Social Media Marketing: Small Business Hype?

Are social media marketing claims just hype?

Are social media marketing claims just hype?

Do you wonder if social media is really right for your small business or if all the claims are just hype?

Are you weary of being told how you have to establish your small business on social media or get left in the dust?

Are you getting tired of hearing how social media marketing is the best thing for small business since sliced bread?

If so, here are the bare, unadorned facts about social media that you should consider.

Social Media Marketing isn’t for Sissies

That’s right.  Social media marketing is for those… …with the persistence and commitment to the ongoing marketing of their businesses online. It is for those who are willing to learn how to do social media correctly and for those who understand marketing is not like flipping a light switch.  It requires discipline and focused effort.  If these characteristics don’t describe you, then social media marketing may not be right for you or for your business.

Small business owners who think social media marketing will be a ‘quick-fix’ to a bad economy or that sporadic and minimal effort will somehow magically generate revenue will be sorely disappointed.  These are the folks who will tell you…

I tried social media and it didn’t work for my business.

Social media will work for any business and it can produce some fantastic bottom line results for small business owners.  But it takes time to build momentum and to achieve desired results.  One doesn’t run and marathon the first time out.  One doesn’t lose 20 pounds or build wash-board abs overnight.  One doesn’t become a skilled pianist overnight.  To accomplish good things, takes an upfront strategy, time, persistence and effort and social media is no different.

Sequence to Social Media Marketing

Many don’t understand there is a natural sequence to any marketing effort and, again, social media is no exception.  This sequence goes something like this:

1 – Input of your investment (Time, Money, Resources)

2 – Your ongoing committed action

3 – Consumer’s begin to respond

4 – Pre-financial impact starts to happen

5 – Bottom line impact begins to happen

The one critical ingredient to success through social media is patience.  It’s not an immediate ROI! If you can accept that fact, and are willing to invest the time, energy and budget dollars needed, social media can help in growing your business.

So what are pre-financial impacts?  What should you be monitoring?  They include:

  • An increase in website visitors
  • An increase of impressions
  • Positive press mentions
  • Click through rates
  • Positive word-of-mouth mentions
  • Blog mentions
  • Increased followers through social media venues such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn

When you begin to see these things occur, you know you’re efforts are beginning to pay off in generating additional revenue for your business.   These impacts are also clear signs you’re using social media effectively.   If these impacts aren’t happening, it may be time to stop and figure out what you could be doing wrong.

How do you measure these social media marketing pre-financial impacts?  There are tons of tools available to measure all aspects of social media.  You have to determine which tool works for your purposes, but here are a few of the major monitoring tools and they’re free.

  • Technorati
  • Google Blog Search
  • Twitter Search
  • Google Alerts

The question you have to answer for you and your small business:  Is social media marketing for you?  If you’re not willing to do the heavy lifting or to be engaged in the process, then the answer is probably “No”.  But if you understand the ground rules and are willing to put in the effort, you can reap some fantastic rewards.  if this is you, you need to get started now.

Sheila Hibbard

Sheila Hibbard takes the fluff, hype and confusion out of marketing and social media. She provides small business owners with straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results based on her 35 plus years in advertising, communications, research, strategic planning and social media. Author of Marketing Online Made Simple - WHO.

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