We get it – small businesses want to minimize their overhead costs. So it’s easy to assign posting an update or a photo on social media to an entry level millennial. We know how to do the internets, right? After all it’s something we do in our spare time anyways. Let me explain why this is a dangerous mindset for small businesses.
1. You underestimate the value and power of social media.
Here’s a quick look at some of the statistics compiled by the wonderful people at Social Media Examiner (2017 Industry Report):
- Is it social media important? 92% of marketers agree.
- How much time is spent on average? 64% use social media for 6+ hours and 41% for 11+ hours weekly.
- What are the some of the top benefits of SMM? Increased exposure (88%), increased traffic (78%), developed loyal fans (69%).
(Side note: I highly recommend signing up for SME’s newsletter, whether you are a marketer or not. I hate spam just as much as you do, and trust me when I say that you don’t want to miss out on the valuable insight consistently provided by SME. And I’m not sponsored to say this.)
You might be saying to yourself right now, “That’s great and all, but will it bring me more revenue?” Short answer: social media elevates your exposure and brand recognition. You have to use social media correctly in order to see a change in sales. That’s it, that’s the big secret.
Marketing and sales are related, but they are not the same. Marketing brings people to the top of your sales funnel, and it’s your go-getter sales team will close the deal. This is not a departure from traditional marketing – a TV ad brings brand and product recognition. Sales is a potential result of that recognition.
So where does social media fit into this? It’s a low-cost, highly effective modern media to let your consumers know about your business, your brand, and its offerings. I emphasize low-cost because posting an ad on Facebook is significantly cheaper than purchasing billboard space, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less valuable. Especially in today’s society.
— Mr. Clean (@RealMrClean) January 27, 2017
With all that in the balance and the potential for social media to transform your business, should your business possess a casual attitude behind it’s social media marketing strategy?
2. You are not seeing desired results.
Problem: You’ve posted your holiday hours on your channels, yet customers still show up at the door wondering why you aren’t open.
Solution: Use social media as just that – social media. A huge component of using this tool effectively for your business is to visualize your channels as cocktail parties, not a soap box. You have to interact with people to get their attention. The ability to cultivate a direct relationship with your customers is a huge development in marketing, which social media has helped to bring to the forefront. Where is the first place that people go to when they want to complain publically about a company? The likely answer is Twitter.
As with any relationship building IRL, this requires a significant amount of time invested to see a desired result, which leads me to my next point.
3. Your finite resources are being wasted.
Your receptionist/assistant/office manager/fill-in-the-blank will only have 8 hours in their workday (assuming an average working environment and average multitasking capabilities) with many administrative tasks of varying importance throughout the day. Let’s assume they spend a minimum of one hour throughout the day to post, check the feeds, and respond to comments. Your feeds are fine, they are maintained, but they aren’t making a big impact on your day-to-day business. You’re not generating leads, your reach isn’t increasing, and your bottom line isn’t changing. At this point, why pay for hours of work that isn’t giving you a visible return. You’re better off giving an extra hour of lunch. They’ll come back in the afternoon in a better mood and more productive; further, you’re cutting your costs without sacrificing non-social media work product (emails will still be sent, phones will still be answered, and copies will still be made).
4. You are splitting your
employee’s team member’s focus. (I’m a proud millennial – we’re resistant to traditional paradigms of hierarchy.)
Here’s a quick game of tetris for grown ups. Try to fit these tasks into one work day:
- drafting documents and correspondence
- answering telephones
- scheduling appointments and calendar management
- invoicing and general finance management
- files management
- taking minutes for meetings and sending to appropriate parties
- preparing reports
- receiving and directing visitors
- managing office equipment
- maintaining a clean working environment
- making coffee??
Totally doable, right? NBD. Now add these:
- drafting social media copy
- sourcing content to post
- photography/videography directing
- creative collateral drafting (most likely using Adobe products)
- posting multiple times on multiple platforms throughout the day
- checking feeds and notifications frequently on said multiple platforms
- responding to social media comments
- cultivating a brand image and digital community
- updating and maintaining company website
- email newsletter drafting and layout
- maintaining email lists
- A/B testing
- analytics analysis
You could probably add a couple more things on there, and I don’t doubt that there are commendable people who can do all this and more in eight hours. I’ve got a couple questions: should you expect quality work for each task throughout those eight hours? Is it likely that a task will be performed at a level that you won’t be happy with? Is it likely that your team member will be unhappy in the workplace?
Now be honest, not every team member is a superhero with lightning speed.
I’ll leave you with a final thought.
Quality social media does not come at minimum wage.
If you are lumping social media marketing with administrative positions, you’re clipping your own wings. Gone are the days of Myspace and Friendster. 2017 demands a better understanding and business savvy behind using social media.
Unwilling to invest in social media marketing right now? That’s okay. The internet isn’t going anywhere.