In the not-so-distant future, business owners may look back at 2012 and 2013 as time when they began to set sail in this vast and turbulent ocean we more common refer to as the internet and Social Media. Fifteen years ago, who ever thought they’d be asking their teenager for advice on marketing their business on something called Instagram or Pinterest? It must be a lot like Christopher Columbus in 1492 when he launched the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria. He felt strongly that something was out there, but he didn’t really know what.
For many business owners, they feel the same way about today’s Social Media– something is there, but what is it.
So we’d like to steal 2-3 minutes of your time and offer a few hints to put it all into perspective.
1. People rarely make buying decisions with Social Media, but they use it to confirm or reject their decision. This is probably the most important thing you need to understand, especially if you are stuck on ROI. It’s highly doubtful that you’ll ever get a call out of the blue from someone who says “I never heard of you before and found you on Facebook. I’d like to buy your product/service.” But what will happen more often than you know will be the prospect who is debating on purchasing your service who goes to social media platforms to check you out. What they see there will often confirm their choice to use you, or make them think twice. And if you have no social media presence, then you really are taking your chances.
2. Chances are that Social Media is NOT going to make your phone ring off the hook, at least not any time soon. While social media may be a great way to get information out to your customers and to keep in touch with them, it was never intended to sell anything or bring you more customers. It’s actually more about giving and providing information than it is about getting new clients.
3. Getting lots of “Likes” and “Followers” doesn’t necessarily mean more sales for your company. The opposite is also true- you can have a very successful and profitable business, even if you have very few “likes” and “followers”. We can point you to a number of businesses with thousands of Facebook “likes” who are struggling to sell their product, and many who are thriving without being “liked” first.
4. If you’re going to start a Social Media campaign, be prepared for a long haul. Now, the long haul doesn’t have to be unpleasant. In fact, it can be fun. But if you want to have a strong social media presence, it is going to take time and commitment for an extended period of time. Even though social media awareness is exploding, social media results for your business are not likely to explode at the same rate.
5. Social Media is NOT really free. While you may be able to register for the social media accounts at no cost, there is a substantial cost of either time or money to run a successful campaign. Large corporation hire full-time teams to accomplish this. If you are a smaller business, you will need to either spend large amounts of your own time managing everything, or pay someone to do it for you.
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