Social media, as the name implies, is social. It was not built to showcase your company photo gallery nor to highlight press releases about your latest client success stories. It was merely adapted to suit the needs of multimillion dollar companies that thrive on incessant, burn-into-your-brain advertising (think McDonalds or Nike).
It’s no wonder a recent poll showed that ⅓ of small and medium-sized businesses would like to spend less time on Facebook and Twitter. With ½ of you spending almost an hour per day checking in, posting photos and begging for likes and followers, it’s no wonder you want out. Can you imagine what an extra hour per day would look like?
So in the spirit of saving you your two weeks vacation, the equivalent of the average time businesses spend engrossed in social media per year, here’s three reasons why you should feel good about leaving social media behind.
1. If Apple Can Do It, So Can You
One of the world’s most iconic brands doesn’t tweet or post. That’s right – Apple has resisted the urge to jump on the social media bandwagon. But if you know anything about the company or its founders it makes perfect sense. Since creating the first personal computer kit four decades ago, they’ve shown a laser focus on their products that’s unmatched. The excitement and enthusiasm surrounding their product launches hits wall street, main street and everywhere in between. The reason? A good experience is worth a thousand tweets. As Ed Keller says, CEO of the marketing research firm Keller Fay that’s done work for CNN, Target, Coca-Cola and countless others, “90% of brand conversations happen offline.” When it comes down to utilizing your resources as efficiently as you can, this is certainly a case against social media.
Now that’s not to say its been a yellow brick road to the top for Apple, however it’s clear that they know how to do two things: build valuable products and subsequently market valuable products. Certainly, these are good footsteps to follow.
2. No One Will Be Missing Your Brand
It’s a funny thing to think that just because you can do something, you should. This takes into account one of the larger issues I see contractors and service pros running into on the internet. It’s far too typical to see John Doe’s Plumbing appearing on any webpage that will take him – most of which are free directory listings. Instead, he should be focusing his marketing dollars in the places that matter – major search engines and review websites like Google, Angie’s List, Yelp and others. When it comes to the internet, SMBs lose their marketing instincts and place their name anywhere it will stick. Think of it this way: why is the neighborhood Yellowpages no longer worth your investment? Because no one reads it; it’s no longer relevant.
Getting back to social media, it’s no longer relevant (nor frankly ever was) for small businesses, those that rely heavily on word of mouth and direct customer acquisition, to be featured next to updates about “how amazing my boyfriend is.” You’re trying to penetrate a world of social interaction that has no room for contractors. And why should it? That’s not its main purpose and the further Facebook and Twitter stray from their core business model, the less likely they are to succeed.
When updates about how many reps I did at the gym or why the rain makes me sad are newsworthy, your content will be simply boring at best. And for those of you who don’t post photos, unfortunately you don’t stand a chance.
3. It’s Much, Much Harder Than You Think
We all have this notion (me included) that social media is a breeze. You post a few updates, throw up a couple photos and the customers come flocking. But the reality is much bleaker than you probably realize.
As I mentioned above, the purpose of social media is distinctly social. With that said, you start your advertising with an objective to overcome, as oppose to search advertising where customers are actively seeking for your service. So penetrating to the level of where your friends and followers think of you first when it comes to a home repair via social media is highly unlikely. It takes continual updates that are both intriguing and engaging to make this level of impact. Unless you can justify hiring a Social Media Manager, you aren’t going to get there.
Greater Dividends Elsewhere
Now this isn’t to say all contractors have failed when it comes to social media. You likely know a few that have succeeded. But in my experience, these are the exceptions, not the rule. Typically a popular campaign includes a unique voice and a clear message – something particularly funny or cutting-edge (again, much harder than you may think). But with so many companies crowding the space, there’s certainly better uses of your time. Pay per click advertising, search marketing and a strategy for collecting reviews, just to name a few. This is where my focus would be.
Any other suggestions on where you’ve seen success?
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