How can very small business-to-business firms really benefit from the wave of new social media marketing? Are you being overwhelmed by the learning curve of an increasing plethora of social media platforms like most everybody?
We know social media is changing the way we communicate and interact in our daily lives. But are these changes beneficial for small business, B2B marketing.
There seems to be no end to the new crop of new media specialists to help us learn and navigate this dizzying new marketing communications wilderness. Is it important to know all this stuff, what are the real results? Does having 500 Twitter followers, or 800 Facebook Likes and 300 LinkedIn connections increase traffic to your website, generate more sales leads and increase your sales? With all these new social media tools, have the basic principles of sound marketing actually changed?
And, in spite of all the hype, what are the facts about results regarding all the time and money being spent. In April of this year, a study from HubSpot reveals that 63% of B2B companies of all sizes aren’t generating leads from social media at all. Wow, see the shocked look on my face.
A survey of 600 small business owners across the United States indicates the dissatisfaction by 58% of small business owners regarding Facebook:
- Have a presence but don’t find it helpful
- Don’t have a presence
- No longer have a presence because they saw no value
Will the new business principles of ROA (return on awareness) and ROE (return on engagement) turnout to be real attributes and measurements of real business profits? Maybe these are just part of a “new media marketing ploy” to garner our marketing dollars. I don’t know how you feel but I am more than skeptical that you can pay bills from revenue generated by ROA or ROE?
And, what about the time commitment of these new “free media platforms.” Does anyone running a small business really have the time to learn, operate and actually use these communication tools?
I was discussing social media with one of my clients who insisted that we make social media marketing the primary role in our marketing efforts. I then asked them why they wanted to do this and they said that someone told them it is the “new thing to generate business”. I then asked my client, if they used any of the social media tools they would like us to employ for them and their answer was “I don’t use them and I don’t have the time to use them.” I asked this question because their target audience is very small (1-5 employees) business owners just like them.
How should you use the new social media tools to benefit your business here are some suggestions.
If you want to use social media in a sane way figure out what your customers are actually using.
First, identify if and where your target audience is using social media. Once you have confirmation of social media activity by your audience, our recommendation is to concentrate on the top one or two social media platforms that will benefit your marketing efforts to reach your target audience.
Define you marketing goals first.
Need more website traffic to your blog then concentrate on producing relevant, quality content blog posts 1 or 2 times a week
Need to grow your email list concentrate on producing more quality landing pages that will grow your mailing list
Need more sales, then concentrate on lead nurturing the leads you already generate
Need brand identity, consider LinkedIn and focus on joining relevant groups that your customers could be found in and make the effort to answer others’ questions or pose your own 2-4 times a week.
Limit your social media marketing to one or two platforms.
The biggest problem with social media marketing is time. Who has the time to learn how to use all the social media marketing options that are available and growing?
In the January of this year, Marketing Pilgrim reported data from Altimeter Group that the average large company has 178 corporate-owned social media accounts. Unlikely, your small business can afford the time and money to manage 178 social media accounts.
Now there are firms that now offer over 400 training courses on social media and are adding 20 new courses a month to learn how to use these social media platforms. This will not be simplifying our life.
Small business needs to be smart about using social media marketing. Just because “everyone is doing it”, do not assume it will be good for your business. Don’t waste your time and money without first knowing if your customers can be reached by these social media platforms and define your marketing goals before you jump on the bandwagon.
Small Business Sales Leads Using Social Media