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3 Lies and a Truth: Online Presence
If you’ve never had the joy of playing this little icebreaker, it’s exactly like it sounds. Below are four statements. Three are lies, one is true.
Today’s edition is regarding your online presence.
Feeling lucky? Take a guess!
- Social Media is Free Marketing
- You have to have a Facebook Page
- You have to have a website
- You can skip Social Media
Do you have your guess? The true statement is… drumroll…
#4 You can skip social media
Curious to know why?
Truth: You can skip social media
Shocked? Telling people they can skip social media in today’s business landscape is sort of like telling a farmer that they don’t need to plow, or a hairdresser that they don’t need to shampoo. Isn’t social media just what we do these days?
Social Media is an amazing asset and since it’s relatively new, there are tons of possibilities to really build a platform for your business and customize what you want that platform to look like and who you want it to reach. That said, you can be successful without it.
Not sure if social media is for you? Think about who your audience is and how much time they spend on social media. Many traditional businesses (finance, law, medical to name a few) could actually tarnish their brand by being on social media, as their clientele wants to perceive them as serious and professional, and does not want to think of their attorney or surgeon having time to tweet the breeze. Social Media also takes a lot of time to manage well and for small businesses or any business without a dedicated social media team, it may be more work than merits the reward.
Social Media is meant to be engaging, so the real question is how you engage with your clients. If you primarily engage via phone or email, you may be able to opt out of social engagement. Also, unless you have interesting things to say, it’s better to not say anything.
Lie: Social Media is Free Marketing
I can’t count the times I’ve heard people encourage business owners to take on social media because it’s “Free Marketing.” The truth is that while it does not cost money to set up a Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/Pinterest/Snapchat/Instagram/etc page, it does take time, and all business owners know that time is money.
To manage even one social media platform will take a good chunk of time, which can eat into your profits. There is time involved in writing the posts, putting together an editorial calendar, posting the posts, and monitoring for user engagement.
There are also additional costs associated to manage a page really well, such as purchasing images so that you have a more aesthetically pleasing page (as opposed to a sea of text), you may need a copywriter, social media ads to direct people to your page, or you may need to expand your social media services into analytics and third party posting sites.
While Social Media can be a cost-effective way to market, it’s certainly not free.
Lie: You have to have a Facebook Page (or any specific medium)
There is no one-stop social media solution that works for every business. For some reason, Facebook seems to be a hot button these days. Often, the first thing I hear small business owners and entrepreneurs ask me, or each other, is “Do you have a Facebook page?” I’m not completely sure why Facebook is so top of mind. It is a great platform for marketing, for some businesses. Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest/etc are all great platforms for marketing, for some businesses.
Not sure where to start with your social media? Ask yourself who you are trying to attract, and where they are likely to be. For example, if you are building community relationships, sharing events or news, Facebook may be optimal. If you are fast moving, or provide educational services, maybe consider Twitter. If you are in a visual field, interior decorating, crafting, etc, Pinterest, Instagram or Etsy may be more suitable.
It’s best to commit to one medium and do it really well than to try to manage several half-heartedly. And like we mentioned above, social media is not free, so you want to make sure that whichever medium you go with is producing enough fruit to warrant the time and money you are putting into it.
Lie: You have to have a website
This is a tricky one, because in most cases, websites are almost synonymous with existence. However, there are some cases, especially in this era of social media, that you may not need one. If you work with an elderly clientele that doesn’t use the internet, you may be better suited with more old-fashioned marketing like direct mail or print ads. Or if you’re a community shop, you may be able to get by with a Facebook page, or a blog, or a simple landing page. Like we noted above, it’s best to do one thing well than many things half-heartedly, and that includes web maintenance. Think about what works best for both you and your audience.
Want to learn more? Stay tuned for additional social media and web presence insights on Honey MAP Blog.