In today’s online arena, businesses of every size are engaging their audience and potential clients through social media. Even the term social media is bigger now than a year or two ago. Whether you like it or not, it’s a medium you’re going to have to deal with if you want to grow your business. For us, our best reasoning to our clients is “It’s better that you use it and expand your brand to your community, or your competitor will.”
This is probably the main reason why social media costs so much. I know there’s plenty of people who tell you that you can do it in just a few minutes a day and never have to think about it for the rest of the day. Not entirely true. Scheduling posts is a great way to leverage your time, but what happens when your posts get a bunch of responses and some of them are viable leads? Do you then respond the following day when the trail is cold? I hope not. You respond while they’re engaged and lead them to a meeting, phone call, or call to action on your website, or better yet to BUY SOMETHING! This isn’t possible if you’re not available to respond when things are happening.
There are quite a few social media companies out there. You don’t have to search hard before you find one either locally or via a quick Google search. What may be hard to find is what they charge, hourly or monthly rates, and what your ROI may be. (we’ll get into ROI shortly). Lets go the hourly route for now. Signing on to each of your accounts doesn’t take long right? Then thinking of a good post that is NOT the same for all your accounts may take 5-7 minutes each to come up with something clever and original. Using Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule your posts could take about 2-3 minutes each to post a message and a short link. Reading back your feeds, wall posts, timelines, etc could take about 5-10 minutes each here depending on all the people you follow, and save or read posts. Then of course you have to respond to their posts, blog articles, at-replies, direct messages, wall comments. I’d say another 4-5 minutes. Did I lose you? Add all that up for all your separate accounts and you’ll easily be over an hour’s worth of your morning coffee.
ROI – Return On Investment
There’s a couple of ways to look at this. For the business owner trying to do this on their own, you’re immediate ROI is the money you may save by doing your marketing on your own. However, you also have to invest in a LOT of constant research to stay up on all the latest updates and improvements in order to ensure you’re social profiles and accounts are the best that they can be. Honestly that’s a daily task that isn’t done in under an hour.
Using a marketing firm probably won’t give you back 2-1 for each dollar you spend either. Chances are you’ll spend a lot more than you stand to make. Of course this rather depends on your website, products, and or services. There are ways to gauge the effectiveness of their services though:
- New fan page Likes
- New Twitter followers (real users, not spammers)
- Improved views on your customized YouTube page
- More connections and recommendations on Linked In
- Improved +1’s on Google Plus
Unique Identity and Personality
You can’t fool people. Well some maybe, but its pretty easy to discover social accounts that are poorly managed. You’ve seen them, the big goose egg for a Twitter avatar instead of a nice head-shot. The overstretched fan page cover art that was never created specifically for the cover art but instead chosen by Facebook automatically. The Linked In profile picture that is of a family pet or worse the person in a swimsuit. (I’d post actual pictures, but I don’t want to get hate mail). My favorite are the ones that got started, got heavy into it, then suddenly stopped and never returned. They most likely got frustrated with the lack of engagement for many reasons both valid and some unbeknownst to them.
Each of your social profiles should be a little bit different because of the audience of that platform. For example, your Twitter avatar and profile may be a bit more casual, where your Linked In profile will and should be more business professional. One major point about each of your profiles though is that they’re optimized fully. Meaning a great bio, edited profile or avatar picture, links back to your website, phone numbers, and if possible location and email address for quick contact.
I hope that this was informal to you. If you have any accounts that may need a bit more attention, please take a few minutes and adjust them now. If you believe you can take on your companies social media accounts, be encouraged that you can do so and be effective so long as you keep up with your audience in whatever way or medium they’re most active. For those of you who don’t mind sharing please comment below in how much time you spend daily or weekly in your social efforts.