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“Does social media marketing matter for small businesses?”
I get this question a lot from business owners interested in expanding their marketing efforts. I always have the same answer:
“If customer service, growing your brand, and owning your online real estate matter, then yes. It absolutely matters.”
But these business owners aren’t REALLY asking me if social media marketing “matters,” they’re asking if they’re going to see a considerable ROI. Understandable, since 60 percent of marketers say they have a hard time measuring ROI of social media, but that’s the wrong way to go about it.
Let me tell you about the small business owners who dismiss social media as a viable marketing option: they’re too focused on flat numbers. By that, I mean they look at social media as the same type of medium as Google AdWords or similar platforms. They expect it to increase leads and sales and have a definite ROI. In short, they’re looking at social media the wrong way.
That line of thinking is what sets you up for social media marketing failure. Below I’ve outlined why social media marketing does in fact matter, and how to best use if for your small business.
3 Reasons Social Media Marketing Really Matters to Small Businesses
1. You Need to Own Your Online Real Estate
There are roughly 5 main components of your online real estate:
Your social media profiles
Google local pack/Google My Business listing
Featured snippets in search results
You need to invest in those avenues you own. It doesn’t matter if you don’t agree with it, or don’t want to do it—by not claiming and updating your social media profiles you are actively throwing away one piece of your online real estate puzzle. It drives me crazy when business owners opt to use a pay-per-lead service like HomeAdvisor but won’t spend an hour a week on their social media profiles.
Did you know 30 percent of consumers surveyed say they may choose not to purchase from a company that doesn’t have a social media presence? I don’t blame them. People can’t see inside your business. They don’t know what kind of culture, or message, or themes you promote among your employees.
Social media is your chance to tell them.
2. Customer Service on Social Media Is Going to Take Over
I’m calling it now.
Social media will become the customer service platform of the future, and it’s already making waves. As the social media manager for dozens of clients, I can say with confidence that customer service inquiries are getting more frequent, and these are service-based companies, not teen clothing lines.
Already, many belonging to the younger generations turn to Twitter or Facebook to ask companies questions and the older generations are catching on as well. In fact, 59% of Americans with social media accounts think that customer service through social media has made it easier to get questions answered and issues resolved.
Creating this dialog and encouraging your customers to reach out via social media makes you more accessible, and it encourages people to talk positively about your business.
3. Reviews, Review, Reviews
Reviews are everything. I never buy anything without reading reviews. Do you? (You shouldn’t.)
Social media is a powerful platform for gaining solid reviews, and the tendency for recommendation crowdsourcing is prominent there. Leaving a review on Facebook is easier than Google (let’s face it, people spend more time on Facebook than they do on Google), and Facebook reviews are included in the knowledge panel of Google search results.
When people are pissed, they’re EXTREMELY VOCAL about it on social media. And when I mean extremely, I mean on a scale of extreme sports this ranks up there with bear wrestling.
A deft and strategic response system needs to be put in place so you’re:
A.) Responding to positive reviews, thanking your customer for choosing you
B.) On top of negative reviews, and actively trying to make the situation better
By successfully monitoring clients’ social media chatter, we’ve turned countless negative reviews into positive ones, simply by acknowledging the bad review and offering to fix whatever they didn’t like.
Takeaway: The ROI of Social Media Is Similar to the ROI of Giving a Sh*t About Your Clients
The famous Ben Landers once said:
When business owners ask me, “what’s the ROI of social media?” it’s often a not-so-subtle hint that they believe that social media marketing is a big, fat waste of time and money. So, sometimes I respond (only half joking) with, “Do you give a sh*t about your customers? Yeah, of course you do. Well, what type of ROI did it get you last month?”
While social can, yes, increase leads and sales, the value is in engaging with your target audience and building confidence in you as a company.
For example, we increased traffic from social media to a client’s site by 770% in two weeks through a social media contest. Did all of those visitors become clients?
Probably not. But each person who visited the website was within the company’s target audience, the company enjoyed a huge increase in presence, their remarketing audience grew, and they introduced their company to thousands of people who might never have heard of them otherwise. Success? I think so, and they did, too.
The point is, if you’re spending a ton of money on page likes and are using your social platforms as a billboard for your services, you need to fire your social media marketer. If your social media marketing company is getting you followers, but they’re outside your target audience, you need to break up with them. Contact us today and I’ll show you what a REAL social media marketing strategy looks like.
About The Author: Betsy is the social media lead and a digital marketing expert with Blue Corona. When she’s not managing Blue Corona's digital content campaigns she’s urban exploring, hiking with her dog, or teaching horseback riding lessons. Twitter: @educatedbets
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