Over the past ten years I have talked to a lot of small business owners. One marketing reality when it comes to social media for small business is they almost universally believe they *need* social media. That might be fine but I have yet to find one who feels they *need* email marketing or a website as much. That is a problem.
The problem is that too many businesses are spending a tonne of time (or worse – all) on social and no time anywhere else. Meanwhile, while they’re desperately trying to gain organic reach, they are losing to the big spenders. Further, with each passing day Facebook and all of the social media platforms are cutting back on the potential organic reach. No matter how hard you try Big Social is going to show what they want and that is it.
Even if you’re good at it, it’s tough but if you are just posting your daily specials and the occasional meme well, you’re screwed.
How has Social Media for Small Business evolved?
In today’s digital age, social media is viewed as an essential component of any marketing strategy. Everyone is trying to leverage social media to gain more visibility and reach a wider audience. However, with so much content being created and shared every day, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out.
As social media evolved, businesses wanted to get in on the action – to be where their customers were and to build stronger relationships with their brands. As social became saturated with fake news and advertising, people weren’t feeling so great about it. What was once a place to catch up with friends, check out cool photos and videos, and find out what was on the go this weekend had become a place of polarized political debates and relentless ads for crap you didn’t want.
Let’s talk Social Media for Small Business ROI
This begs the question: Is the return on investment (both time and money) as high from creating social media content as it is from digital ads, email marketing, or SEO?
Let’s start by defining what we mean by return on investment (ROI). ROI is a measure of the profitability of an investment, typically expressed as a percentage. In the case of social media, ROI could be measured in terms of engagement (likes, comments, shares), website traffic, lead generation, and ultimately, revenue.
Social media has been a powerful tool for building brand awareness, creating a loyal following, and engaging with customers. However, it can be time-consuming and expensive to create high-quality social media content consistently. Moreover, the organic reach of social media content has been declining dramatically, meaning that fewer people see your posts, even if you have a large following.
All Work and No Reward. What’s Next?
My first advice for those wondering if social is worth it is to define your marketing stack. What tools do you use for marketing your small business? Assess how much time and money you put into each and what you get back from each. Don’t be too simplistic – it is more than direct sales – brand awareness is important, too. That said, don’t get caught up in trying to figure this out perfectly.
Marketing stacks can be complicated – for our purpose here just figure out what kinds of ads you run and where, what kind of website you have (Wix, WordPress, etc), what social media you use, and what other tools you are using to reach your customers.
We tend to lean into email marketing, a good website, good SEO, and digital ads on social, search, and websites across the web. We don’t discourage the use of social media for small business but we are certainly telling folks to spend a lot less of their time on social and a lot more of their time on these other things.
Here’s the bottom line and the part of this equation most small businesses miss: your time is valuable and the only social media that you absolutely must have for your business is the social media that is driving measurable results.
If you can’t figure out what that is, then get in touch. I am happy to talk measurability and ROI and help you get on the right track to grow your business.