Social Media Marketing — one more marketing panacea that isn’t. Ask most small-business owners what they really think about handling their social media marketing themselves, and most will tell you they would rather do something else — anything else. Social media takes tons of time. It’s aggravating when customers complain publicly. And immediate sales or an obvious return are rare.
Meghan Casserly, writing for Forbes, reports:
“Social media use is trending upward according to the survey of more than 1,235 small-business owners…[but] despite their dedication and belief that social media is the Hail Mary of small-business owners everywhere, more than 60% of small-business owners say they haven’t seen any return on investment from their engagement online. None.”
Social guru Ted Rubin says small-business owners have unrealistic expectations of social media platforms. “[T]hey often consider it as another direct marketing vehicle, like getting their company into a weekly ValPac or Penny Saver circular,” Rubin continues, “but it’s really a place to build loyalty, answer customer service questions and to build a community.”
Business Owners Dread It
According to a recent poll by medium.com, when asked “If you had an unlimited budget, which function of your business would you most like to outsource?” business owners answered “Social Media” 28.57% of the time (more than any other function). A surprising one in three business owners would rather outsource their social media than do it themselves.
You Must Keep Doing It
Developing new posts each day is a challenge, but to work for you, your social media accounts need to stay active. Love it or hate it, you must keep doing it — for many reasons. Links from social media channels (LinkedIn, Facebook etc.), are now a vital part of SEO. Rand Fishkin now places page-level and domain-level social signals in the top three search engine ranking factors.
According to recent research, 93% of business buyers believe that all companies should have a social media presence. While social media doesn’t often produce an abundance of leads, the ones it does produce tend to be high-quality (in other words, convert-and-buy).
So every negative thing you’ve heard about social media is probably true. But that doesn’t matter — the benefits are too compelling. The key is to listen, plan and monitor social media activities to maximize the opportunities for your business, while avoiding the pitfalls.
How To Stay Motivated
Rachel Sandall, writing in INHOUSS.COM, recommends several steps to help you stay motivated for social media tasks. Make it about the money — tracking your sales, traffic and growth will help you keep your head in the game.
Be selective with your platforms — use the few that work the best for your business. Try and narrow it down to two or three, and focus in on those.
Batch it and schedule it — Don’t waste time every day. Create all posts on one scheduled day each month.
Or just outsource it — It can all be done by someone else! And it’s not as expensive as you might think.
What Else You Can Do If Not Social Media?
WeServeValue.com, the food industry website, says go “Old School.” Consider using print, radio, postcard mailings, “welcome” mailer services, billboards, local trade shows, sponsoring events, and good old-fashioned networking, hand-shaking, business card dropping-off…you get the picture.
Some of these “old school” approaches are expensive, and difficult to determine ROI. But on the flip side, once you’ve them, social media marketing might start looking attractive again.