What’s the Secret Sauce? And Do I Even Need It?
Small business owners often ask me, “Do I have to be on social media?”
The simple answer: It depends.
On what, you may ask?
(1) HOW MUCH NEW BUSINESS DO YOU WANT?
The kind of work you do may limit the amount of new business you want. If so, you need to carefully consider the value of investing in a social media strategy before you leap. One of my clients sells books that are easy to reproduce and ship nationwide. Another client is a private tutor for children with learning challenges. Client #1 can easily accommodate as many customers as she can find. Thus, social media was an important tool in her marketing plan. On the other hand, Client #2 can only work with 15-20 clients per week. Since his practice is already nearly full, it doesn’t make sense to tie up his time in maintaining a social media presence. Instead, he is focused on keeping his website fresh and polishing his blogging skills.
TAKE-AWAY: CONSIDER HOW READY YOU ARE FOR NEW BUSINESS in assessing whether social media is right for you.
(2) WHO IS YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE?
Obviously, before investing in a social media strategy, you want to make sure your target audience is there. Consider these examples. I have an e-commerce client that sells natural toys for babies and toddlers. I also work with an organization that provides services at the opposite end of the human experience, enriching the lives of people in hospice care.
In this matchup, Client #1’s target audience — young parents — relies heavily on social media for tips about parenting, education, and product discounts. But Client #2’s audience is mostly middle-aged and older adults seeking to comfort their dying elder, an age group that isn’t highly attuned to social media. Because of this, we focused on creating a comforting website that helps people find their services.
TAKE-AWAY: RESEARCH YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE before you leap. As big as social media is in today’s marketing landscape, some demographic groups still respond better to other strategies.
(3) WHAT ARE YOU SELLING?
If you’re promoting IDEAS or CONSUMER PRODUCTS, social media could be very helpful in growing your business. But if you sell COMMERCIAL PRODUCTS in less consumer-driven sectors (heavy industry or highly specialized software, for instance) the answer isn’t so clear. The same is true if you provide services on a one-on-one basis like the private tutoring client above. Do some research. Are your direct competitors on social media? If yes, you need to be there too. Otherwise, you may be better off investing your resources in your website, SEO strategy, and trade shows or other events.
TAKE-AWAY: Certain kinds of products and services do much better on social media than others. If you aren’t sure about yours, investigating your competitors should give you some direction.
Social Media’s Secret Sauce
So, let’s say you realize that you do need to be on social media. What’s the formula for success? Here’s another simple answer:
Clear, lively language that speaks to your audience
Engaging graphics and Valuable tips
the right channels for your target clientele
Calls to Action
followers who appreciate and SHARE your content.
This sharing activity is what makes social media such a powerful marketing tool in today’s digital world.