Part 1: Are You Onboard?
The definition of social media is right in its name. It’s media distributed in a social manner that your customers can engage with.
So why are there so many companies that view it as just another advertising and distribution channel? So many small businesses just want to check that box, and say “Yeah, we’re doing social media”. However, just posting their lunch menus, TV commercials or coupons on their Facebook pages isn’t worth the effort without any sort of storytelling or engagement. Nobody will care, or worse, they probably won’t even see it.
Let me explain. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter want their users (your customers) to love their platforms. This means that if your content isn’t valuable to them, then they will stop showing it to people. In other words, it has to be special and valuable to people in order for you to develop an audience on social media.
Plain and simple, if you aren’t utilizing the incredible marketing and business development tools available to you as a small business owner, you’re losing. Even if you’re not losing right this second, you’re losing the long game. The reason is that everyone and I mean everyone, is researching a business online before they even think about calling or buying.
If somebody refers you to a friend of theirs, they’re going to go to Google and look you up first–if you don’t have good reviews, then they will probably look elsewhere. If you’re targeting consumers of any age and you don’t have an engaging Facebook page or Instagram page, they’re gone in about two seconds. They’re going to think you’re out of business.
This is the way our world works today. And you have to realize it’s changing every single second. If you think the way you marketed 20 years ago, 10 years ago, five years ago or even last year is going to work this year. It’s not. It’s changing too quickly.
You have to move fast if you have any desire to grow.
If you run a small business that needs growth or just to maintain relevancy, you can’t afford to shrug-off where people’s attention is. If you do, you’re going to be out of business in a couple of years.
Google is 21 years old. Facebook is 13 years old. YouTube is 12 years old. These platforms along with a handful of others are the most powerful business development tools on the planet– and if growth is really the goal, they should take up the majority of your marketing team’s attention. The days are gone where you can get away with having your 16-year old niece manage your Facebook, or hire a cookie-cutter industry platform to fire out the same post across all of your networks. People see through that shit–your customers see through that shit.
I get it, you don’t want to take on more things to do. Your company has too much on its plate to take on managing additional marketing initiatives. The problem is most small business owners are not looking at it the right way.
If you could invest in a new location to earn more revenue and eventual profit, would you? Of course, if you had the financing. Well, what if you could invest a little time and maybe just a little money into something that could generate revenue steadily for as long as you want to keep the gas pedal pegged?
That is marketing. Invest in it.
“A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.” – Henry Ford
Part 2: Please Don’t Be Lazy
There is a big market out there for “industry specialists” to manage all of your social media and digital advertising efforts. The problem is that most of them cannot provide you value for the simple fact that automation goes against the exact principles that make people want to visit local businesses – customer service.
How is an agency or program that posts the same industry news across all of its clients’ websites, blogs, Facebook pages, Instagram accounts, or Linkedin profiles going to help you take care of your customers?
Answer: they can’t
Having an automated cookie-cutter social media program isn’t going to bring you any new business or any increase in revenue. People are smart these days when it comes to advertising and marketing. They can sniff out lazy content in a matter of seconds. If you’re just making a blog post that’s distributed across your industry for everyone to share and expecting that Frank, your local customer, is going to give a shit, you’re wrong. You need to get personal, emotional, tell stories about your community. Film videos about what your business does. Show pictures of happy customers and what you do for them. Share testimonials, post reviews that people have given you. Throw customer appreciation events and have everyone tag you on Facebook and share it with their communities.
None of these things can be done with a cookie-cutter social media program. Social media does not work out of the box, you have to put effort into it if you want any sort of ROI.
If you want to grow your consumer-focused business beyond 2020, you better not just check that box. You better start to get active if you want to reap the incredible rewards of being a customer-focused, social media active company.
You want a checklist? Okay here you go:
- Find someone to work for you who can take fantastic pictures with his or her phone. Have that person take a picture or video every day of your business helping a customer.
- Pull $100-$1000/month from somewhere that is not generating any value and put it into Facebook advertising.
- Find 5-10 other local businesses that have active social media communities and come up with an event or promotion in which you both can share your audience’s attention.
There are three things that you could do today for your restaurant, car dealership, accounting firm, real estate business, doctors office, fitness facility, law firm, clothing store, pool cleaning business…..
I could go on forever. The point is that when you realize businesses are increasing stale revenue numbers just by getting creative with their social media, you can start to win.