When should you get help with your social media?
You know it's important to have a presence on social media, but do you need outside help to take care of it?
Do you know when to say when? When is the right time to hire an outside partner for your social media marketing?
Most business owners start out handling their own social media. Then, they pass it on to an assistant who was hired to perform a multitude of tasks.
The conversation I used to have with those in business was about convincing them they needed to be on social media, but that conversation has evolved. Most owners realize they need to be on Facebook, LinkedIn, or whatever other social media network.
According to the WeAreSocial's Global Digital Report 2018, the number of social media users in 2018 is 3.196 billion, up 13% year-on-year. It's definitely not a tool in your marketing tool box to ignore.
Many times as a business evolves, and your super assistant is consumed my more and more tasks, attention to your social media management falls by the wayside. It can be time-consuming and distracting when employees need to be focused on working IN the business instead of ON the business.
What is your business saying?
The BIG When to Know WHEN is when your voice is or has gone silent. Your business' voice has disappeared. This can be interpreted as a sign of all kinds of problems to anyone researching your company, especially potential customers.
Picture this: you build a shop and open it up. It's so cute, shiny, new and clean. You're SO excited about this new venture you can hardly wait to share it with everyone you know. You've got all the balloons, banners, refreshments and even that good new-store smell. You've put a lot of work into this, and it's all very welcoming. People flock to your new store – you've even given them party favors for coming in. Some customers chit-chat about how much they like your store and can't wait to return. They're even telling their friends about you!
Six months go by, and business has been great. People are now coming in – some are regulars, some are new. They say "hello" and ask you a question sometimes, but then you stop answering and just start staring at them. You are frozen. You don't speak back. You don't speak at all. Oh, and your phone is ringing, too, and the customers in your shop hear it ringing off the wall. You don't answer it – it just rings and rings. Your competition is watching how you're treating people, too.
Would you ever do that? Would you ever open a store and not talk to people who walk through your open door or call you on the phone? No, you wouldn't, but companies do the same thing. They do the equivalent all the time with their social media sites.
Social is evolving, but it's not disappearing. Are you?
Social media is just an accepted part of business these days. While I was in Chicago, I was talking to a business owner. He was also college student earning his Master's in business at Loyola University. He was telling me about a class that taught him about social media and using it to support his business. It's a given these days, and if you're silent, you've got to get help.
Another sign of When to Know WHEN to get social help is a lack of knowledge. Using social media personally is different than using social media for marketing. There are different factors to consider when you are posting for your business. When I'm posting for myself, I might be kind of silly. There's a good chance it's going to be pretty quirky if it's a personal Facebook post. This is why most of my personal Facebook friends are those who know me well and have known me for a long time. My LinkedIn connections are different. When I'm posting personally, I don't give any thought as to what time I'm posting or what I'm talking about necessarily. I can tell you there's plenty of thought, analytics studies and research into times before a post goes up for a client.
And speaking of quirky or silly, your personality might not be the best voice for your business. While your business should be authentic, your business should be consistent and reflective of your brand. You must always be conscious of your target markets and the community you're creating. A study of social media users found between 35 and 40 percent of people find the use of slang, especially when it doesn't seem to fit a brand's voice, irritating. They're also annoyed when brands try to be funny, and they're not.
You not only need knowledge of how to post on Facebook, Twitter, or whatever platform you're working on, but you've got to have knowledge of analytics and target markets and how to incorporate that into the bigger picture of how the business is operating overall.
When thinking about your target market, have you given any thought to the culture you're trying to cultivate with your online community? If your social strategy is to grow your community primarily with giveaways and promotions, most social users are annoyed by this. Have you given thought to the quality of your followers? Is your business just concerned with numbers? Are you building those numbers by posting promotions or incentives? While this is shown to boost numbers, many of these people are not likely to stick around. Are you cultivating a coupon-culture? This is appropriate for some companies, but you must give some serious thought before starting this if it's not in your long-term plan.
I see new small businesses get their Facebook pages up or get started on Instagram and post regularly. People may even be engaging with the posts. Then I start seeing almost every Facebook post being boosted and Instagram pictures are showcasing coupons and discounts. This makes me question their social media knowledge or plan.
A couple of years ago, I met with a new restaurant who had received lots of publicity. They had done a good job getting their name out there. Anyway, I was trying to bring them on as a client, because I truly liked them and wanted to see them succeed. However, I had seen warning signs with their social media. They were handling it on their own and were happy. When I met with the manager, he and the owner group were so happy about their Facebook posts and the numbers of people they were reaching. In our meeting, he said they felt the money that was being spent on boosting these posts was well worth it, because they were getting their brand in front of so many more faces compared to the few posts that weren't boosted. I asked if paying to post a picture of a particular menu item in turn boosted sales for that item. He didn't have a clue. They were throwing hard-earned money at social media on unwise decisions with no knowledge of how it should fit into the big business picture. They chose not to hire me or any outside help and continued to handle it in-house. They went out of business within 12 months of our meeting. You must know what you don't know, and hire a professional to help.
As a business owner, you never have enough time in the day! Another When to Know WHEN is having a lack of time to do it right.
Social media done right is time-consuming. Everyone realizes at this point your business needs a voice and a presence. Your customers and potential customers want to be a part of your online community. Give the people what they want. Statistics show that 75% have purchased something because they saw it on social media.
If your last post was months ago, it may look like you're not doing so well in business. If you're not responding to people, you're unfortunately in the high majority. But studies show that you're ticking people off. Only one in 10 messages posted on social media actually get a reply. Think about how an active voice who responds in a timely manner could have the leg up over competition.
It takes time, but can you afford not to give the people what they want. Eighty-six percent of social media users follow a brand. Eighty-two percent of shoppers admit to consulting their phones about purchases they're about to make in a store. Seventy-three percent of online users are likely to buy from a brand that responds to them on social media.
You, as a business owner, must think about how your time is spent. Value your time and use it for the reason you went into business in the first place. The time you or your employees are spending on social media can, many times, be spent more effectively working on the guts of the business. You have a particular skill set, and if social media and marketing is not part of that, chances are you are cheating your business out of a more valuable type of work you should be doing in your company.
As business owners, we all went into business for a reason. No matter our different reasons, we each have a story of why we do what we do. What it boils down to is you do what you do because you like it or you were called to do it. Chances are, your business is what you're passionate about. That gets thrown around quite a bit, but for me it comes down to the fact that I would be doing what I do regardless of whether I was being paid to do it or not. It's so ingrained in me that I can't keep myself from doing it. Now, I do get paid, fortunately for my family. My time and knowledge are valuable, and so is yours. You went into business because of your passion, and you need to keep getting excited about that.
The last When to Know WHEN is when you have a lack of enthusiasm. It's when your social media marketing becomes an "oh, yeah" instead of an "oh, yay." In other words, it's becoming a pain in the ass.
When you're not enjoying social media, it shows. When you don't really time to enjoy it – the time issue is huge – it comes through. When your social media marketing becomes an afterthought, you need outside help. Do what you enjoy and what is the most beneficial for you to be doing within your area of expertise and to advance your business.
Now, what is the biggest activity related to social media you should be doing for yourself? Not only should you be doing this, but it is an absolute I try to get all my clients to do. Every business should be blogging. I've not been convinced anyone can blog like you, the business owner. Nobody knows the insides of your niche like you do. Employees can get in on this activity, but it is absolutely best handled from within. You can get help editing your blog posts, I do this for clients, but by all means you need to blog. If you are posting on social media but not blogging, stop today. Hire social media help, and replace the time you were spending on social media with blogging.
There are several reasons for keeping a blog on your website, and I'm not going to go into those, but blogging and creating content is not only an activity related to social media, but it 's something that could help in other ways. You need to be doing this for yourself regularly.
Blogging does not mean copying and pasting someone else's blog post onto your website and putting your name on it. That's called plagiarism. I actually found that recently on the website of a local social media "professional."
When you decide to get social media help, do your research.
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These blog post was taken from a presentation I did for the Memphis NAWBO group. If you'd like to see more, subscribe to my YouTube channel.
Now, go forth and be SOCIAL!