestions:
1. Understand your audience and then define your presence accordingly. You may say that you know the general profile of your client, but the more specific you can get the better tailored your efforts will be and therefore better results can be achieved.
2. Decide whether you really have the time and inclination to do this on your own. If not, there are many quality organizations that will help you – I happen to think we offer a pretty strong offering of course. If you do think you have the time, then expect to spend 3-8 hours a week to create/search for content, post the material, look at reports, evaluate what should qualify for paid advertising (Facebook calls it “boosting” for example), etc.
3. Create a plan, work the plan, evaluate the plan and then change the plan. This is part of the 3-8 hours a week, but is something that often gets run over by the demands of the day.
4. Define a posting schedule. You will hear all range of “best practice” quantity of posts per day/week and all of them are different so how can any claim to be best practice? We live by the stance that for most businesses, 2-3 times per week of quality posts (quality is the operative element here and is vital to success), at the right times, goes a long way in creating an environment for your business that is beneficial to your customer/prospect. We are happy to discuss whether you fall into the “most businesses” category or when more posts would be appropriate.
5. Create comradery with your potential client by identifying with them. Does your business have a Memorial Day picnic for your employees? Then say something about it and also wish everyone out there a happy Memorial Day while you’re at it.
6. Ensure your blog is incorporated into the social media mix. Wait, you don’t have a blog on your website? Well, that’s a whole other article so let me put that on hold. Suffice to say, social media is “an” element of your marketing effort, not “the” sole officiant.
So there is a lot here and much to consider. Do you really want to be “happy” with what you are doing with social media for your business? Then put an action plan in place and start being prescriptive in your approach. Need help, we are happy to assist.
Author Bio – Jon Visser is a partner at AllyMark which offers its social media management tools through its BizSocially product offering. BizSocially is designed to make social media easy for the business owner through its various turnkey services. Engineered to remove the guesswork, create consistency at a cost that is manageable for any size business, BizSocially can get your business on the right track with social media today.