In session 40 of A Marketing Podcast, I focus on some of the hurdles that small businesses have when adopting social media. I also talk about the difference between the major social channels in regards to the type of messaging and content that you should develop to optimize the engagement of potential customers in those channels.
Why small businesses struggle when adopting social media
To get on board with social media as a marketing, and potentially a communications, tool the measurement of its success needs to be established from the get-go.
In my experience, the number 1 reason why businesses of all sizes struggle to find value in social media is the way in which they try to measure its effectiveness as part of their marketing budget.
The typical measurement for any marketing is a boost in sales.
Social media, however, is better served by the volume of engagement and size of a community. Let me explain:
social media requires a sustained level of effort of a long period of time in order to produce tangible results. Social media by its very nature is about being social, not being a salesperson.
I like to explain social media as a party, or even better a networking event. How many times do you walk into a conversation and say hey I’m Matt, here’s my thing you should buy??? I’m wagering never.
But if you join the conversation, maybe listen for a while, then add value – you’re more likely to be included, listened to, and seen as someone that can provide future value.
That’s how you should use social.
So with that in mind – measuring social media is not about the boost in sales, it’s about the growth of community and growth of engagement.
So why do small business struggle adopting social media – they’re looking for short-term results and measuring the wrong things.
Personal Social Media vs Business Social Media
First off, the most important thing is to keep your personal social media, personal. Unless of course, if you’re providing a product or service that is a result or relates to your personal experiences or life.
The two main reasons for keeping things separate:
- Your personal tone and brand is not the same as your businesses, so mixing those would create confusion to potential customers
- Mixing your personal opinions and thoughts in the business social channels, essentially means your businesses opinions match yours. And that can be dangerous!!!
Context of Social Media Channels – Different content and messaging
Different social media channels warrant different messaging. This is important to know when adopting social media.
Not all social channels are created equal, and the way in which people consume content on each channel is different. Knowing this means we need to adapt our content for each channel we use, to ensure we’re talking the way in which our audience expects and is looking for.
The channels that you select as part of your marketing strategy should be based on the content you already have and wish to create. and a little about how much time you have to spend managing your social media.
Let’s quickly cover the content expectations in the main social media channels:
Facebook – Facebook content if probably to most comprehensive of the social media channels (except maybe LinkedIn more on that in a sec). You can use all types of content mediums, but more importantly is that Facebook users aren’t necessarily attracted to one form of the content verse the other. From short textual posts to short stories accompanied by videos. So Facebook is a great place to start if you have the time to put a fair amount of effort into creating content.
LinkedIn – Known as the B2B social channel, also has the ability to deliver many types of content mediums. However, the tone of LinkedIn is a little more business focused and career focused. So messaging in LinkedIn should be more business-like, and talk to features benefits, corporate events, industry news, and so on.
Twitter – We all know Twitter is the short content social media channel. However, as they expand the mediums and formats of their content the level of messaging is starting to become a little deeper in nature. That being said, Twitter is still the place to get to your point and be timely with your content delivery. A perfect place to develop an audience for news releases and time-sensitive promotions, advice, events, and so on.
Instagram – Now a solid contender for businesses of all sizes, Instagram is all about photos. If you have a product that is intriguing or a service that delivers a wonderful outcome that you can photograph Instagram could be a great addition to your social marketing.
Snapchat – The latest and greatest for marketers but also a short form content platform. You’ve got a short attention span to work within Snapchat so delivering prompt to the point content in stories, videos, images is crucial. Managing Snapchat has its challenges however from a time required point of view. You’ll want to dedicate a fair amount of time being active in Snapchat to develop a decent sized community.
There are many more social media channels out there, but as a small business owner working on adopting social media, stick to the main channels I mentioned. Ensuring that you have the time to dedicate several hours a week to not only developing and posting content but maintaining your community through replies and questioning.
More on Social Media Strategy in May
As we work through this year’s themes, we’ll touch on Social media strategy in the month of May.
At that point, we’ll dig into strategies for specific channels as well as overarching strategies for content development and ways to increase your community both through organic and paid efforts.
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