We get asked a lot of questions from business owners, large and small, about the importance of social media. And though their individual needs might vary, there are certain things that come up time and again. As such, I thought it was a good time to take a moment and answer a few of them here. Just in case you've been wondering about them, too!
"I just need help setting up my social accounts, after that they just sort of run themselves, right?"
Um, no. This goes back to why you should be selective about which accounts you choose and how much work you are ready to take on. If you can only spare 10 minutes every other week, you're not going to have much success. This is especially true if you start with multiple social platforms.
Socials need to be active. You need to be on them for them to work. That means posting regularly, responding to people who reach out to you in a timely manner, pro-actively liking and sharing posts from others, and tagging people or places to possibly start new conversations. And that's just to start. In short, setting up accounts is the EASY part.
"I tried social media once and nothing happened. What's the point?"
This one is sort of a few questions merged into one. First, were you keeping your accounts active? That means posting frequently and with intention. Second, were you on the right platforms for your audience? (See Question #1 above)
If you answered "yes" to the above two items, then it could possibly be you didn't give it enough time and/or you weren't posting the right content. Growing an engaged audience is usually not something that happens overnight. Sure there are the occasional breakout products, but for the most part, the rest of us need to make friends with time and testing. Not every post is going to be a winner, but every post IS a learning experience. Having an editorial voice and strategy will also go a long way in setting you up for success from the start. (If you're not sure where to begin, we offer free consultations and services to help.)
As for what social media marketing can get you? Brand awareness, customer loyalty, inexpensive advertising, customer insight, better SEO...the list goes on. It's not whether you can afford to be on social media, it's more a question of can you afford not to be?
"Why do I need professional assistance? I already know how to use Facebook and Twitter for my personal accounts."
This is probably the biggest misconception when it comes to social accounts. Unless you're a media personality (and even then there are certain things you need to take into account), your business accounts need to be treated very differently. This is where having a strategic approach is crucial because what works on your personal accounts, might do nothing for your business - and could even actively hurt you.
While you want some personality coming through in your posts, topics like your political views or propensity to swear are probably better left to your personal accounts. In business, you can't just say what you want unless you're willing to alienate potential customers.
If that seems obvious (you'd be surprised how often it comes up), consider also that business accounts don't always function the same way as personal accounts. For example, Facebook limits the reach of business posts, so your strategy needs to adjust for that. And unlike your personal pages, you need to consider time of day, target audience, and what you're trying to accomplish with the post. Is it to get people to visit your site? Introduce your brand? Announce a sale? A post without purpose is a wasted opportunity.