DIGITAL AGILITY BLOG:

He Who Hesitates: Business Owners and Their Reluctance to Embrace Social Media

David Cox
He Who Hesitates: Business Owners and Their Reluctance to Embrace Social Media

I’m always surprised when I speak to business owners who claim to see little to no value in mounting a social media campaign to further their business interests. Despite the damage and the potential sales it could cost their companies, many business leaders seem to prefer to stay away from social media altogether.

Do these owners lack the technological savvy to launch social media campaigns?  Many of the companies that I speak to require highly technical training that is far beyond my own understanding, making them more than capable of understanding straightforward social media strategies or building a simple business profile.  So why are so many businesses refusing to embrace the social movement that is so obviously upon us?  Here are the most frequent excuses that I have received in the field, and why you should not let them keep your business from creating brilliant social campaigns:

1. I don’t have enough time to run a social media campaign.

From answering phones to performing payroll or even putting their head under the hood and performing manual labor, small business owners wear many hats during a normal business day.  Time can be a difficult thing to come by, and marketing tasks are usually one of the first things to get pushed aside. Here’s the big problem with this excuse: just because you don’t have time to create content on social media, that doesn’t mean that your customers aren’t taking the time to look on social media. And when your potential customers look, they will find only your competition. 

So what is the answer? Hiring an employee exclusively to run social media campaigns is a luxury that some small businesses simply can’t afford.  Fortunately, there are software companies that have developed solutions for this problem specifically.  Social media management tools such as Hootsuite and Sprout Social allow you to post across multiple platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn with just the click of a button, saving you a ton of time when it comes to creating content. This software can also send you alerts when someone posts or leaves a review regarding your company, giving you the opportunity to respond immediately to customer questions or feedback.  This feature is critical, since nearly 20 percent of shoppers will avoid a business that does not respond to comments or reviews on their social media pages.

Hiring a digital marketing company is another option.  It can be cheaper than hiring a full-time employee and it keeps your own social media interaction to a minimum, leaving you more time to do what you do best: run your company.

2. I tried social media, but it didn’t work.

This excuse is usually correlated with the one listed above. What business owners really mean when they make statements like this is, “I didn’t have enough time to develop an effective campaign.” A quick review of their Facebook page will typically show a single post, followed by another post five weeks later, and then months of inactivity.  Social media users want to interact with businesses that are as engrossed in the social world as they are. That means frequent posts, comments, and completed profiles.  More and more, shoppers are using social media as a way to walk into a store, browse inventory, and speak with the owner, all without having to leave their couch. Your social media page should help them accomplish this.  Follow a few of these simple guidelines, and you will see the effectiveness of your social media page begin to increase:

  1. Post frequently, at least twice a week.
  2. Know which social media platforms your target market is using.
  3. Post content that provides useful information to your target market.
  4. Request that users leave comments or reviews to increase your page’s interaction.
  5. Have your staff contribute pictures or posts in order to personalize your page.

These practices will help you begin to increase interaction and effectiveness across your social media platforms. Each industry responds differently to social media practices, so remember to always audit your pages, structuring them toward what habits work best.

Social media

3. I am not sure what to post on my social media pages.

Fear can be a strong emotion. And who can blame someone for being hesitant while writing something that is going to appear on thousands of people’s phones?  If this feeling has plagued you in the past, take solace in the fact that you are not the only one. Remember, the effectiveness of your social media cannot be measured by a single post but rather by the effectiveness of your entire page as a whole.  Some of the most effective social media pages I have seen did not post “earthshaking” articles; instead they posted consistently and focused on customer interaction through comments and reviews. As long as your post pertains to your company, employees, or industry, you have the content that you need. 

Companies that allow this fear to stall their social media activity run the risk of appearing out of touch or, even worse, out of business to potential customers. So, as long as your content is relevant, posting something is always better than posting nothing. If you still struggle with creating content, you can always try a few of these shortcuts:

  1. Visit your competitors’ social media sites to see what kind of content they are posting. Don’t steal their content!  Simply use their content to get the creative juices flowing.
  2. Find articles regarding your industry and post them to your social media site. Not all of the content that you post has to be your own. Make sure this content is relevant and provides useful information to your customers.

4. I don’t use social media, and I don’t think my customers do either.

This was always one of my favorites. Inevitably, while the business owner is explaining this to me, there is someone in their lobby who is using their phone to browse Facebook.  When social media first started gaining traction in the early 2000s, there was a stereotype surrounding it, suggesting that you needed to be a Millennial in order to use it and enjoy it. Statistics, and my mom and dad’s Facebook profile, tell us that this is simply no longer the case. Only 6 percent of adults were using social media in 2006. Today, that number has climbed to 76 percent and is still growing.  Only 5 percent of the 65 and older age group was using social media in 2006, but they are now the fastest-growing age group for social media usage, at 30 percent.  This means that social media is not just a platform for marketing to young people who are still in school or have just graduated and are buried in college debt. Rather, you can market to homeowners, investors, and people with expendable income. Regardless of the demographic you are trying to target, there is a social media platform out there that they are searching on. (http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/10/08/social-networking-usage-2005-2015/)

Whether you are a social media expert or have just started developing your company’s social media sites, the landscape is sure to present its challenges along the way. Always keep researching and trying to find what can work better, and you will continue to create relevant and useful social media pages.  Xynergy has been helping small businesses develop websites and digital marketing campaigns for more than 20 years in the Northern New Mexico area. With offices in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Taos, we are more than willing to help you with any questions that you may have regarding the digital landscape.  Our goal is to help your business reach its goals.

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Marketing & PR, Social Media & Reputation Building

 

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