Yesterday, I was on Facebook when I came across the page for a small coffee shop I used to go to all the time. The coffee shop had posted a poll asking if they should continue using Facebook. There was a resounding 'NO' from the followers, but it got me thinking.
Should small businesses be bothering with social media?
Yeah, I get it. It's time-consuming and most of the time we're not even sure if it's working. As an entrepreneur, there is already so much to do, and unless social networking comes naturally, we don't want to spend the little time we do have on something that might not even be worth it.
The truth is, social media marketing success depends on a lot of different factors, including: what you're selling, who you're selling to, and how you're selling it. It should be used as a tool to supplement your other marketing efforts, because very few companies actually succeed just using social media.
The key to determining if social media is worth it for your small business is to understand that it's all about brand awareness, NOT sales.
If you have that expectation, you can make better choices about using social media. Or better yet, you can design your posts with more effectiveness. Let's take a look at some different perspectives to help you determine if it is worth it for your business.
When it's NOT Worth it:
Look at the average small business, especially those in home services, and you will see a large handful of their posts about some sort of direct call to action. "Electrical problems can be everywhere, CALL Jones Electric today!" or something similar. However, those type of posts are generally a waste of time and effort. It is EXTREMELY rare for a post like that to actually lead to a sale.
As we said before, pumping effort into social media is no small task for the small business owner. So, if you're spending time posting "sales calls" or worse, if you're paying someone to make posts like that, you're absolutely wasting your time and money.
Another common waste is when a small business uses social media platforms that their target market does not take part in. If you're a home services business on TikTok, you're likely throwing money down the drain. Homeowners are who have the money and need for your services are not likely on a platform designed primarily for those under 25.
When it IS Worth it:
In most cases, using social media to drive traffic to your website, generate an email list, or engaging and building relationships with your online community have real value.
Social sites, such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram are excellent tools to push people towards your website, where people are more likely to make purchases (if you sell your product online).
We suggest creating a blog and announcing the post with a link to your site on your social sites! Just make sure that your social media drives audiences to a good-looking website, with useful and consistent content. Or work with your web designer to craft landing pages for effective conversions.
Another way to use social media is to build a list of contacts that you can send event invites to events or other important announcements.
Keeping in communication with your followers through informal social media interactions, comments, and feedback solicitations can be another useful way to gather information about how your product/services are perceived.
Design your posts to be more personable and "real" rather than just marketing mumbo-jumbo. People will respond, interact, or otherwise remember your brand with something personable far more than a random call to action.
Ultimately, social media is a fantastic way to learn and tailor your product to optimally meet the needs of your target market... but only if you do it the right way and lower your sales expectations.
If you're still unsure about if social media would be a boon for you, a business advisor, like Out of the Box Advisors, is a great place to start!
If you have questions about how to use social media to market your products! Check out our post on how hiring a business advisor can save you time and money. Also, you can always schedule a free consultation with one of our fantastic coaches and pick their brains about it!