From time to time I’m asked by business owners, ” What results can I expect from Social Media Marketing?” The quick answer is that it depends on the participation in each platform in which you engage. This is usually met with a roll of the eyes and frustration for many business owners. For most small business owners budgets are tight and time is limited and many live by the principle that A+B must always equal C. I often hear business owners say, “If I invest X dollars into social media marketing, what will I get in return?”
There are many programs out there that will calculate a return on investment that will give you an idea of an expected outcome. I’m not disputing any of that. This is valuable decision making data. However, social media is all about building relationships. It’s the very reason it is so successful. The following are just some of the factors that impact a business’s success, or lack thereof on social media.
- The number of social media platforms. All social media platforms are not created equal. There are some platforms that are better for certain industries over another. That said, the more exposure to relevant platforms for your industry the better. Think of it as a spotlight. The wider the beam of light, the wider the reach. Your best bet is to do your research on your niche market and where they are hanging out and get on those platforms.
- How active you are on those platforms. The mistake I’ve seen so many make is that they will post a business page on Facebook and call it quits. Maybe a few times a year they will post something to promote their business. It will often be a broadcasting kind of post that is usually met with little to no results. It takes continuous effort to create daily engaging posts to attract the attention necessary for your business. Remember, it’s hard to build a relationship with someone if you are only going to send them a one way message a few times a year.
- I’m not talking diamond rings and warm fuzzy hugs here. This is your basic follow up conversation with potential customers you are finding online. Whether it is a comment on your blog, social media posts or a comment on your website, this requires follow up. Your clients want to know that you’re out there and you’re hearing what they have to say. Stop and think about the last time you had a question for a business and either inquired on their website or called and left a message. How did you feel when you received no response to your inquiry? I don’t know about you but it usually leaves me feeling like they don’t care and don’t want my business and I move on to another business.
- If social media’s success is built upon creating relationships, then it’s important to come across with warmth in all of your digital marketing. This can include pictures of the staff around the office, family pets, births, weddings, etc. Let people in to your lives and let them know you consider them family. Don’t send messages that will constantly broadcast or advertise your business. This is like being a party and sitting with someone who will only talk about themselves or their business and spend all night selling to you. Kind of boring right? Aren’t you usually more connected with someone who can carry on a conversation about current events, ask about you, or sharing warm and compelling stories? The same is true online.
There are so many small business owners who want to know their exact return on investment for social media; and rightfully so. After all many are living on a tight budget with limited time. So it seems only logical that they would want to know if they invest a certain number of dollars to a project they want to know how much revenue will increase, how many new customers, etc. However, looking back at friends, family and customer relationships that you’ve build over the years, ask yourself this:
What does it take to see the results from a good relationship? Your answer will be the same. Time, commitment and engagement.