Read this awesome article from Neal Schaffer of Windmill Networking. What he calls an oxymoron I will call “unrealistic expectations.” Small business social media marketing is broken (or nonexistent), and the reason is that small business owners (along with a majority of medium-sized business owners, large business owners, corporations, not-for-profits and NGOs, governmental agencies, etc) think social is the next great marketing platform. No. Take your marketing hat off.
Small businesses have less money to spend on marketing, on their awareness and visibility strategy, but they need those dollars to have an oversized effect on their bottom line. NOW. Small businesses just have less wiggle room than large corporations. Eventually, when the small business owner realizes that it will require their time and heart to make this work, social lands at the bottom of the totem pole, right below doing the books for the month. That is not where it belongs.
I know social media consultants that will promise results in three months, a certain number of followers, and the like. It’s completely foolish, but it gets them the job. Then you’re delivering rubbish on rubbish. I love Neal’s article because it is brutally honest. I try to be equally as honest with clients, possibly to my detriment. Social is not a quick-fix. It’s not a way to move a bunch of old product today. It’s just not like that. Once you have a committed group of followers, it can be used in such a way. But not at first.
Neal also points out that Social Media ROI goes beyond a simple metric or two. Done correctly, it’s going to positively affect your entire organization. Think of it this way: we seek more than money at our jobs. We seek camaraderie and fulfillment. What are the kinds of things companies do to keep employees happy and engaged? Summer softball? An amazing off-site training session? A worthwhile company-wide charitable endeavor? Yes, things like that. Then the company uses social media to share photography and stories from those events and many more, and we all feel just a little more like a family. And I stay instead of quitting. Steven Hawking will start calculating the ROI on my decision right away.