If a business wants to be found, connected, and relevant in the digital world, it must have an online presence. Social media is the driver of social engagement, lead generation, website traffic, and referred leads on the web. Many businesses have procrastinated when it comes to starting a social media strategy, offering reasons such as lack of time or lack of knowledge in the area of social media. Many simply don’t understand how social media will benefit them. Take a moment to consider each of those reasons as it relates to your particular business.
Do I Have the Time?
On average, socially active small businesses devote six to 10 hours each week to social media. For a small business, that can be a lot of time. However, consider that the average Canadian spends up to 50 minutes a day checking his or her social media, and then multiply that by the number of customers in your target market. This amounts to tens of thousands of hours during which your online presence can be found.
Do I Have the Expertise?
Although social media isn’t rocket science, it does require a general understanding of how it works and how to optimize the time spent working in it. There is a learning curve for both the technological aspects and the communication aspects of social media. If you can’t devote the time to familiarize yourself with the tools to manage your social media, you could outsource to a part-time social media expert. While it is an added expense, you need to consider how you are going to spend your advertising and marketing budget. An effective social media campaign can be your least expensive form of marketing.
Do I Have Anything to Offer to the Conversation?
The key to engaging your market through social media is to avoid selling your products or services. So, what is the point, you ask? Social media is exactly what the term implies: a platform to engage socially with a community of like-minded people. When people gather socially, they don’t want to be sold anything. However, they talk about things that interest them, help them, and inspire them. If you don’t think you have anything of value to add to the conversation, then you probably shouldn’t engage. However, if your products or services attract certain kinds of people with particular interests or concerns, chances are you can become a valuable source of information and ideas. That is how you attract your target market and help them learn about your business.
Is My Target Market Using Social Media?
If your target market is actively engaged on social media, your business needs to be engaged on social media. Having a web presence is critical, if for no other reason than to validate your existence to the market. With a social media presence, small businesses create the opportunity to engage with potential customers wherever they are located. At a minimum, your participation provides the social proof that you do exist, and you have something of value to offer.