Everywhere we look these days, companies are proudly touting their social media presence. Restaurants, car dealerships, ecommerce stores, even paid parking lots – they all want you to “Like” them, and are conceivably spending significant dollars to entice followers. But does social media make sense for every business? Can anyone afford to not be in the game?
The answer is mixed. Yes, everyone needs some social media presence,
for reasons we’ll explore, but not every business should be required to
spend a great deal of time or effort.
There are key aspects to the social landscape that all businesses
need to be mindful of, or risk embarrassment or failure. Yet it seems
most business owners think it’s an all or nothing cause. This attitude
can waste precious marketing dollars, so read on to see where your
business falls in the mix.
Why Totally Ignoring Social Media is Dangerous
It’s obvious why many business owners would want to shut out the
social stratosphere – it’s often filled with high-maintenance customers
that only want to complain or score a discount or freebie. Yelp
is a particular thorn in the side for many local entrepreneurs, but
ignoring the complaints of the masses unfortunately does not make it all
go away. Just the opposite, it sounds the alarm.
Let’s put it this way – if the internet has even a small smattering
of complaints about your business that have gone unanswered, you’re in
big trouble. Negative reviews can live in infamy for many, many years;
like it or not, you need to have a staff member that is dealing with
customer feedback. Don’t let the web engage in conversations about your
company if you’re MIA. Be there, keep the record straight, make good on
complaints, and be proactive about staying connected to your audience.
Need more incentive? If you don’t maintain a social media presence
for your brand, someone else might do it for you, with highly damaging
results. Just ask Exxon. When some clever hackers created a fake Twitter
account called “Exxon Cares” this year, their lack of due diligence in
watching their brand’s social presence resulted in a major PR coup. The
hackers sent a gaggle of sarcastic tweets as a result of the Exxon Pegasus pipeline rupture.
Because Exxon took eons to notice, the hackers had a field day,
garnering hundreds of followers, retweets, and comments. It’s impossible
to gauge how much this hurt Exxon’s image, or what it cost as they
attempted to undo the damage, but you know it wasn’t cheap.
Finally, for the sheer sake of SEO rankings, you need to have basic
contact and business information on sites like Facebook and Google+.
Search engines are giving more and more credibility to social signals,
and failing to have at least a minimal appearance can wreak havoc on
your search results.
You know who would love it, however, if you did ignore the social
space? Your competitors. If they’re working hard to build an audience of
loyal customers, they would be honored and thrilled to steal your
potential fan base.
How Much Should You Spend? That Depends On Your Industry.
OK, so it’s clear that the head-in-the-sand approach isn’t beneficial
regarding social media. This does not mean everyone should hire a
full-time social media expert and go crazy on every single platform. In
order to wisely spend your resources, it’s imperative you consider what
kind of company you run, and the relevance of social media to your
Let’s talk about some examples. Local businesses like coffee shops,
restaurants, mechanics, dry cleaners – just about anyone who offers
goods or services that customers regularly need or want, those folks all
need a strong social presence. Non-profits are no-brainers too, as is
any ecommerce site or fully digital business.
Who doesn’t need to go crazy in the social space? Folks that own
niche businesses that customers only reach out to in isolated cases.
Like paid parking lots, for example. Likewise, businesses that deal with
the darker parts of life. Divorce lawyers. Government agencies. Funeral
homes. Have you seen some of these funeral home pages on Facebook? One
of them even posted a “business happy hour” (that has since been
removed.) Seriously, do they actually think this will entice folks to
choose their funeral services during a time of need? It’s bizarre, and
frankly, more than a little distasteful.
Again, all of these businesses should absolutely have a basic social
presence. The question is whether or not to invest hours and hours a
month in creative campaigns and audience engagement. Divorce lawyers
need testimonials, they need to be found on search engines – but they do
not need to run social contests, to poll their fans, or to post content
Social media is not, despite popular belief, free advertising.
Creating a truly engaged and loyal fan base is expensive and time
consuming. If it makes sense for your business, you’ll get lost in the
media dust if you don’t jump in with full force. But be wise about your
words and reputation, or your efforts may produce the opposite effect.
What kind of social media presence have you found works for your
business? Have you opted for a “less is more” approach, gone all-in, or
ignored it all together?
For more information on anything you have read in this article please call teh IT support experts Click Networks on 0141 530 9116 or visit our website here: http:/www.clicknetworks.co.uk
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