Most businesses are convinced today that social media should be a vital part of their overall marketing strategy. Because of the great results some companies (big or small) have been able to achieve through social media, the suspicion curtain is starting to fall and the resistance for this medium is starting to disappear despite of the many hollow studies that claim that social media doesn’t work.
A major problem that small business owners face with social media marketing is that it takes lots of their time. It’s true that you can do several things to invest your time only on things that bring in the most results, but it still takes some time. If you ask many business owners or even social media marketers, they’ll all tell you that managing your social profiles is a time suck, especially when you have a considerable following. The problem that arises then is whether social media management is one of the tasks that bring in either short or long term results or NOT!
To be honest with you, many business owners believe that social media management is more of a mandatory task to appear active then it is to drive business. They just don’t get the idea of how tweeting and posting status updates everyday is going to be responsible for sales, even long term. Except when they’re using social media for customer service, many see that replying, mentioning, thanking, RT, deleting spam…etc is just a big waste of time.
Why Social Media Management Has Such A Bad Reputation When It Comes To Driving Business?
1- There Is Very Little Proof That It Works
I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but I have never stumbled on a case study that proves that social media management works in terms of driving sales. There are hundreds when it comes to advertising, contests or any other social media marketing tactic, but I believe there are none for management. The reason for this is that it’s really hard to determine the effectiveness of your management (The ROI Dilemma). You can’t know for sure whether your tweet, reply, mention or DM were responsible for the sale!
2- The Lack Of Marketing Skills Of So-Called GURUS!
The other reason is that many people who do social media management have no background whatsoever in online marketing. They just know what to do, but never why. They claim that they can do wonders for clients, but eventually, no good results will come out of their efforts.
3- The Expectation Of Small-Business Owners
How am I supposed to blame a small-business owner whose time is really valuable when even large companies CEOs are skeptical of the whole social media marketing thing? People think that social media has an instant ROI, and that’s what leads them to disappointment when they don’t see it.
I worked with clients who were excited about social media and thought that they’ll start seeing sales from day one. I always educate them and let them know that this isn’t the case with social media. Social media isn’t a traditional medium for a reason. It’s because its true ROI isn’t in the quick buck that you make when using other marketing approaches. Its true ROI is in increasing awareness and developing likeability of your brand over the long term. So stop thinking of social media as a direct marketing approach, because I can tell you that it’s more than that.
So Is It True That Social Media Management Doesn’t Drive Business?
The reason it doesn’t drive business for many small-business owners is because they do what I call “Passive Social Media Management”. What this means is that they just REACT instead of ACTING. Let me explain this.
If all it is you’re doing on your social profiles is pushing content and reacting to people’s interaction with it, then how are you expecting to make sales. You’ll never start seeing business results from your management efforts unless you work strategically!
Management isn’t just about posting interesting content and replying to people. It’s all about implementing your overall strategy to reach specific goals. If all it is you’re doing is posting randomly and counting interactions (a robot can do that by the way), then I’m sorry, because that won’t lead to any business growth. It’ll only lead to disappointment and a huge waste of resources.
How Do I Ensure I’m Doing “Active Social Media Management”
If you want to profit from your social media management efforts, then you need to focus on the things that will bring in business results. Here are 3 tips to help you do that:
1- Promote Your Products And Services
You can’t believe how many small-businesses do social media just to APPEAR active!
Appearing active isn’t a business goal. Making more sales IS!
We’re on social media to educate, entertain and eventually sell (ClickToTweet)
No matter what fancy stories you heard about social media, I can assure you that it’s not “Plato’s Ideal City”.
You have to promote your products and services, not in an annoying way, but in a way that doesn’t turn your prospects OFF. The rule of thumb is educating/entertaining 80-90% of the time and leave the rest (10-20%) for promotions. Remember, people need repeated exposure to your promotional messages in order for them to make a purchasing decision, so by constantly promoting your products/services, you’re going to make sure that they receive that repeated exposure.
The trick to promoting on social media is to put your messages into a conversational style. You don’t just push the messages, but you should let the features of your products/services start conversations for you and speak for themselves. Your posting strategy should also go with your promotional strategy. Let the updates you’re posting (whether yours or someone else’s) solve a very annoying problem that your prospects might have. This way you can easily start targeted conversations with people who have retweeted or commented on the educational post and soft-sell them your product or service.
2- Include Your Insightful Feedback
The real difference between passive and active managers is that the latter do things that robots can’t do. If you’re managing your profiles the way any robot or software can do it, then why you waste your time?
If you want to get real results from your management, try to include a personal opinion on each tweet you put out there. Whether it is an interesting point the article publisher has discussed, an addition to what they said or a completely different opinion, you should try and put a note with your tweet. I know it’s hard on Twitter with just 140 characters, but with time, you’re going to learn how to do it more effectively. Many people are afraid of doing this, but I can tell you that if you don’t know much about your industry, then you don’t deserve to be in it.
If you’re wondering of how your insightful feedback is going to bring you more business, then here are 2 benefits:
• You’re going to get noticed by the blogger or journalist who has published the post. They usually scan through their retweets and respond only to the ones with insightful feedback or question. This will get you under their radar so you don’t only get them to check your products and services, but also get them to recommend you if they find that you provide value.
• You’re going to be perceived as a market leader who knows what they’re talking about. This will increase your trust factor and make people curious to check what you have to offer.
3- Post Information That Speaks Your Products Voice
As I told you before, your posting strategy should go hand in hand with your promotional strategy. It’s ok to go off topic from time to time so people don’t get bored of your same messages and leave, but most of your posts should really speak the benefit of your products and services.
If you’re a social media manager for example, you should be posting why hiring a social media manager is a must, how proper social media management is done, how to make more sales from Twitter, how to do customer service via social media…etc. These posts will work better if they’re published by another person who your audience might perceive as a thought leader. This will remove you from the frame of being the bad marketer who’s just trying to lie a lie and believe it
You might also leave some room to interesting off topic posts just so you don’t lose your audience interest. If you do a good mix of educational, entertaining, promotional, off topic and personal messages, then I can assure you that all of your social media management effort won’t go unrewarded.
So what do you do to ensure an “ACTIVE” social media management on your profiles?
Image Credit: nicolasnova