So... YES, I agree with this author; Maybe Social isn't for YOU! - It certainly isn't if you are listening too closely to what your ADvertising agency is saying when they are completely missing the point of what Social is. What Social can do and how it can be incorporated within your business practices... How about a little read-and-respond... You can click on the pic above and read the article intact and leave it at that; OR follow along below as I take sucker punches as the primary points... Either way...
Hey, Small-Business Owner: Maybe Social Media Isn’t For You
It’s now conventional wisdom that if you have a small business, you should be regularly earmarking time to cultivate your fan base on Facebook and Twitter. Perhaps you should post news that’s relevant to your product or service. Funny pictures are also good for increasing those “Likes” and circulating your business’s name to new, potential customers. However, not everyone is buying this argument. A recent survey of 500 SMBs by online marketing firm Vertical Response found about one-third of small business owners would like to spend less time on social media. If you’re among them, rather than feeling shame about your lack of zeal, consider the case against trying to become the next George Takei:
Any article that opens with a reference to my most favorite Facebook punching bag, Mr. George Takei, especially if the article is in relation to doing actual, real hard work in Social for business, well it's already off to a bad start...
1. Time you spend on social media is time you’re not spending improving your core business. Say your job is making bicycles. Are you better served by making sure that everyone who buys a bike at your store is insanely happy with it by increasing your PTAT rating on Facebook? Imagine for a minute that you decided that you’d only use Facebook and Twitter as a digital billboard for your business and you spent zero energy trying to cultivate new fans. Instead, you took all the time and thought that you would have spent marketing on Facebook instead on providing the best customer service possible and making sure that no one left your store unsatisfied. Would your customers then be motivated to say nice things about you on Twitter and Facebook? Isn’t that type of interaction preferable to merely liking a funny photo you posted?
RESPONSE: Or, do both. AND what's this Digital Billboard??? Funny photos??? Is this what your ADvertising agency is offering, how they are suggesting you incorporate, Social?... It gets worse...
Any Social Media consultant who advocates spending time on Social at the expense of your "core business" is an idiot, plain and simple. Social must become part of this core activity. Lets parse this further. YOUR GOAL, making money, is supported by another of your goals, making your customers "insanely happy". Absolutely and agreed! Indeed, providing your customer the best product and exceptional customer service is a pretty huge core objective of any good business. Obviously you must think of ways that Social can augment and enhance this core activity… Sure, insanely happy customers is A core objective, but THE core objective is, cha-ching... If Social is not putting money in your till, you are not incorporating it, properly... get back to work.
And, really what good business man isn't focussed on "providing the best customer service possible"? You know, a very good place to start to incorporate social into your business IS in customer service. It's only natural that IF your objective is to establish and nurture a relationship with your customer, doing so with those with whom you have shared that most 'spiritual' of business moments, the transaction, seems… well basic. Where better to seek insights into your customer service practice than from those who have, well… DUH, please, excuse me, been served.
Time IS an issue, agreed… Indeed, Social is not EASY! And Social is time consuming; you will need to find hours; and you MUST NOT steal these hours away from… your CORE BUSINESS (cha-ching). Doesn't it beg the question, when you were creating flyers and posturing the town in that first and early marketing campaign, did you consider taking time from "fixing bikes" to do this? - When you sat chatting to your best customer for an hour one day, did you feel this activity hurt your business? Did you learn something... did he bring a friend in one day... Time. Is always best, well spent.
We read on...
2. Apple doesn’t do social media. Apple was the No. 2 brand on Interbrand’s Top 100 Brands list this year, and it lacks both an official Facebook Page and a Twitter account. Consider that Apple was No. 41 on the list in 2005, before the social media revolution began in earnest, which means that Apple has profited mightily by ignoring the rise of Facebook and Twitter. Apple is a great example of a brand that’s too busy—or likes to present itself as too busy—for social media because it’s improving its products. The strategy works because fans are so excited about the products that they do the heavy lifting.
Small businesses can enjoy the same kind of lift from providing a product or service that consumers are authentically interested in. Ed Keller, CEO of Keller Fay, a marketing research firm, says that nearly 90 percent of discussions about brands happen in real life and the rest are occurring online. “There’s no question in my mind that good experiences are what spark word of mouth to a greater degree of just about anything else,” he says. Keller adds that while he believes social media outreach is important, if it’s a case of limited resources, “I’d focus on the experience.”
RESPONSE: Really, using Apple as an example of how SMBs should manage their marketing let alone Social bandwidth? Apple quietly spends more on marketing than all North American SMBs earn, combined, likely in a decade. PLUS... Apple IS the most Social business on the planet!
Until recently, Apple had something like $18 trillion in the bank and; Apple, routinely spends trillions subtly marketing, advertising and feeding the press, making sure that your mind is always on, engaged with or longing for, Apple product. Their legions of customer service representative, Geniuses is a Social operation to DIE for. When I walk into an Apple Store, there is a Genius at my shoulder ready to ask, answer and SELL me.
REPEAT: Apple IS the most SOCIAL company on the planet, possibly in the history of Social, which in reality is simply the history of... Business. They can simply afford to ignore Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, et al, why? ...because they have built a Social live and in person retail operation which is the envy of anyone who has ever been in retail - You, on the otherhand DO NOT have, nor will you ever have this budget, these resources. But you do have, and can use... Social.
(...what a gawd-awful and foolish way to try and make a point)
Let's continue to use Apple as an example of good Social. What's your impression of Apple? Do they know you? Do they care? Well, let's see, they constantly create the products you instinctively know how to use and love… WHY, because they ARE Social. They listen (intently). They've spent four decades, many of which were years under water designing, building and testing "the computer for the rest of us". As a digital business man, always with a Mac at my side; I have never marvelled over their success; never wondered how they bottled their brand of magic and always got it right; I watched them look and listen and launch products that came from within my community. They haven't invented anything, Apple has simply made the things people said they needed. They acted upon requests, they quickly dispensed with their mistakes, built the "walled garden" we all asked for and invited us in to… enjoy each others company; their company.
They didn't set out to prove themselves the BEST geek with the BEST most technically sound and advanced GEEK toy (ask any Linux-head to back this one up). They saw us wanting to carry around our music; and gave us an iPod… a MP3 player that worked. AND then they marketed the shit our of it. They told us, stroked us and then reminded us, we were cool if we had one. I always laughed at my Micro-Linux pals who scoffed at Apple's simple little backwards devises… they never got it; nor ever will. Apple listened to what we wanted, and gave it to us, simply.
Yup, be like Apple, but for goodness sake; if you are going to model your business upon a successful business model... Understand the model.
3. You’re not a publisher. It’s commonly accepted wisdom in social media marketing circles these days that all brands are publishers since they fill the role that publishers have, traditionally. For instance, Coca-Cola now has 50 million fans on Facebook, which means it potentially has a much bigger audience than The New York Times. However, it’s reasonable to ask why this means that Coke should now put some of its energies towards publishing. After all, that has nothing to do with Coke’s core business. Instead, you might ask why Coke doesn’t just buy ads on publications with which it wants to be associated rather than trying to become those publications. That’s the way that advertising has worked for 80 years or so. Why reinvent the wheel? If you argue that Coke would save money by enhancing its Facebook and Twitter feed rather than buy ads, consider that it takes money to create compelling content and that to reach all of your fans you still have to buy ads on those platforms.
RESPONSE: Agreed! NO, you are NOT a publisher… REPEAT, YOU ARE NOT A PUBLISHER. Social is NOT a publishing venue… REPEAT SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT A PUBLISHING MEDIUM… And this is a huge point here, (dammit)... ALMOST EVERYONE IS DOING SOCIAL WRONG!
Will some one please tell me, when and why did anyone ever come to believe that Social is a publishing medium? Why, because, that's the MOST creative thing their ADvertising agency could come up with in response to it. "Look, here's another channel to pump our high-priced content crap down." Pour their poop, their 15, 30 and 60+ second pieces of highly produced garbage onto the heads of the still unsuspecting potential "customer". Your ADvertising agency sees this as a continuation of their "impression" based business model, WHY, because, thats what the KEY measure their BILL is based on… Social is not about the impression; its about your customers impression… of your business.
Now, if you think for a moment that PUBLISHING a steady stream of this "me big expert" documentation of your service or product is going to sell; you ARE an idiot. Oh, sure publish the credibility pieces; publish and re-post articles that lend credibly to your argument, keep your argument top of mind; hey publish other folks "me big expert" publications about their product our service IF you have the confidence that YOUR product AND service are superior. But, don't waste these aforementioned precious bits and pieces of time on doing ONLY this. PUBLISHING is not social, recommending a good read to your customers, is... providing its highly relevant... providing it serves your... core business
Social is NOT about "me big expert"… its about, "so what do you think?" "How are we doing?" "Are you happy?"… "what can we do BETTER". Social Media is listening, LEARNing and responding, then listening some more. Have you ever had a conversation with someone who doesn't, shut up? Do you do business with these people? Would you hire one as... a sales person?
Now here's the human nature… 99% of the time we listen ONLY to respond; we wait for the point in the conversation in order to insert OUR point. STOP, LISTEN, LEARN. Social allows your customer an opportunity to contribute; if they applaud, thank them and then describe how you will take the compliment into consideration to do better. If they complain, thank them and describe how you you will take the complaint into consideration and how you will use this to do better. - simple?
SOCIAL IS NOT EASY, its contrary to the fact that you are, by nature, A pompously successful businessman... but, please take the time to be wrong, and get it right.
4. Truth will prevail on the Internet. One argument for keeping a social media presence is to correct critics of your brand who are in the wrong. However, while the Internet acts as a petri dish for rumors and misinformation, it also has a self-correcting mechanism in which consumers act as a truth police and aim to disabuse readers and consumers about such bunk. Consider how much effective it is when a fan of yours comes to your defense instead of you. Not surprisingly, Brian Solis, principal at Altimeter Group, a marketing consultant, takes issue with the idea that small-business owners can ignore social media. In Solis’ view, getting fans to talk about you in social media is “incredibly rare.” Solis acknowledges that updating your Facebook Page may be a chore, but then again, so is marketing in general. Businesses, he points out, should funnel 80 percent of their profits into marketing or they will soon be out of business. Says Solis: “Solely focusing on what you do very well is not going to benefit you if no one knows about it.” Rather than posting funny pics on your Facebook Page, Solis recommends connecting with the passion that prompted you to start your business in the first place. Fair enough. But not everyone is gifted in transmitting their passion via Facebook.
RESPONSE: "Truth will prevail on the Internet." Sit back and let your reputation happen. Is this person gawd-honestly nuts? Do you think anyone cares about you? They certainly DO NOT. AND they really really DO NOT care about you, if you do not CARE ABOUT THEM.
As for marketing: There’s no reason why that 80 percent can’t go into ads instead of Facebook activity. At the very least, it might be worth taking a break from Facebook to see if it really does harm your business. Perhaps if you don’t build it, they will come.
Here's where the TRUTH in this article is outed. "Why not take your Social Media dollar and buy Ads…" How about this instead... Why don't you STOP asking your ADvertising agency to do something they know absolutely nothing about...
You know your business; you know how to apply Social to your business; every good business man does. The first step. Stop listening to folks who tell you what Social is; you already know. Your business already IS social.
OH AND... Social is WAY more than Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, et al... As a matter of fact, these tools, although useful are barely social at all (more on this, upon request).
This is a tiring article... I have a thousand more points I'd like to make. But really, scoot around the site and you'll find many of these points sprinkled here an abouts. I'll keep adding to all this, and I'm always up and ready for a conversation...