So you’ve just started your business. You’ve got your savings, loan, government handouts, etc., and a dream to make money. I’m surprised at the amount of people who immediately think their top priority is a social media plan. I realize this is industry specific, but unless your industry is providing social media services (a suspect business in itself, and I’ll explain why in a future post), I don’t see how it should even be in the top 5 of things that should concern you as a small business. (EDIT: I suppose some sort of public speaker or someone on a quest to Internet fame could prioritize this)
This is not to say that social media is not something to pay attention to, there are just far more important things to deal with. The foremost (and arguably 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-most) important aspect is generating sales. I have personally seen few examples of a tweet resulting in direct sales. Sales should always be at the forefront of your business as without sales, your business is not a business…it’s a hobby. Unless you’re really good at writing grants, that doesn’t cut it.
What I have seen, is Twitter building brand and establishing a presence so that people are aware of your existence. In a short, free advertising. Unfortunately, nothing is ever free and the time it takes you (even if you just schedule a bunch of updates) is not worth the time for most business owners. In the time it takes for you to create (or even schedule) your updates, read what’s up with your followers, and interact with them, think of how your time could have been dedicated elsewhere into actions such as project management, sales, or account/relationship management.
You can outsource project and account management, but, theoretically, nobody will ever be able to sell your business as well as you can. Whether it’s going into a coral of other hungry business people called a ‘networking session’, or having a beer with someone you have a genuine (potential money-making) connection with, as the face of your organization, you’re better off utilizing that face instead of a keyboard.
I would never excuse doing something like sales or account management to update my social media. Again, I have spoken with far too many people who prioritize their social media presence higher than the most important things a business can have. Your social media is not a priority, it doesn’t make people give you money. It can make people be slightly aware of you so they don’t slam the door in your face, but it is definitely not a substitute. It may be the way this company started, but I do not believe there will ever be a substitute to pounding the pavement and speaking to people.
I waste my time sometimes. It pains me to admit it, but I am not as efficient as I can be. It is times like this that I update my social media. I only do so enough to remain in people’s sight and minds, and on my downtime as a leisure activity. Also, as Denote grows, we are beginning to have others manage our social media for us (we are assembling an AMAZING team by the way). I believe after nearly 3 years, that we are also at a point where we can benefit from emphasizing brand awareness and it is time to take our organization to the next plateau.
Denote is not yet at a place where we can benefit from a comprehensive social media strategy, but our client experience has taught us that after a certain size, it’s a worthwhile investment. Large brands, politicians, charities, events. These are all great examples of types of organizations that can benefit greatly from engaging an audience on platforms on the web (You could probably defeat me in a debate over politics though). When you get to the point where you’re large enough that you can sustain the costs of a comprehensive social media strategy, call us and we’d be happy to develop one for you. Until then, call us and we’d be happy to help you out as much as we can anyway. We’d love to find enough work for us to do that we don’t have to feel guilty just charging you for social media.
What do you think? Is social media a waste of your time? (Think hard before answering that one!) Has social media directly made you money? What industry are you in? I’d love to learn!