As my IRL (In Real Life) friends get a better understanding of what I do for work—it’s not just building web sites any more—they often ask me questions about whether having a Facebook page for their business or improving their LinkedIn profile is really going to have any kind of impact on their business.
I’ll often share anecdotal evidence of flyte’s experience since we got into social media, and some of our clients’ success stories as well. Sometimes I see the glimmer of possibility in their eyes, other times they just wave the whole thing off as something that might work for "geeky" business like mine, but it wouldn’t work for their business.
If you’re not currently using social media marketing in your business, it’s probably because of one—or all—of these four reasons:
- You don’t see the value. Facebook is for catching up with college buddies and old flames. Twitter is for B-list celebrities and NBA stars. LinkedIn is interesting, but you haven’t ever gotten any real business out of it.
When I review flyte’s Google Analytics I can see that social media sites such as Twitter, StumbleUpon and others are generating an increasing amount of site traffic and business. Further, I can track specific jobs to our social media activity.
A friend of mine who runs a burrito shop tweets specials when lunch is a little slow and invariably brings enough foot traffic into the store to hit his daily goals. A client of mine uses a blog to increase search engine traffic and drive business…he’s a divorce lawyer. Is there anything less geeky than burritos or divorce?
- You’re not comfortable with technology. Social media marketing may be delivered via computers and mobile phones, but it’s not about the technology. It’s about delivering value. If you can send an email or put together a Word document then you have all the skills you need to blog or tweet.
Even if you’re not an especially gregarious person and you don’t do well in networking situations, social media lets you network on your own terms, in a way that can keep you in your comfort zone.
- You can’t find the time, or you’re too busy running your business. While there are tools and strategies to manage your time with social media activities, you need to keep in mind that this is marketing, and marketing is how you build your business.
Sure, social media can be a distraction, especially if you’re running TweetDeck in a second monitor all day long, (guilty!) but the time you spend on social media today can bring in tomorrow’s business.
Try carving out 15 – 30 minutes each day to work on a blog post. Use slow times in the store to tweet with customers and prospects. Blow off that weekly BNI or Rotary meeting where you see the same two dozen people to create a video that answers your prospects most common questions and upload it to YouTube.
- You don’t know where to start. Although not everyone agrees with me, I’m a big fan of getting a blog in place. Just about every social media site gives you the ability to link to at least one outside source; make it your blog. That way, you can continue the conversation with anyone who wants to make a deeper contact. Plus, a blog has search engine benefits that a lot of social media sites lack.
In fact, the best place to start might be in doing a keyword analysis, so you can determine which keyword phrases your customers and prospects are using at the search engines to find products and services like yours.
This simple market research can help focus your blog topics and drive your social media strategy.
These days most small businesses understand the value of search engine optimization; but because everyone understands the value, SEO has become a necessity, not a competitive advantage.
In a few years (or is it a few months?) most small businesses will see the value of social media as well, and then it too will become a necessity, not a competitive advantage.
Now is the time to act; not foolheartedly and without foresight, but with small but deliberate steps to engage with your customers, build brand loyalty, and gain a competitive advantage.