I was contacted lately by several small business owners asking for help to start or increase their social media presence. Here’s what most of them have in common, and my point of view:
1. Consider social media another way of advertising.
Well, there is for a reason why is called social media: because it is social!
If you have a B2C business, keep in mind that many people are on these websites to socialize, have fun, learn something or connect with new people. Mainly, on social media websites (facebook, Linkedin, twitter, etc.) people do not want to read promo ads over and over from the same company: it’s the easiest way to loose their interest… and this will be your company’s social media ROI! (not the one you’ve expected, isn’t it?!) Plus, it creates a bad image for your business… that you’re interested only in selling your products or services. Potential clients like to be treated well, not as a money machine.
For B2B businesses it’s even more critical to not use social media only for advertising. There are more effective ways to reach out to get clients, if you love advertising so much.
Communicating with other business’ representatives, learn about their business, share resources and information could build trust via social media. When trust and credibility is in place, it is much easier to do business. You can even take if off line at that point.
2. “I want to do it this way!”
I’m just curious: if they already know what they want, why they ask me for help?! I am open to other points of view, but I also know that some social media strategies might work better than others for a specific product, service, and the personality of the small business owner. If they are not open to hear about what I have to say, how much time should I spend with them?!
3. “I don’t have time for social media”
This is my favourite! 🙂 Do they have time to worry about not having enough business? About the competition? To allow others to shape a certain online image of their business, instead of creating and sustaining the image they want? Or to let their competition to meet people online, who could become their clients if that had a good online presence?
Social media for business does not require spending there 24 hours each day. The most important is consistency of the business image in time and content value, so perseverance is more important than frequently updates.
4. “I would like you to create and maintain the social media presence of my business for me.”
While I wouldn’t mind to take their money, I am also aware of what people read between the lines. What you say in your social media presence could portray a certain image that tides very well (or not!) with your personality, brand, values, products and services. Unfortunately (or fortunately?!) no one else could know that better than you!
Plus, on social media you should share things that might interest your (potential) clients: articles, educate them how to make better choices in your field, and even add something that reflects your personality. And, from time to time present your services, products, discounts in a non intrusive way (tip: creative ways are much well received!). In fact, when we choose between two similar products from different companies we go with the one that inspired us more trust, and who’s representative we like more, don’t we?!
The time you instruct someone like me about all these, and keep me updated (so I can continue to represent well your business on social media), you will be better off to do it yourself.
Not to mention the interaction that is expected on social media: who else could do that better than you? You have much more knowledge about your business than anyone else! And you reflect the best your business! I have to mention again the role that personality plays in social media, even related to business; we do business with people, not with an abstract concept called “Business X”!
5. “I want fast results!”
Who doesn’t?! 🙂 But it’s not how social media works usually.
Social media (done the right way) is great for building trust and credibility, which in time could lead to sales and new clients. Even in social media slow and steady wins the race!
These being said, I still love to help small business owners design they social media strategies based on their personality, target market, the specifics of their business and … the amount of time they want to spend on it! They also have to be open to learn something new; it’s part of their own growth and helps the business grow too!
What do you think about this topic?
PS: Some people do not consider e-newsletter part of social media, but I do! It’s a great way for businesses to build trust, credibility and gain referrals in time.