When to Start Promoting Your Business on Social Media
Social Media has come a long way from its MySpace days (yeah we went there). The concept used to be reserved for a handful of websites where you, and your friends, could keep each other updated on cool things without a phone call. Now social media refers to the current state of the internet and the big 5 platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest) receive reverence from individuals and businesses alike. (or irreverence, fake-news, shade, and parent shaming are quite prevalent after all.) No matter your opinion, the bottom line is, you know you ‘should be doing social’
While anytime is going to be a good time to start (better late than never and all that), sometimes there are roadblocks that prevent you from promoting your business on social media. Here are 5 common reasons why people avoid social media marketing, and how to know when you’re ready to move past them.
1. Social Media Strategy Is Intimidating
Many companies start out on social media without much of a plan. They’ll post pictures from the office, and promotions they’ve used from other sources, but don’t really get into the details and intricacies of a social media marketing strategy. At this stage in the game, there’s a mountain of resources, blogs, and webinars to fill your hours with all kinds of tips, tricks, and 10 point strategies for your social media marketing.
The sheer amount of ‘knowledge’ is intimidating. Which is why you don’t really worry about it. But at some point, this approach will get you in trouble. Your customers are on social media and, more than likely, they’re talking about you already. Social media is one giant conversation and no business is left out.
The key to drowning out the noise of all the resources for social media strategy is to pick one. Or hire one. Pick a high-level influencer who has worked in your industry with social media then follow their recommendations. Alternatively, you can hire a social media manager or marketing agency to make sense of it all. But how do you know when you’ve gotten to the point that your current efforts are putting your reputation at risk? The short answer is, you’re most likely already at this point….
The longer answer is: if you don't see significant growth year over year on your social media pages (in engagement, click through rates or followers, your current efforts are wasting time. If you were to look up your brand name on social media (not your page, but a search for your name) do you see conversations happening and if so, have you commented on any of them? If you’re not seeing growth, or if you’re seeing conversations you weren’t aware of or involved in.. it’s time to get a strategy in the works.
2. You’re Not Ready for More Leads (Yet)
The best time for any business to look into hiring a social media professional is *before* they need a plethora of new leads. Social media marketing is a slow burn. It’s a long term play. Social media is often one of the first stops in the sales funnel. (More on Funnel Marketing in this blog). It’s not an immediate boost in awareness and customers like the so-called professional coaches say it is. Waiting until you need more leads will put you, and your future social media manager or agency in a tight spot. Social media marketing done correctly includes a high amount of inbound marketing.
Customers that follow you on social want to know why you do what you do and what your brand philosophies are. Branding, providing value, and maintaining your reputation is going to take up the majority of your social efforts. There are definitely methodologies that will bring in leads from social media, but it’s about quality over quantity, and quality leads typically come after the initial build.
If 6 months to a year from now you can see yourself wanting to expand your clientele, get on social media now.
Work out a solid strategy (or hire a manager or agency to handle it) and you’ll start to see results. It takes time, strategy and patience to set up and build a following of qualified leads.
3. Your Current Social Presence is Difficult Enough (with little/no results)
More often than not I see businesses begin their social presence by giving it to an employee or randomly posting on social without a set schedule or strategy. This kind of posting isn’t going to bring in real results. Giving it to your marketing team is one thing, giving it to the intern, is probably doing more harm than good.
If the lack of results (aka leads) from social is holding you back, take a look at your current strategy (if one exists) and see if that might be the determining factor. It may also be a matter of your industry not being popular amongst the audience of the social platform you’re on. Or it could be the content of the post, the images, or a million other factors. A social media manager or agency will have the tools available to research what will work for your brand specifically and test and adjust until it works.
4. Algorithms Change (AKA: the big names are just out for money)
Pay-to-play. That’s what marketers call it these days. Many social media platforms have updated their algorithms to the point where brands that aren’t paying for ads simply aren’t receiving the kind of attention and engagement they need. This is a serious financial roadblock for many businesses who can’t afford to test their ads in the capacity necessary to fine-tune real results. There are organic posting methods that will reach the attention of your current audience and help boost your follower count and engagement rate. However, if this is stopping you from starting social media at all we recommend you wait until you have a modest budget to run one month’s campaign. The jump you get from running even a month of ads will kick you off to a good start. You may not be able to afford more now, but a solid organic strategy will get you through until you can afford more.
5. There’s too much to manage
Some companies are long established and have been running successfully without even opening a Facebook page. So when the proverbial ‘they’ tell you to be on social media for your company, it can seem like either a waste of time and resources or an intimidating venture you’re not sure you’re ready for. There are so many factors to running a ‘good’ social media page that jumping in when you’re already experiencing great results can sound like a waste of time.
The timing to consider here is when you’re ready to expand your frontiers. Social media is able to reach an incredibly large audience. But you have to understand the strategy and research behind a good organic or paid campaign to run it well. That means until you’re ready to grow your business and reach to the next level, you may not want to start promoting your business on social.
It’s important to reserve the handles and implement the branding by keeping your profile pictures and banners update with your logo. Don’t fall into the trap of random acts of marketing on your social page until you’re ready to invest in the new opportunities social media can hand you. When your team is starting to feel stretched for more business (either because there’s too much, or not enough) before you have to make any other changes, consider hiring a professional to handle your social media marketing. Social media can grow your business and take it from struggling to steady or from steady to abundance, but as we’ve noted before, it takes time, patience and solid strategy.
Are you ready now?
If you identified with any of these positions, perhaps you’ll have a new perspective on when you will be ready for professional social media marketing. If that’s now, we’d love to talk. If you’re unsure, we’d love to discuss it further with you and provide advice on when to pull the trigger. Our initial consultations are free and we are happy to help. We don’t want to up-sell you on anything. We want you to be ready and comfortable right from the start so you can expect an honest answer. We’d also love to hear your thoughts! Comment with your opinion on when owners should promote their business on social media.