Can Social Media Pros Have Their Cake and Eat it Too?

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For those of us immersed in social media, we often watch on in amazement when someone says SM is just a fad. Do they know something the rest of us do not?

Social media essentially comes at no cost to companies, be they just beginning a business venture or veterans of the business world. So the question then begs why wouldn’t you be active in social media?

Unfortunately, many business leaders view social media as being too time-consuming and not worth the effort. At the end of the day, that is a silly way to view it.

 Social Media Works as Bridge to Consumer Relationships

Let’s say you are a small business and you do not spend a ton of money on print or online ads. What then is your means of going about reaching out to current and potential clients? Social media is a great means by which to do this – best of all – it doesn’t cost money.

I’ve come across business execs that just don’t get social media. To them, they feel that there is no true means by which to get a good return on investment (ROI), so therefore it falls to the bottom of their importance list. All I can say is big mistake.

While some things are more easily measured in life, a business owner can get a good sense if their social media efforts are striking a chord with current and potential customers. With different metrics available to measure such efforts, a business head can find out sooner rather than later if their company’s social media campaign is hitting a home run or striking out.

If you’re heading up social media operations at your business, among the ways to provide a positive pitch to your boss or bosses for utilizing SM are:

  • Point out the fact that SM will be around for some time to come – Even though items like New Coke and Beanie Babies have come and gone, social media isn’t disappearing in the near future from all accounts. What social media gives business leaders that nothing else can is real-time interaction with consumers. To be able to respond to clients in just minutes can be the difference between a sale and that person moving onto a competitor. All signs indicate that social media is here to stay for the foreseeable future;
  • Be a player on different sites – It is best for businesses to be participants on a number of SM sites instead of just opting for one. Sign up for accounts on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and more. While it may seem like a lot to manage, you can set up your social media interactions so that your posts go to a number of different sites all at once. While Facebook remains the social media leader, it is important to be active on a number of different venues to have the ability to reach out to a cross section of consumers;
  • Remember, social media is not a 9 to 5 job – Given the availability of the Internet to reach so many people in so many venues, you cannot look at social media as a 9 to 5 job. You need to be dedicated to sharing, tweeting and more at practically any hour and any day of the week. Depending on what your line of business is, do some research to see when it is best to use social media. Having worked in insurance for a number of years, I can tell you that it is not uncommon for consumers to shop for items like auto insurance on weekends or during evenings when they are home and settled. If you’re a business that sells auto insurance, study when a large volume of people are searching for the product so that you can target those times to use social media most effectively;
  • Demonstrate there are metrics to provide executives with – All bosses want to know the bottom line and what kind of return they’re getting for their efforts. With programs such as Google analytics, one can easily present numbers and what they mean to the company. You can break down the data to show exactly which site is giving you the most traffic, which sites presents the most leads and which venue serves up the most qualified leads for starters. Once you do that, you can decipher which networks are giving you positive results and which ones may need to be removed. The main goal at the end of the day is defining which visitors will convert into leads. It is also important to monitor where your social media leads initially come from, when they depart, and what they did with their time on your site. Social media when used accurately is a great tool by which to drive sales and revenue.

At the end of the day, social media comes down to being a piece of the puzzle is constructing new relationships, getting word-of-mouth marketing going, and increase the brand loyalty you have with your clients.

Selling social media to your boss or bosses is not always going to be easy, but getting the desired results from such efforts will be the icing on the cake when all is said and done.

Dave Thomas

Dave Thomas

Dave Thomas covers consumer and small business topics for various websites, including Reputation.com.
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