You see it everywhere: social media for business is the place to be. It’s talked about in the media and you hear about it from your employees and salespeople. Heck, you might even hear it rattling around in your own head, interrupting those quiet moments before bedtime.
Life has changed for most of us and especially during these unprecedented times, the ability to connect with companies online has never been more important.
Someone or something everyday reminds you that, “You better get on social media because you’re missing out!”
Wherever the message comes from, social media likely sounds like a really good idea. The trouble is, if you’re not a regular user of social media, there’s a lot about it you don’t know.
Social media is a place where companies win and fail, sometimes on the same day.
A common reaction when a company believes social media can help grow their business is to pay an agency to “get it done.” However, there are two perils to look out for in this scenario:
- How do you know it’s right for your company?
- How will you know if it’s working?
Social media can be integral to a company’s overall lead generation strategy. All digital marketing components must ultimately deliver solid reasons that compel your customers to choose you rather than your competitor. They must also make sense for the business.
Social isn’t something to “get done”; it’s an ongoing practice to attract, engage and convert.
When the job is to connect with today’s hyper-connected buyers, especially during a global pandemic, the value of social media cannot be overstated. However, it’s not for everyone. There are pesky obstacles to overcome and big operational commitments that are required to reach social media’s full potential.
There have been situations over the years with Kruse Control clients who declared they wanted to leverage social media for leads and sales, but they were either unable to make the commitment or were simply not ready for it.
Everyone has to start somewhere and there are other marketing solutions for those that aren’t ready.
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If you feel your company is ready for social media, before you give it the green light, consider these warning signs that may in fact mean that your company is not ready for social media.
7 reasons NOT to use social media for business
1. You still aren’t quite convinced it’s worthwhile.
Social media has matured and with maturity comes complexity. In order to succeed today, your buy-in is crucial. Don’t take on social media if you’re not quite sure. Why? It will show up in your process, and in a few short months, you’ll convince yourself “it’s not working.”
I’ve had clients who reach out to me in this predicament asking for help. They started out on social media with good intentions, but after a few months, were unable to fully commit to it because they weren’t convinced of its effectiveness. They gave it their best shot and in the end, it was better to pull back and regroup.
Best to wait on your decision to use social media for business until it makes sense for you and your company.
2. The marketing team lacks a centralized focus and detailed marketing plan.
Sitting down with a social media strategist who can help determine the MOST EFFECTIVE plan to achieve the outcomes you expect can exponentially increase your chances of getting to those outcomes.
A strategist or consultant will provide a plan to get your team laser-focused on specific, profit-driven goals. They’ll provide a process to assess the team’s progress and periodic course-corrections.
In today’s noisy, crowded social media urban jungle, any marketing effort without a clear plan will perform like a rudderless ship. It will never reach the shore and your hard work won’t produce the revenue expected.
3. You think social media is free.
Fact: social media is now a “pay-to-play” medium (you must pay in order to succeed).
While there is much value in working the “organic” (non-paid) angle through content and engagement, there’s still an expense of resources (humans and time rather than financial).
Facebook and other platforms have morphed into a very valuable tools to generate revenue, but those are not free either. When it comes to campaigns to attract traffic, leads and sales, those require financial resources to get the results you want.
Like all forms of marketing and advertising, social media requires investments and resources.
- Human resources
Social media calls for specific skills because it is more difficult to get results today than in the past (due to its extreme popularity and effectiveness). Social advertising (Facebook ads) is a very lucrative mechanism for lead generation but due to growing complexities, the skills needed to succeed are unique and uncommon.
These skills are hard to find and are indeed not free.
Mastering social media requires the publication of relevant, engaging content on your selected channels. Balancing your brand’s message with the needs and wants of your customers is no easy task. It takes expertise to convey the right message and that is not free.
Social is also an imperative channel in your SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Content originating from your website that’s published on social media and then clicked on, is one of the ranking factors that establishes authority on search engines.
If you’re unable to allocate an effective budget for skilled management and ads budget, you’re most likely not ready for social media.
4. You’re a perfectionist and recoil at the notion of “transparency.”
Social media is social. Social means community, conversations, publicity, a shared collective, alignment of values, and in some cases a virtual party or gathering. If these terms send shivers down your spine, you’re not ready for social media for business.
There are some industries – such as financial planning – that on the surface, seem to not lend themselves well to social media. However, with a considered, well-planned strategy, it’s still possible to use social media to connect with customers and build revenue.
Emotions play an important part in marketing and sales. Evoking buyers’ emotions is actually the goal of all marketing, and social media is no exception. It’s ideal for making meaningful connections with customers, but if you’re a company who’s uncomfortable connecting with others regularly, social media may not be for you.
Today, the more transparent and authentic you are, the better results you’ll have on social media.
Marketing is not linear. Data and tactics are important but there’s an equally important creative component, especially when it comes to the content you publish. Stories and good storytelling boost success on social media. Authenticity and transparency contribute to the story so if you’re one who never wavers from established tactics and scientific absolutes, you’re not ready for social media for business.
If you’re paranoid or controlling by nature, social media will rarely be a place for your company. This doesn’t make you wrong, it only means that social media will not be a solution for business growth. There are other marketing options to choose from.
5. Your customers’ experiences swing more negative than positive.
As I have sometimes been known to say…“If you suck in real life, you’ll suck harder on social media.”
The company must be ready for “prime time.” The actions you take and the results of customer experiences show up readily in online review sites, especially Google My Business.
This warning sign has everything to do with how well a company manages customer perceptions (online and off). It can also be telling of how well a company knows its customers and whether or not the company lives up to its brand promise.
Online reputation management is a leadership-based operational structure with systems and processes that focus on delighting customers…and it makes for a great social presence. If your company lacks a solid process, you may be opening yourself up to a crisis.
Don’t forget about employee satisfaction. Study after study proves that when employee satisfaction is low, customer experiences will be negative. If this is the situation at your company, chances are you’re not ready for social media for business.
6. You’re uncomfortable with employee participation in social media.
Employees are perceived as “people like me” by your customers. Employees are trusted more than any other representative or manager in your company. In this open and connected world, employees are spokespeople.
Happy employees who share their expertise on social media send a very clear message to prospects: “This company is trustworthy and I can feel safe and/or comfortable doing business with them.”
When you showcase employees as thought leaders in your industry, the company receives more recognition online. Employees reap the benefit of their voices being broadcasted, paving the way for more referrals, leads and sales.
The company looks smarter because its employees look smarter.
Companies that give employees a voice get noticed.
Companies that are unable to foster an open environment and provide training in content creation and collaboration, will have a difficult time on social media.
If you’re unable to embrace the “employees are spokespeople” mindset to attract more buyers, you’re likely not ready for social media for business.
7. Your lead handling process isn’t ready to handle the increase in leads.
Successful digital marketing generates leads. But what happens when those leads are funneled into a CRM and nothing happens?
Before a company decides to use social media for business, an analysis should be done of their lead handling process. If there are holes in the system, the leads will leak out and your hard-earned marketing efforts (and dollars) will be wasted.
If your current consultant or marketing team isn’t spending time examining and improving your process of turning leads into sales, it’s time to explore your options.
The coronavirus has made social media even more integral to business.
For some business leaders, social media is strange, uncomfortable and scary. But in order to attract, engage and sell to today’s hyper-connected buyers, a company needs to adapt to the new ways that customers prefer to connect, especially during COVID-19.
If you find that your company is not ready for social media, do not despair. Take a good, hard look at what you’re able to adapt to right now. There’s a solution for every step of the way. The only true harm is if you get stuck and fail to take action.
To learn more about how to make social media work for your organization, contact me–> here.