Small businesses need to make a greater investment in social media

 

Let’s start with something we all know: if you run a business, it’s vital for you to have, at the very least, a Facebook page. This is true regardless of your business’s size. With 2.37 billion users on Facebook, and another billion or so users on Instagram, social media is an obvious place to market your goods and services to people who might otherwise never be exposed to your company via its traditional brick and mortar location. And yes, creating a social media page is free, which makes it another win for your budget. 

The problem, however, is getting business owners to understand the time and resources needed to maintain these pages. Trust me on this. You don’t want to just “be on” Facebook. As a potential customer myself, I habitually use Facebook and Instagram to review restaurants, stores and other companies before making a decision on where to spend my money. 

And nothing is worse than visiting a business’s Facebook page or Twitter feed and seeing very little content, or none at all. 

It’s also important to make sure the content is appropriate for your audience. If you run a hip Italian restaurant, users would prefer to see the menu, and perhaps a few “Instagram worthy” glamour shots of some of your most popular dishes.

This is the problem most small business owners face. They’re “on” social media, but they’ve yet to make a serious investment in their social media platforms. 

Think of these pages as a brand new showroom floor right on Times Square. Thousands of people are walking by your store every day—every hour, even! But if you’re not posting quality content on a regular basis, it’s as if the shelves are sitting there empty, or perhaps with rubbish folks might expect to pay ten cents for at the local flea market.

So, what can you do to avoid this reputation? Start by hiring a social media consultant who can sit down with you, talk with you about your target audience and help you craft a plan to reach these potential customers. Make sure you are updating your social media pages regularly, and with quality content. Look into social media management platforms, like Hootsuite, that can help you keep a consistent social media schedule. 

And, if the budget allows, hire a social media coordinator for your business. This does not have to be that employee’s only role at your company, but if you want good results, you should plan for this to be 25% of your employee’s workload each week at a minimum.

If you need to see an example of a business in Clinton who’s doing social media the right way, log onto Facebook and visit Matt Davis’ State Farm pages. Not only has he assembled a good sales team; he’s also hired a few tech-savvy people in his office, who have taken the reigns on his social media presence. 

I’m sure he has seen a return on this investment, and I’m confident your business will too!

 

Graham Duncan is a graduate of Clinton High and Lander University. He works as a staff writer at Lander, and is pursuing a master’s at Converse College. He can be reached at gduncan@lander.edu.

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