- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On August 29, 2014
- Social media
The majority of small business owners would probably describe their social media campaign with one word: frustrating.
It’s not that engaging in social media is difficult. It’s not. In fact, all of the major platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest) are very user-friendly, even for the less than computer savvy. It’s that running a campaign and successfully registering results are two completely different animals.
Many small businesses are frustrated with social media marketing because they’re not getting the results they hoped for.
In this post I’ll explore the myths and reality of social media marketing for small businesses. Some will tell you social is the way of the future and others will protest vehemently that it’s a complete waste of time. The truth, of course, lies somewhere in the middle.
Reining in expectations
The web is jam-packed with articles touting social media marketing as the next best thing since sliced bread. Spend ten minutes a day posting links to relevant industry news and occasionally upload a photo of your staff playing in a charity golf tournament and hoards of new clients will burst through your doors before you can click the “Like” button.
The truth is that social media marketing, even at its peak efficiency, should be a cog in your marketing machine and not an excuse for putting all your eggs into one basket.
It’s an easy trap to fall into. After all, the prospect of generating new business with little to no capital investment is quite the carrot to dangle in front of any business owner, but without a doubt, setting realistic goals is the first step towards making your campaign successful.
Understanding return business and customer loyalty
Any small business owner knows that one of the top performing techniques for driving new sales is good old-fashioned word of mouth. For this reason, the whole concept of using social media to sell your services makes absolute sense. Instead of having a handful of people talking about your business, the message can easily reach hundreds or even thousands.
And this is great! It really is.
But the reality is that the bulk of your social media followers will be comprised of people who are already somewhat familiar with your brand. In the beginning, most new revenue generated through social media marketing will be in the form of return business and developing customers with a stronger loyalty to your brand.
Your primary goal should be to connect on a deeper level with the customers who already know you. Once this bond is solidified, then you will start seeing new clients pop up from your fans’ expanded circles.
Some guiding principles
I’m not trying to discourage you from social media marketing. No matter what your business is, you’ll miss out on opportunities by ignoring social media, period.
The point is simply that you can’t expect overnight miracles. Social media marketing takes time…and patience. But it does work.
Here are three tips that will help your business maximize social media marketing ROI:
- Make sure your efforts are integrated: Links to every social media platform you utilize need to be clearly and easily located on every piece of marketing you put out, including of course your company website.
- Think helping and not selling: The quickest method for encouraging followers to engage with and share your content is to make that content very useful. Delivering a compelling sales offer via social media once in a while is fine, but you should not pitch to your followers every day or they will soon lose interest. Look for chances to inform, educate, delight and entertain.
- Think of social media as a skill and not a job: Many companies designate a single employee to manage social media but ideally every member of your organization should have some involvement. Social media is a new way to communicate with your customers and potential customers. Every member of your team should know how to do that effectively.
- Track metrics: Start measuring from day one. You’re not going to know what is working and what is not if you don’t measure. Some platforms work much better for some businesses than others. A small difference in messaging can make a big difference in ROI. You will only notice if you are constantly measuring. See this post for some basic metrics to measure in your digital marketing.
If you’re interested in how to use social media to generate more revenue, grab our ebook below.