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A small business owner asked me this question recently: Does it matter which social media channels my business focuses on?
This is a great question!
It does matter from a couple of angles:
- You need to be where your customers are.
- Focus is crucial, since each additional channel requires resources.
Let me elaborate….
- You need to be where your customers are. This always reminds me of a quote by Charlie Brown of Peanuts fame, “With my luck, when my ship comes in, I’ll be at the airport.” There’s where you THINK your customers are, and then there’s where they ACTUALLY are. This isn’t to say that your customers don’t frequent more than one social media channel, but you need to do the research and discover where MOST of them are. Many times I recommend Facebook to start, as the user base is enormous and many users search Facebook for products, services, and recommendations from their friends for these things.
I have heard the chorus of “I’m B2B…..my customers don’t hang out on Facebook!” Well, actually….yeah, they do. It’s just that they are not necessarily THINKING of themselves as B2B customers when they’re there. Think about how users communicate and utilize Facebook. Generally, we all approach it as users. We look for news (preferably NOT Fake News…), comment on posts by friends and family, share posts by significant causes and ‘celebrities’ we follow, and so on. I may be a program manager for a software company or the sales director for a manufacturer, but that’s not my primary mindset when I log onto Facebook……..BUT I still have that role acting as a trigger in my consciousness. If I see a boost of an article that interests me, or and ad from your business that catches my eye, I may go “Oooooh!” and click on the link. Suddenly I’m the program manager or the sales director, even if just for a few moments. Your business has my attention.
Now’s your chance. Is your content compelling? Relevant? Entertaining? Does it make me want to find out more? Does it raise the awareness of my offerings or improve my reputation as an expert with the viewer? Is it valuable to them? If it is all these things, you have a great chance of advancing this user further along the relationship path that VACC (Visitors/Audience/Customers/Community) defines (if you’re curious about VACC, search for other references throughout the Social Sapiens site).
If you are trying to accomplish this on a less-than-effective channel, you MAY have some success, but you won’t be where the bulk of the opportunity is. That’s a problem, since the problem you are trying to solve, in this case, is to engage your VACC and grow your business in a timely fashion. You want to address the biggest number of members of your VACC as you can with the most effective use of resources available to your business. Not being where most of them are doesn’t help you toward this goal.
How can you get some idea of where they hang out on line? Well, you COULD ASK THEM….most businesses have a mailing list of some sort, and there are a number of online survey tools (my default is SurveyMonkey, but use what works for you…). SurveyMonkey has a very helpful set of guidance on creating good surveys. Read that through, build your survey and invite the members of your mailing list to participate. Don’t be discouraged if a small number actually take the survey…that’s not unusual. However, the results you do get will help you figure out where they dwell online and help you choose a channel wisely.
- Focus is crucial, since each additional channel require resources. A chief component of FOCUS is CONSISTENCY (and FLEXIBILITY, but more on that in a bit…). The benefit of the kind of focus and consistency that addresses a single channel (or, maybe two, channels…) and the synergy between that channel and traffic to your web site means you can establish a strategy and implementation plan. Work it in an agile way that allows for the constant shifting of the channel and the Internet, not to mention your VACC. For most businesses, the work done up front lays the foundation for success, but the new processes can initially take a bit longer on a weekly basis because they’re new. Like any new way of doing things (or a whole new thing being done…), it takes a little bit to begin feeling comfortable with it and making it part of your regular routine. That smooths out over time. The resources, especially time, become optimized for you and your business. This new economy of save resources can be ‘spent’ in a number of ways: time to be reallocated to other activities, digging into the further fine points of improving your performance on the chosen social channel, or even doubling down on another channel where there is opportunity. It’s up to you…
I mentioned flexibility as a component of focus. That sounds counter-intuitive, but when you consider how quickly things can change on social media and the Internet, alongside the seasonal changes that impact your campaigns, flexibility can mean the difference between success and being totally left behind by your competitors and the market. All it takes is a new technology, a political shift in regulations, or an new channel that your VACC rushes toward. That’s just the Short List….I’m sure most of you can name an addition 3 – 5 things that COULD happen that would either open the doors for your business, or “suck all the air from the room,” so to speak. This is why I tell my clients that this is “a horse you cannot get off of.” If you suddenly abandon your digital assets (for whatever reason…), most of the people searching for you on the web (and that would be almost all of them…) will assume you are out of business. That’s extreme, but that is why getting this right is so crucial….and why I recommend you get professional help putting it together.
So, be careful out there. The business you save may be your own.
If you’re interested in how real professional help in setting this all up can make your business successful online, drop us a line today.
Like I mentioned, getting this right is crucial.