Social Media is a black hole.
You can spend hours and hours, and pour wheelbarrows full of money into it and see very little in return.
If you are not a social media addict, you might not understand what the point of social media marketing is. You’re not alone. Even savvy social media consumers have trouble defining exactly what it is about social media that is so addictive and why it is so important.
There are countless articles out there from marketing experts insisting that social media marketing is the new way of generating sales and getting clients. The general sentiment is that if you have a business and you are not on every social media platform you have to start NOW.
As someone who has probably spent way too much time on social media sites, both personally and for various businesses (including my own) I don’t entirely agree.
In fact, if you don’t know how to use it, don’t have time, and don’t have any tangible goals, I’d recommend not wasting your time or money.
Social media is a beast.
If you haven’t been using it already and aren’t particularly social media savvy to start with, your time and money will be sucked into the black hole and you will never get it back.
So how do you know if you should be using social media for your business?
Well, I’m glad you asked.
I have created this fancy list of questions to help you decide if you should, or should not be investing your time and resources in creating and maintaining a social media presence.
#1 Do you know how to use social media?
Do you know what a hashtag is and how it works?
Have you been using social media personally at all?
Do you know the differences between the platforms?
Do you understand that you can’t just make a viral video?
If you think viral videos are manufactured and you can make one, you don’t get social media.
And that’s okay! You don’t have to.
You are good at a lot of other things.
You probably have an array of awesome gifts you are bringing to the world with your business. You don’t HAVE to get social media. You’re doing enough small biz owner; I promise you do not need to add this one more thing to your plate.
Social media management is one of those things that seems relatively easy from the outside, but to actually get ROI it takes significant thought, investment, and time.
If you answered no to any of the questions above, you personally, should not attempt to create a social media presence for your business or brand WITHOUT considerable training.
On the other hand, do whatever you want.
If you aren’t in-the-loop in terms of how these accounts work and their value, it will be a huge waste of your time. As a business owner, I am pretty sure you have fewer hours in the day than you need as it is.
The next question you need to ask yourself before you start investing in your social media presence is:
#2 Are your customers on social media?
Do you know who your customers or potential clients are?
Are they active on social media?
Do they have an interest in interacting with your brand?
If you have answered no to these questions, do not waste your time on social media.
You have bigger fish to fry.
These questions can be a bit tricky to answer. Take my dad for example: When I was trying to set my dad up with social media accounts for his real estate business, he said to me, “But Kyla, my clients aren’t on social media.”
He wasn’t wrong.
Since he has been in the business and kept the same clients for the last 30 years, the demographic of his clients are much older than most new home buyers. He was right – his current clients are not on social media, but his potential clients are.
Real Estate is just one industry in which social media marketing is absolutely essential. As a realtor you aren’t just selling houses, you are selling yourself. New home buyers are generally tech savvy, having grown up with the internet and all, and are thus more likely to be engaged and interested in your social media presence.
New home buyers do all their research on the internet, so if they can’t find you, it’s like you don’t exist.
Visibility is just one goal that social media can help with, which leads us to the next super important question you need to ask yourself before you consider creating a social media presence for your business:
Q#3 Do you have a goal?
What’s the point?
Do you want to increase your audience?
Do you want to generate leads?
Do you want to engage with your customers?
Do you know how to measure your progress and success?
One of the biggest mistakes that small businesses make when they start using social media is that they don’t have any realistic, measurable, or distinct goals. They lack a social media marketing strategy.
It is not uncommon for businesses to start putting up videos and blogs with no real vision of how doing so is going to benefit their business. They have no game plan and no calls to action to reach their goals.
If you don’t have a plan, and you don’t have a way to measure your ROI, you and your money are going to be headed straight for the black hole.
Having a goal will help you decide which social media platforms you should be on, what kind of time and financial investment you are looking at, and how it will benefit your business.
If you don’t know why you should be on social media, or what you want to accomplish using it, don’t rush into it. You clearly need to do more research before you jump in and waste a bunch of money.
The Bottom Line
If you don’t know how it works, don’t know if your potential clients are using it, and don’t have any goals or ways of measuring them, you should take a minute before you jump on the social media bandwagon.
Social media is an exceptional tool that can make a huge difference to your business in areas like customer service, community building, product development, lead generation, and more, but if you aren’t going to take the time to learn how to use it properly, you will waste precious resources.
There are alternative ways to get active on social media that don’t require all your spare time or constantly texting your kids asking them what the latest hashtag you saw means.
The best options are to either:
a) hire a social media manager
b) have one of your employees train to do it; or
c) wait until you have time and train yourself – hahahahaha, I know, I’m hilarious.
There are plenty of online resources to train yourself if you have the time and aren’t concerned with significant trial and error, but I have a feeling option C isn’t very appealing or even do-able for you.
Your best bet is to hire a social media manager who not only knows what they are doing, but can talk you through the questions I posed here and demonstrate how they are going to benefit your business specifically, based on your industry, clientele, services, and budget.
Curious and want to know more about hiring or training a social media manager?
Well, I know a gal. (Hint: It’s me.)