Seven years ago, social media was considered the red headed stepchild of marketing. That was 7 years ago, now, because of Apple and the splendid smart phone generation, social media has become “the” instrument for lead generations, captivation and interaction for all businesses big and small.
What we once considered a dating service as this was the sole intention of social media, we now look to social media as our link to the outside world and everyone’s world that is connected to us. Social media has become “the” thing that everyone is personally invested in, a spider web of connections, relationships and a way to get into the world of social networking on all levels, this has changed everything. As a business owner if you are not implementing social media into your company or small business’ marketing plan, then you are missing out and the world’s most inexpensive and effective marketing tool there is.
True of False?
I’m afraid to have my staff manage our social media because they are just going to play on the Internet all day. False and maybe true, and here’s why.
This is somewhat valid, but mostly false. The first mistake most companies make when putting together a social media campaign is the lack of a social media policy. It might seem silly, but in all fairness it is vital in ensuring you are sheltered and making sure that every crumb of content that is posted on the Internet is in accordance to your guidelines as a business owner. There is a certain moral that is expected when posting content related to your business. You obviously don’t want your employees to post personal photos of themselves unrelated to your business and you want to make certain that the language used on any or all of your social media is appropriate etc… Business social media posts are infinitely diverse from personal posts, and if you have a sole social media marketing person in your office that does just that, you want to make sure they are the only posting relevant, consistent and unique content that is worthy to your cause and appropriate to your business. CREATE a social media policy before even considering a social media campaign and if you are a small business that is delegating your social media posts to a team member make sure that they aware of the social media policy and have everyone on your staff sign off on a document called “xxxx’s Social Media Policy”. If this policy is closely followed by your designated person, then there is not much time to deviate from the task at hand. Yes, your employee is going to be on the internet posting to social media sites, but this is their job and what they are posting and what they are doing will be quite evident as you the business owner have ownership over all social media sites and interaction and have complete access to what is being said or not said about your brand/business. Quite honestly, if you are over-concerning yourself with whether or not your employee is using their social media marketing position to their advantage and wasting company dollars then you are not busy enough as a business owner. But to offset any confusion or concern, make sure to set in place a social media policy.
NOTE: some things to consider when writing a Social Media Policy, here are some highlights of important items to outline:
- Purpose/Policy Statement
- Social Media Platforms to be Used
- Social Media Tools – What products will you be using ie. Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, Foursquare etc..
- Purpose of Social Media– Be clear about why you are using social media
- Roles and Responsibility – if there is more than one personal managing the SM be clear as to who is responsible for what
- Moderation/Maintenance – how often are posts made and on what platforms
- Protect Confidential & Proprietary Info
- Implementation/Monitoring/Review- review and re-visit the social media policy in xx number of days/months
Here are some examples of social media policies from various companies and organizations, click here.
Facebook and Twitter have have nothing to do with my business. False, False, False!
ALL social media has EVERYTHING to do with your business! Big or small, your business has a voice and if you want your voice to be heard, there is only one way to do this in a really big fashion, that’s through social media. To be clear, it’s not just about having your voice heard, it is also about being seen, being found and connecting and interacting with your consumers. There is nothing more influential than giving your consumers a voice, they want to be heard and most of the time they want everyone to know how awesome you really are. Social media can benefit your company in a multiplicity of ways. For example, you can advertise specials or promotions, you can inspire your consumers to check in to your business with Foursquare, Facebook or YELP and they can win a prize; you can find new consumers through your existing consumers that follow you and check in; give tips, reply to posts and reviews and personalize your business! Social media is your connection to the outside world, and it is FREE! Not only does social media help you connect it also helps with your SEO (search engine optimization) in being found on Google. Google has measured relevant and unique content on your social media sites as “bot” worthy. Which means, when you post on your various social media sites Google bots will seize any new and unique content on those sites, which then pushes you up in your Google ratings. The more places you are listed as a business the easier you will be found on Google, and we know how much everyone wants to be on page 1 of Google, it’s the holy grail of marketing! Look at SM as your third arm; it’s your way of organically reaching out into the world and allowing your business to be found, to be heard and to be seen.
I want my social media person to just post one time a week just as long as it is something, I don’t care what they post. FALSE and this is a horrible approach.
First of all, you want to make sure that before you are posting anything to the Internet in your social media feeds, you want to make sure that it is relevant, appropriate and unique. In order to ensure consistency, appoint or hire someone to maintain your social media marketing if you haven’t already. By having a designated person to maintain your social media presence you can have a stronger more consistent message to your consumers. Moreover, create a social media tactical plan before even attempting any social media posting and creation. It is key to ensuring a successful social media campaign and relates to how your social media marketing person functions in their position. Otherwise, it will be like running a marathon without training. You have to plan for the unforeseen and make sure you are maximizing your social media marketing person’s time properly. Otherwise, you will just be wasting your time and company’s money by throwing away potential lead generation by not having a tactical plan on how to effectively capture your audience through social media. Posting just anything will do absolutely nothing but lead your lofty aspirations of social media to ruin. Remember: the initiative of social media is to institute a permanent and growing rapport with a company or brand’s audience by encouraging audience communication. In order to harvest the largest advantage from each facet of social media, each channel included into the campaign must be strategically planned in terms of the timing, relevance and originality. Follow this guideline and you will be on your way to a successful SM campaign.
If I post videos to YouTube about my services will this help my business? Yes and True!
YouTube is your biggest ally when it comes to social media and SEO. YouTube is owned by Google which means, they love your YouTube videos. YouTube is the most underrated social media site by most small companies simply because they think it’s just a place to watch funny videos. Wrong! YouTube is yet another link to the outside world and your chance to literally show them what you’ve got. I have a client that is HVAC repair guy and we were putting together a social media campaign for him, one of things we talked about was making a video about how to change out an air filter on a furnace unit. His first reaction was, if everyone sees my video then they wouldn’t need me to show them how to do this. This is a common mentality but what he was missing was, you are showing someone how to do something which might seem very insignificant and easy to you but might be overwhelming to someone else. In return, this creates legitimacy for your business and the more views you have, the better your ratings are with Google. Videos are paramount to your social media campaign and you can post these videos directly to your website and to your other social media sites. Not only does this benefit your social media rankings it automatically makes people relate to you and trust you! It’s great PR for you company and it will help in your overall ratings online and through Google! Say, Yes to YouTube!
In the end, social media is what you make it; this is YOUR social networking community! But don’t underestimate the power of social networking; this is your way as a business owner to get your name or brand noticed! Not only does this give you more exposure it also allows you to be heard and to hear what your consumers are saying about you and to you as a business. This is vital data, which will in turn assist you with future marketing campaigns and also help you manage your quality control. If you are doing something right then build upon that, if you are doing something that someone doesn’t like then learn from this and make it right and respond appropriately! More importantly, in business, social media is a link building community where you can link up with consumers you might not have been able to reach before. If you put together a solid social media policy and tactical plan and find a person to designate to this task, you are already three steps ahead of businesses that are scratching their heads trying to figure it out. Just like anything else in a business you have to plan and as social media continues to dominate the marketing world, you will be one step ahead of your competition by taking the appropriate steps to prepare yourself accordingly. Don’t be intimidated by social media, it can be fun and if you are having fun with it professionally it will show in your posts and trust me, consumers will love it and want to connect with you!