This weekend I attended a Halloween party – I went as a ‘Social Butterfly’. It wasn’t planned but my friend Bekah (pictured on left) came as a the ‘AOL Instant Messenger’. It was a perfect and unplanned representation of how far the internet has come. More importantly, it also represents how ‘connecting’ online has changed drastically!
You may recall AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) if you were on the internet about 15 years ago… Essentially it was one of the original ways we chatted online with our friends, both locally and afar. Recently AIM was put out to pasture, meaning- the service was officially ended. And social media killed it.
In the last decade, social media sites like Facebook, with over 2 billion users, have taken the basic premise of connecting online, and built upon it. We use social media sites like Facebook now to connect via chat, comment on peoples’ posts and pictures and share openly or privately with our connections. We check out reviews and businesses, ask for recommendations and much, much more…
For my costume, the ‘Social Butterfly’ pictured on the right, I pinned the icons of several social channels on to my outfit: Snapchat, Linkedin, Google+, Flickr, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc… to accurately represent all the social media channels, I would need a much larger costume! There are currently hundreds out there.
Social media is great for personal use, but it is also one of the best ways for businesses to connect to audiences and new customers. However, with SO many social media options and channels out there, it leaves many businesses asking, “How do I keep up? Which social media channels should I be on? Should I be using them all? Or any of them?”
Well here are the answers to help you figure it out:
1) Can you just skip social media marketing for your business if you don’t have time?
NO. Some customers will always call or contact you via your website, but others prefer to connect on social media. Adding a social media channel allows for more ‘instant’ connections and the ability to talk to your target audience in real time! If you opt to NOT use social media you’re going to miss out on conversations, new opportunities and growing your business. Because even if you are not on social media, your customers ARE and they will talk about you and the need for your services.
2) How do you decide on which channels to use?
You do not need to be on all channels, only the ones that make sense for your business.
Work with a social media consultant or agency if you are unsure what channels you should be using. But there are some basic things to keep in mind when picking the social channels you should use. Think about your audience, who they are and what social mediums they are using most. Think about your industry and what is most important and what works for your content strategy. For instance, a dentist will not have much content to put out on Instagram typically, but channels like Facebook or YouTube could be the right way to connect with their audiences with customer testimonials or factual videos. Other industries like restaurants thrive on Instagram. And if you are e-com or focused on reaching women you may seriously want to consider a Pinterest channel . It really all depends.
3) What channel is the one WE most often recommend for local businesses?
Facebook – hands down! If you had to select one social media channel to use, we always recommend Facebook as our number one choice. It works for almost every business type. The only exception here is for very niche or a B2B industry, for this Linkedin may be a better fit, but there are still benefits of using Facebook combined with Linkedin.
4) Why Facebook?
There are so many reasons that Facebook is our favorite, but the top reasons are because it is the most widely used social media channel, it is easy to use, and the paid advertising tools and strategies on social media far exceed the other social media channels abilities. Facebook has unique and advanced advertising tactics that include allowing you to set up lead ads, create custom and look-a-like audience, retarget audiences, collect and store data with the Facebook Pixel and more.
For local businesses, this is usually our first choice for social media because the advertising on Facebook allows you to target by zip codes, towns, or radius. Also, with over 2 billion users on Facebook overall, locally we are always able to reach a wide and extensive audience, but zero in with specific targeting. For instance if we wanted to reach males ages 30-45 in Providence, RI who work in the tech industry – yep we can do that.
5) How much time do you need to spend on Facebook to make it worth it for your business?
Trick Question Here! There is no right answer. Instead of looking at it as TIME involved look at the strategy involved. We have seen and launched many successful Facebook management and ad campaigns. Some take off right away, others need tweaking and optimization. Each and every business we work with has it’s unique challenges with social media marketing. We try to plan ahead for our clients taking all foreseeable obstacles into account.
In terms of organic content and strategy on the page, we don’t encourage just posting sporadically. We plan out content calendars that keep the specific target audience in mind. With regards to paid ads, it really all depends. Some campaigns yield results immediately, others do not. In the case of the later, we check ad campaigns settings that could be effecting results. It could be anything from audiences, to creative, to landing pages, or small tweaks inside of Facebook’s business manager. All said and done, social media done right is not a part time job. Time spent will also vary depending on the users’ level of expertise. We may be biased but we encourage local businesses to work with a social media agency to see results faster!
Have questions? Contact me today here!