Being a small business owner, there is nothing more important to me than to get the word out about my tax and accounting services business. But is social media the answer? Does it pay off? I have trouble with all the experts and gurus saying that if you are not leveraging social media then you will miss the boat. Just because they have a theory doesn’t mean it is proven that small businesses must use social media or cease to exist.
Maybe someone can explain to me if people go to Facebook to click on ads and visit fan pages of local yogurt shop or to communicate with friends and family? I have personally never clicked a single ad on Facebook and/or become a fan of any local small business that I frequent (I am a fan of few small businesses but have never given them a dime and never will).
Question is, should small businesses waste time promoting their business using the social media?
My business does have a presence on Facebook and Twitter. Since I am into blogging and tweeting, I hardly find social media extra time investment. In fact, I think even before I started my business, I was out there trying to network. Not every business owner is tech savvy and has the luxury of time to research all that is out there.
Most of my clients know about my social media engagement and my love for everything computers and tech. They are curious about Facebook and Twitter because of the hype. They have many questions.
“Should I be on Twitter and Facebook?” is usually the first question. My answer is Yes, you should have a presence. Then I ask them what is your purpose for getting on Twitter and Facebook and they say “Customers and Sales.” I tell them it doesn’t work that way because social media is like networking on the world wide web, you have to engage, converse and sell your knowledge and personality before you sell a product or convert a lead. They usually make a face that says “no time for that.”
Most small businesses are barely surviving in this economy. They don’t have time to waste on something that is still in its infancy and has never yielded anything of substance. Businesses that were already very popular in terms of their products and services are the only one that have benefited from social media.
Social media is FREE, that is both good and bad. Good because there is no barrier to entry, nothing to invest. Bad because it is time consuming and doesn’t guarantee any ROI. Social media is about networking first, selling second. Look at it as your local chamber of commerce mixer. You are a member, you are invited to a 2 hour long event where there are other business owners, you attend the event, get to know other businesses, exchange cards and then go home.
You might never get a customer this way or you might only get customer this way, it all depends on the kind of business you engage in. Think of it this way… broadcasting your message over social media is like standing on a street corner and yelling. In real life, people will ignore you… same thing with social media.
Social media is not worth the time investment for most small businesses. Your marketing strategy should include what works for your kind of business and not what everyone else is doing.
What do you think, am I not making sense? I welcome all comments especially if you have had any success with social media, I would love to hear your story.