One of the most frequently asked questions I get is “should I be on Facebook?” or “should I be on Instagram?”
I write often about what other marketers and agencies say and do for clients. Apparently, there are quite a few agencies that tell every business they “should” be on Facebook.
I am not one of them.
Every business owner does not have to be on Facebook. Here’s why: people make decisions differently based on what it is they’re purchasing.
Here’s an example: how do you pick your doctor? Or your dentist? Do you go on Facebook and look up dentists? I don’t think so. If you have to find a new physician (if you moved, or if they no longer carry your insurance, etc.) you go to someone you trust and you ask them. Or you use a website such as Healthgrades to find the best qualified physician near you.
You might – and I say might here – go on Facebook and ask for suggestions. And then look those suggestions up on Google. Correct? But you’re not going to decide to go to a doctor based on his/her Facebook page. So – why tell any medical practice that they have to be on Facebook? It’s great if they have a Facebook page – I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. What I’m saying is, if they don’t, they’re not missing a critical marketing element.
Based on this logic, here’s my checklist for the best social media practices. I’m calling it a checklist because these are a succession of requirements – if you stop part of the way through, you might not get the full understanding of what’s the best in social media practice for your business.
1.Know who your customers and prospects are – the “target persona”
If you don’t know who your best customer is or might be, then the rest doesn’t matter. The first question you should ask yourself is: who is my target market? What audience do I want to speak to? If you can’t paint this picture first, go no further and focus on this question so the rest makes sense for your product or service.
2. Be on a social media channel where these people are online
Let’s say you’ve thought carefully about your best target market and you’ve seen that the best customer for you is someone over the age of 50 because they may have more disposable income (wealthy individuals, who own boats or yachts, for example). In this case, these people are the “new” Facebook audience. That’s where you’re most likely to find them on social media.
3. Understand how your clients or customers make decisions
If you’re selling an item that doesn’t have a very high value, then it may be people are doing a Google search. But if it is of critical importance – such as a doctor, as in the example I gave above, then this type of decision is more likely to be made based on a word of mouth referral. If that’s the case, you need to adjust your marketing accordingly.
4. Be sure you can support that channel
I add in the last point because social media has become the new customer service, especially on Twitter. If you don’t believe me, look up any business account (@businesshandle) on Twitter and see how many people are “talking” to them, usually frustrated, trying to get a problem solved. I’ve done this myself!
Before you decide to engage in ANY social media channel, you need to be sure there’s someone who will be “watching” that channel and will be able to respond to any inquiries.
I find that businesses think of social media as another form of “billboard” advertising – putting up a message and seeing what happens. But the most successful organizations using social media are the ones that are actively engaging their customers. They’re asking questions, for example. They seek input.
Most importantly, they’re being “social,” because that’s what people expect on social media. So, if you’re thinking you “should” be on Twitter, be very sure you have someone watching Twitter so that if someone starts “talking” to you, you’re answering! It’s worse not to answer someone on social media than not to be there in the first place.
5. See how you’re doing and adjust accordingly
Let’s say, based on the previous points, you decide to be on Instagram and LinkedIn. Great! You’re posting away and putting a lot of energy (and perhaps money?) into advertising on these channels. Then what? How do you know your money is well spent?
You don’t, unless you look at the data. How many people are seeing your posts? How many are reacting? Most importantly, how many are becoming prospects? Or sales?
The BIGGEST problem I see with businesses using social media is they don’t look past the “vanity” metrics: Followers, Likes, Shares, Comments. These are all great. It’s wonderful to have a video go viral! But does that help your business? Did more people buy your product or service? Or even call you?
If you can’t see any bump in website traffic, calls, store traffic, or leads, it’s time to take a hard look at your social media spend and decide whether or not these channels are worth your time, budget, and effort.
Not sure what you “should” be doing in social media? Email me and let’s set up a time to talk about it.