Social Media Is Not for Every Business
The answer, unfortunately, is that social media is not a one-size-fits-all approach.
Forget the new social media channels that are cropping up every time you turn around. There are plenty of the most popular social media sites that are not worth the investment. So here’s a quick checklist that might help you decide whether or not these social media options are right for your business:
If you’re in the business-to-business space, it’s critical that you and your senior team (at a minimum), have polished LinkedIn profiles. Crisp, high quality photos, succinct descriptions of your business and links to your website will help support your company’s brand image.
Having a LinkedIn company page means it’s easier to link to articles that your staff has posted and to post job openings. Plus, since many organizations are now using LinkedIn to search for a business supplier, your company page will show up in search results. Plus you can sponsor posts for a wider distribution.
If, however, you run a local dry cleaning business, you probably won’t benefit from a LinkedIn company page. Since LinkedIn a broad-reaching business networking site, your biggest determinant might be how broad an audience you’re trying to reach. If it’s geographically tiny, I’d take a pass on a company page — but still maintain a personal profile.
With more and more advertising cropping up on Facebook newsfeeds, users are starting to become numb to advertising messages — unless, of course, you’re selling retail products that can be targeted to a specific audience. If you’re trying to build community and spread updates about your products/services, then a Facebook page is a great way to keep your enthusiasts engaged with your brand.
You must, of course, first build a base of followers — which comes by posting relevant and timely content, and encouraging shares. Own a bike shop? Post tune-up tips, updates on gear, answer Q&A’s for beginners and experienced riders alike. Encourage your followers to share tips about secret trails, pictures of their travels, etc. And, from time to time, run contests to win a free bike or accessory. But, above all, keep it current and relevant.
If you’re in a visual business, Instagram is a great way to spread the love. From landscape designers to chefs, hair salons to dog walkers, Instagram gives you the opportunity to generate a visual connection to your business. If you use a hashtag, you can attract more followers if they see your post and like it. And you can post to Instagram and have it post to Facebook — saving a few steps along the way.
The same reasons for using Instagram could be said for Pinterest — although since “pins” are grouped by category, your image will appear with those of your competitors and the world at large. That means it’s a little harder to stand out in the crowd, although there have been some instances of businesses that have done extremely well using this medium exclusively.
Most importantly, your content, regardless of social media channel, must be RELEVANT to your business … and you must MONITOR and respond to feedback. Many businesses don’t seem to have the time or wherewithal required to respond to customer feedback, and that can make matters worse. Customer complaints need to be dealt with swiftly to demonstrate that you really care about your customers.
So think carefully about your businesses role in social media. And then decide if you’re really ready to take the plunge, because if you don’t invest both time and attention, it can spiral out of control and actually do more harm than good to your brand.
A blog that challenges B-to-B marketers to learn, share, question, and focus on getting it right—the first time. Carolyn Goodman is President/Creative Director of Goodman Marketing Partners. An award-winning creative director, writer and in-demand speaker, Carolyn has spent her 30-year career helping both B-to-B and B-to-C clients cut through business challenges in order to deliver strategically sound, creatively brilliant marketing solutions that deliver on program objectives. To keep her mind sharp, Carolyn can be found most evenings in the boxing ring, practicing various combinations. You can find her at the Goodman Marketing website, on LinkedIn, or on Twitter @CarolynGoodman.