Social media can be a great opportunity to promote your business and deliver engaging content to your target audience. But, it could also be the hole in the bottom of your business that is making your boat sink.
Social media has long been a marketing buzzword for both large and small businesses in the New Century. What was once a free and easy platform is constnatly changing and updating almost daily, giving businesses a shape-shifting framework with which a watchful eye is always needed. What once was a simple and easy add-on for a team member, now is a full-time job for teams of social media managers and social media analysts. But is this sustainable and valuable?
In fact, many more businesses are now realizing some very real and hard lessons regarding social media. Blogs and free social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are proving too tempting a target for businesses who have no idea how to maximize those platforms. A proper social media strategy requires a heavy investment in both time and resources, both of which are in short supply for many small businesses.
Here are a few issues concerning social media that can quickly sink your businesses time and resources:
- Is a social media presence worth the trouble for a small business? The Internet can give a business instant international presence, which is great if you are a multi-national company with branches scattered around the globe. However, for a small business, the Internet can be overkill. For instance, if you are a single-store business in a medium-to-small size town, Internet marketing is 50% ego fulfillment and 50% wasted effort. In other words, your customers are local or regional, and they can best be reached by targeted local or regional advertising versus building a web presence.
- Social media requires constant change and updating. A business blog that rarely updates content, or a Twitter feed that serves only to push the company name and retweets more than it tweets may drive traffic and potential customers away. Social media must be dynamic to adhere to fluctuating audience interests, and to be dynamic, a business must be willing to put enough staff and resources into the project to make it successful. The important thing to keep in mind is that these efforts and resources are not just for today but for the long term.
- Social media must be interactive and must engage, in a positive way, with current or potential clients or customers. A fast way to kill your social presence is to ignore visitor comments or questions on your site, blog, or twitter feed. Social media by definition is social. What this means is you need to have staff dedicated to monitoring, replying to, and interacting with visitors and commenters on your social media platforms of choice. The guiding principal in any social media presence can be summarized as EEI – Entertain, Educate, and Interact.
- It’s not just about you. What this means is that you need to resist the urge to make your blog or other social media platform about your business to the exclusion of everything else. Consumers quickly tire of websites, blogs, twitter feeds and related social media sites that are chock-full of nothing but news, information, and PR press releases about your business to the exclusion of any other useful information. Give your clients interesting content that may or may not be directly applicable to your business. For instance, if your specialty is outdoor equipment, push outdoor activities, not just your latest outdoor product.
Social media can be a valuable tool for your business. However, social media will not work on auto-pilot, and it will not work unless you are willing to put the time, resources and staff into your social media presence to make it work.
Contact us for more information on how to make your social media presence a success.
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