Not too long ago, I joined some business acquaintances for lunch, which was a novel experience after 2020. One of them was new to our group, and when introductions came around to me, I explained that I handle social media marketing. Our new acquaintance said that they were just starting to use social media, and had someone showing them how to work with Facebook. Then proceeded to say, “But I don't do Twitter.”
We were all a little curious at this declaration, and someone beat me to the question of, “Why?”
The reply was, “I don't understand tweets, so I don't use it.”
The conversation moved on.
However, it reminded me of the times I have heard similar comments from business acquaintances, and some clients. In terms of personal use that is fair enough, but for businesses they could be cutting themselves off from potential clients. Granted, you don't have to be on every social media site, but there are some that have a wide demographic of users; plus, many have an impact on the search engines. Five examples are: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I will also be the first to acknowledge that for a business owner it can be overwhelming to learn the various social media sites, and then to try to keep up with them. That is where a dedicated social media manager is very useful.
What is my point to all of this? To any business owner, I would say, “Don’t reject outright a social media platform because it looks confusing, or it’s not a personal favorite.”
You never know, it could be a perspective client’s favorite platform.
I will fully admitted that I am still the cobbler with the shoeless children, since I first wrote this blog in 2018. As usual I became busy, and have not paid much attention to my own marketing. This is a rather sad admittance from a social media marketer, particularly since I know that consistency is the key.
Its not that I wasn't aware of how poorly it looked to have my business social media sitting unused. Yet, its hard to worry about my own when I am making sure my clients' marketing is taken care of.
What made me sit back and realize that I needed to make time for my own marketing, and strengthen my strategy, is that I began getting calls from people. And these people were telling me that they were finding me from Facebook and Google searches.
It is time for me to practice what I preach - that now my reputation is laid bare online.
And it's not just a problem for me, but for most businesses that don't have an actual marketing department to monitor their online presence.
I have had many people say, "I get my clients by word of mouth," or "I'm in good networking groups." There is no arguing that knowing someone, or being referred, gives you a stronger bond with the perspective client. This usually is how I come by my clients.
However, this is ignoring those prospective clients who have a problem to solve, and they are searching. So if you don't have a sign on that road they never are going to know you. Or worse yet, get a damaged first impression because you aren't showing off your products or skills well.
Now, when people want to learn about about a business, they have powerful research tools in their phone. If say, they wanted a plumber, they choose from the search the ones that look promising, then they take a look at the websites, and they also do a quick search of the review sites, such as Google, Yelp, and Facebook. If they find an active Facebook page they will also spend time seeing what is said, and being said, about the business.
I also have had it said to me, "But I Have A Website!"
Websites are important as they provide an anchor for your online presence, and they allow for a fuller description of what you do. However, websites are static. Social media gives a greater feel for what the business is like. So if a prospective client is having to decide between comparable businesses they are more than likely to go to one that is vibrant and active.
Its definitely time for me to get some shoes on - and keep them on!
Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and Pinterest accounts are not normally high on the list of priorities when you are considering your final wishes. However, social media now effects every part of our lives and businesses, and in a three part series I will look at how it can impact the survivors.
I will grant that as a discussion topic this was far from my thoughts; at least not until I found myself reading a Facebook memorial service for an acquaintance. She and I had only reconnected on social media a few months past, and not soon after I noted a post where she said she was having a minor medical procedure done. Then came a flurry of sympathy posts for her passing, and her sister turned the deceased's Facebook page into a memorial site.
The end result of this was I ended up interviewing the owners of Butler Funeral Home about how the funeral industry was handling social media.
The first thing that Mr. Butler said was that whatever the medium used the human impulse to share news, and to give support, doesn't change. However, that with social media the spread of the news has sped up. He mentioned that this is something that families might want to take into consideration when using social media to announce a passing.
When death happens there is a desperate need to reach out to the living, and in telling of the death to try to deal with the reality. Smart phones, laptops, and tablets make it far easier to reach out to friends and acquaintances, but the speed of communication sometimes out runs more traditional means. Mr. Butler said they have heard of families who heard about a death on Facebook before the official call came.
The speed of interaction can also be a blessing for those directly involved, because it does allow of nearly instantaneous outpouring of sympathy, and help. It is also a way to share out funeral arrangements, and funeral homes are helping with this by linking obituaries to their social media.
The Facebook accounts, and other social media, can also offer a place to share memories, which is particularly helpful for friends and acquaintances that can't be there in person. And if desired that page can be turned into a permanent tribute to the deceased.
Cathy Mosley brings her 26 years of storytelling and writing experience to the realm of Social Media. To help small businesses.