Why Small Businesses Give Up On Social Media
By John Debar
I am learning that many small business owners have the wrong idea about social media. Some have bought into the "promised land" idea--expecting that they would have access to millions of people once they published their Facebook page. Others view social media marketing as a circulation or direct marketing advertisement; hence, after they establish themselves on the top two or three platforms they wait for results without any further effort.
One problem is that we are fed bogus ideas, snake oil apps, clever short-copy, and misguided blogs everyday -- or at least when we surf the net for a digital media miracle. Perhaps that is why I witness many business owners wasting time on counterproductive efforts -- later giving up on their digital front altogether.
Another problem is that small business owners are sold on 'strategy' by 'experts' who are merely trying to snatch-a-buck for setting up social media accounts. Some of these so-called experts paint a boisterous picture of an unending stream of revenue flowing through a business' front doors. Their selling point might be based on the connection that your business will be part of a network that has 500 million+ members -- hinting that you can grab your share. The truth is... it is not that simple.
Don't turn back now! Social media works! It just doesn't work in the ways previously mentioned.
Posting things to your Facebook page every morning over coffee or posting a special deal every now and then is a very small part of the game; so small, that this alone will never yield large enough results. The idea behind social media is to create a community, get involved, and stay in touch.
In traditional methods of doing business, relationships and perceptions of a company is the key to success. It's no different in the digital world except that the digital world has made it easier for companies to maintain relationships and perceptions about their brand. Concisely, social networks are not a traditional means of advertising where you carefully place an advertisement in a targeted circulation and hope for success. It's more than that -- it's an ongoing, interactive, relationship based method of acquiring business.
The ROI for social media efforts can be huge if managed right. For starters, once you have a foundation of fans or followers, much of your advertising communication efforts are free of charge. Furthermore, promotions can extend beyond your fan base if your product and communications are worth sharing. Another reason why social media is worth the trouble is that your target market is in one location-waiting for your input.
Imagine 'X number' of people who "liked" your page, because they like your brand... waiting for you to communicate with them.
... just say'n.
If people like you, they will give you a chance. If they get to know you, they will become customers. If they trust you, they will become loyal. If they become loyal, they will bring you more business.
Managing your business' digital front requires patience. The idea is to build relationships, loyalty, trust, and community! These things take time. The best part about it is that using social networks as a marketing tool is virtually free if you have the time to manage activities yourself.
If you, as a small business owner, made changes in your priorities, adopt a long-term view with social media, and use social media for more than a coupon scheme or self-promoting megaphone then you might discover a new window for success. Don't take my word for it! "Google" it! There are many companies embracing social media and succeeding. Read about what they do, how they do it, and repeat the process.
Thanks for reading!
~ John Debar
Learn more about social media marketing here.
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