1. It is important. As of June 2010, social media accounts for one in every 4.5 minutes spent online, according to Nielsen. New studies indicate that by 2015, 94 % of smart phone users will communicate through social networks, outranking voice and text. So if it’s worth having a presence online at all for your business, it would seem worth having some form of social media strategy as part of your marketing plan.
1.5 It’s not going away.
2. It’s not that hard. As with any form of marketing or networking, social media takes resources (either time or money or both). However, I’m sure you participate in other methods of marketing or networking and invest the appropriate resources to do so.
Social media gets somewhat of a bum rap because some initially touted it as “free” marketing. Then people who had no idea what they were doing tried this “free” marketing avenue without reading one article or getting any advice, and immediately decided social media “doesn’t work”.
It’s not free, but it’s not rocket science either. Set a goal, pick a platform, develop a strategy, implement said strategy, measure whether you’re meeting the goals and either adjust or continue. Be consistent. Be real. Have fun. Is that so difficult?
3. It doesn’t have to take up every minute of your day. While you may be intimidated wondering how you’re ever going to find TIME for social media (after all, you’re busy running a business, right? Who has time for Facebook?), there are many tools out there that can help you use your social media time efficiently. You might spend a couple of hours writing blog posts and schedule them to automatically post over the weeks or months ahead. You can use various tools, such as Hootsuite, to post to multiple platforms from the same location. Sometimes it’s just a matter of coming up with a system. But for most small business owners, social media doesn’t need to take more than 10-20 minutes a day, and some of it can be done from your mobile phone while you’re waiting for a meeting. You could do that, right?
4. Every platform is not appropriate for your business. Each platform has strengths and weaknesses. For example, Facebook is great for business to consumer and building a local base (or even a national base). But it can be a bit more difficult for building business connections. For that, you might want to use LinkedIn. Whatever platform you’re going to use, you need to come up with your marketing strategy first, then choose the tool that will serve your goals.
5. It’s okay to jump in and give it a go. There is no social media police who’s going to show up at your door if you do it “wrong”. Even among social media “gurus”, there’s a great deal of debate as to what constitutes “right” and “wrong” in social media. I’m sure you’ve made other mistakes in business and survived. So do a little bit of learning or get some help and get started, which brings me to my next point…
6. It’s okay to get help. Everything you need to know about social media is probably somewhere on the internet. But you probably don’t have time to put into wading through all of that, figuring out what’s important and what’s not (see #3). Since time is money, it’s worth it to find someone you can trust to get you started down the right path. You don’t need to hire someone to completely take over the social media part of your marketing (although you can), but spending a few hours with someone who can help you map out a strategy will save you a lot of time and frustration and make #5 a bit easier to do.
If you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them. Simply leave them in the comments below or use our contact page to send them to me through email.