Social media is like Marmite.
You either love it, or hate it. Social media advocates will bang on about it, and strongly argue that every business, however small, needs a social media presence: without it, they argue, how can hope to converse and engage with your customers? Those who rail against social media marketing do so on the basis that the ROI is difficult to prove. Therefore, they argue that spending time and effort on a social media strategy is hard to justify. With two diametrically-opposed views it’s little wonder that many small businesses fail to know what to do for the best.
So, are you in, or are you out?
Well, the only way to make the decision is to ask yourself the following questions. When you’ve got your answers, then you’ll be in a position to make a considered judgement.
Is your target audience active on social media?
It’s always a mistake to automatically assume your audience uses social networks. A report from Oursocialtimes.com found that roughly 50% of internet users don’t bother with them, or simply stick to just one channel like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. If you don’t know whether your customers are social, the easiest way to find out is to ask them.
Does your business sit comfortably with your audience’s social media identity?
People like to be identified with good and wholesome things. That’s why charities and good causes prosper on social media. If you’re a specialist doctor or a therapist, your social media profile might be less appealing. Nobody wants other people to know their business or know what’s wrong with them.
Do you know what your social media goals are, and do you know how to measure them?
Social media channels are growing by the month. People are now spoiled for choice, and can interact in a number of different places. Before you can manage to engage with your users you’ll need a clear idea of your goals and what you are hoping to achieve. Are you looking for increased lead generation and sales, or are you more interested in better customer relationships and customer service? Social media can help to support all of these, but each requires a different strategy.
Are your competitors active on social media?
Just because your competitors are active on Facebook doesn’t mean you have to be, but if they are, there’s obviously a good reason for their presence. They must be finding it beneficial after all. Have a look at them and if they are active, take a look at what they’re doing and find out how they’re engaging. You aren’t doing this so that you can copy what they’re doing or replicate their efforts: you’ll be doing it so that you can start with a clear idea about how you can get the social media platforms to work for you. Time spent clearly identifying your niche is time well spent.
Have you got anything unique to add to social conversations?
If you aren’t creative or interesting, how can you expect to build an audience? There are probably many other businesses offering the same sort of service or product as you, and the chances are that they’ve already cornered the social market there. The only way you’ll start to build a social audience is by having a unique voice and saying something different. If you can add something new – great, go for it. If you can’t, then maybe social media is not for you.