Four Common Small Business Social Media Questions
|Photo Credit: walknboston|
1. What social media should I do?
Look at it this way: What do your customers do? There are two parts to this. First, what social networks do your customers use? Second, what do your customers like to do on the internet? Your real goal is integration: tie all your online activities together. You don’t want people just to fan your Facebook page, you want them to go to your website, then possibly give you a call. Jeremiah Owyang has a couple of charts to help you choose the right channel based on their social networking integration features as they relate to your customers’ online habits.
However, social media is more than just a Facebook page or a LinkedIn Profile. Don’t forget about blogs, online video and focused social networks. To help you decide what channel is right for you, check out my previous article: Social Media: What to do for your business
2. How much time should I spend on social media?
It would be easy for me to say it depends, but I won’t do that to you. If you are going to use social media as an active marketing tool, then you need to be present on social media every day that your business is open. And you probably need to spend 15-30 minutes a day…at least.
Why? One, because the key word in social media is “social.” That means you need to be interacting with your network, you need to be social. Two, social media tools like Facebook and Twitter work mostly in real time stream of social-ness. When someone fires up Facebook and Twitter they seen the most recent posts from their network. If you want to be seen by your network, then you need to be posting frequently throughout the day. I usually recommend posting something at least four times a day. But have a time management plan before you jump in. HubSpot advises that you not gorge yourself on social media and Chris Brogan has some advice on how to schedule your social media time.
Look for tools that make your job easier. You don’t have to post everything to social media live. You can use tools like HootSuite to schedule future social media activity.
3. Will social media make me money?
Directly? Most likely not. Your customers don’t join social networks so that businesses can sell them stuff. But it is possible. Home furnishing boutique Layla Grayce has a shop on their Facebook page using the Shop Tab application, available to businesses for as little as $10 a month. But again, don’t forget the social part. Layla Grace doesn’t just sell stuff on their Facebook page, they engage fans, solicit feedback, even post personal pictures.
Probably the best way to make money from social media is the long-term approach. Social media can boost customer loyalty if you engage your social media network. Make customers feel like they are part of your tribe. Talk to them, solicit feedback, give advice.
4. How long will social media last?
Meaning: How long will this social media craze be around as a viable marketing tool? You need to know. If social media is a fad that fades away in another year or two, then maybe you shouldn’t be wasting so much time on it now. My opinion is that social media will be around for a while. I like this answer from Mischa Danaceau to this very same question on LinkedIn
“I think this is like asking how long will Rock & Roll last. Rock and Roll was an evolution of popular music that took advantage of electrical instruments.
Social media is an evolution of networking that is taking advantage of today’s technology. As the technology evolves, so will the social media sites, and if they do not, new ones will pop up in their place. I think it is fair to say that social media is here to stay.”
Agreed. Facebook and blogging may some day go away, but the social aspect of the Internet is here to stay as long as the Internet doesn’t fundamentally change. That means social media will be a viable marketing tool for the foreseeable future, even as it continues to evolve.
Speaking of evolution, it doesn’t happen as quickly as marketers would have you believe. Marketers are always looking for the next best thing because we need to be ready for it. But you should not be on the next best thing, because you need the current best thing. Spend your marketing time and dollars where people are now, not where they will be in a couple of years.
So, how would you answer these questions? Are there other social media questions on your mind?
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