10 Reasons Social Media Won’t Work For Your Small Business
Social Media, over the last number of years, has become an important part of online and mobile interaction as well as promoting offline businesses.
The well established platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn have become important communication tools for people as well as for business. Newer social media platforms have also become main stream, in the last year or so, including Pinterest, Instagram, Periscope, Snapchat, BeBEE plus many others.
Also, people of all ages and demographics are depending increasingly on their Smartphone as the prime devise for communication and entertainment, more so than computers and television.
As social media is the current state of the internet, the smartphone has become the main devise to access the internet.
The traditional mass media , television, radio, newspapers and magazines have embraced social media to promote and engage with their audiences and many corporates have integrated social into their marketing strategies.
Free to Use
One of the great benefits of social media, particularly for small businesses, is that it is free to use in the basic forms of the individual platforms.
The surprise to me is that many small businesses today either have not started to use social media, or have not done so effectively.
If you fall into these categories, (or have friends or colleagues that do) take a few minutes to scan this brief article to see if any of the ten reasons applies to you (or them).
Then consider what steps to take to avail of these channels of communication and networking to benefit your business (or their businesses).
1. You’re Not Using It!
Self explanatory perhaps!
You may think that social media is just “social” and no use for business. You can’t see the point in knowing that I’m having a cappuccino at the local coffee shop.
Marketing and Communications are Evolving – Rapidly
Business marketing, whether Business to Business (B2B) or Business to Consumer (B2C) has changed in the last few years. Social media has become an important ingredient in the marketing mix.
If you’re’ not using it you will be left behind by your competition who are.
2. You Have Social Media Platforms But Are Not Active
If you have taken the plunge and created social media links for your business, but are not active, don’t expect to see any real results.
It’s the same as putting up a billboard on a little used back alley, rather than on a busy highway.
Put another way, if you were given a large piece of IKEA furniture in a flat pack carton, unless you unpack the carton and build it you will not be able to make use of the furniture. (I know – if you're anything like me, I dread it when my wife Sandie or my daughter Nat arrives home and says “I’ve bought another large piece of IKEA furniture. I think to myself, “There goes the weekend.”)
But I digress.
The point is “nothing happens unless something happens” – by YOU .
3. You’re Not Engaging with Your Market with Your Social Media
Social media has the ability to achieve two way conversations and to form communities for your target audience.
It’s NOT just about promoting or selling.
It IS about asking, listening and conversing.
4. You Haven’t Developed A Strategic Plan For Your Social Media
Like any marketing you need a plan, to set goals and to measure results. Consider the social media platform/s that will best suit your business.
See what your most effective competitors are using in the way of social media and consider using them yourself.
5. You’re Trying To “Do It Yourself” With A Half Baked Strategy
Most small businesses are strapped for time. If you haven’t allocated sufficient time into your daily routine for social engagement, for yourself or others on your staff (if you have them), or finding it difficult to do so, then you may wish to invest in a professional social media facilitator, either to set it up and/or to provide an ongoing service for you.
6. You Don’t Have an Effective Website or Blog
It is possible to just to use social media as your only online “real estate,” if you integrate the channels you use effectively.
However to be able to provide good content and information about your company/product/service/brand, a well thought out website or blog are going to give you enhanced results. Particularly, if you have a planned sales/marketing funnel.
If you can’t afford a paid website you can use the free Producer section of the beBee Affinity Social Network that you’re reading this on.
7. You’re Not Sharing Helpful Content
A good way to attract clients/customers with social media is to position yourself as a valuable resource of knowledge and information.
Don’t just share your own content — be generous and share the information of others in your industry.
It’s a great way to build strategic alliances and make friends.
8. You Haven’t Given It Enough Time - Social Media Takes Time
Social Media marketing is about building relationships through engagement and relationships take time.
I recommend a minimum period of 90 days of significant social media activity to gauge reasonable results.
9. Your Product or Service Is Not Currently Selling Well With Your Current Marketing Methods
Social Media should not be seen as a magic bullet to save an ailing product or service.
However, it should become an integrated component of you overall marketing mix.
10. You’re Concerned That People Will Be Complaining About Your Business/Brand/Product/Service If You Embark on Social Media
If, after the preceding 9 points, you are concerned that you may open your business up to complaints and criticisms such as have been experienced by well known brands such as McDonald's and Qantas, you are absolutely correct.
There is a risk when you participate in social media.
However, whether you participate or not, the complaints and criticisms will still be going on. It just means that you won’t be aware of them and have no way of countering them or engaging on the issues raised though social media.
11. BONUS POINT: If Governments use Social Media – Why Not You
Most government departments in Australia, Federal, State and Local, have social media accounts. (as do governments around the world)
Links to Australian Federal and State government’s Social Media Platforms
If governments see the need for social media to interact with their constituencies, why not you to engage with your target audience.
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