This is a timely and I’ll even go as far as saying the most important article we will produce because it involves Social Media for Business. It wasn’t too long ago that most entrepreneurs were poo pooing the idea of investing any of their marketing budget on platforms like Facebook or Instagram. Today with the onset of COVID-19 and a literal total shutdown of most brick and mortar operations, business is giving Social Media a second look.
So Why Social Media?
The answer is pretty evident, in a nutshell it is the word “Digital”. The digital world has been the home of such industries like marketing and sales for decades now. Jeff Bezos, the richest man on the planet launched his business online and it is still growing to be the leading force in distribution, all digitally.
The business which is able to pivot and take their products online will end up a winner moving forward in 2020. Conversely the business’ which continue to hold fast to the standard of the brick and mortar may well go the way of the Dodo bird.
What Is It and Why Is It Beneficial?
Before we get too far out over our skis let’s answer the question. “What is Social Media and more importantly Why is it beneficial to me and my business.
Fair enough question. Social Media goes back to the start of the internet. There was a time when people began spending more and more time on the internet looking for answers to questions. Someone came up with a great idea, let us create an area where like-minded people can meet to answer questions about certain topics. Those meeting places were called “Bulletin Boards”
Bulletin Boards were meeting spaces where people would input a question and the theory was someone would see your question and give you their most educated guess on the solution. Sometimes it worked, most of the time it didn’t.
Bulletin Boards evolved into larger and larger meeting halls. One of the first Social Media sights was a place called MySpace. Now people could create friendships with thousands of people from across the planet. The world of Social Media was born.
As these platforms grew programmers added functionality and interest. People began to upload music and then came video. Once this happened the lid was blown off and business got interested.
Never before in the history of man was a person sitting in their pajamas and with a cup next to them able to launch a business from the privacy of their own room via the internet. That’s how powerful Social Media became.
Today, the number, specificity and complexity of these platforms is unimaginable back in 1990’s. No one could have ever imagined a site devoted specifically to digital video, or just pictures. Who would have ever imagined people making 6 and 7 figures uploading their 3-minute videos on a weekly basis?
That is the power of Social Media. Your business, product or service can be displayed for all the world to see. All you have to do is follow a few protocols and conceivably you could become the next Google or Amazon.com. It is really up to your imagination and understanding of the platforms.
Why Are You Getting Online?
The driving force behind taking your business online is to find a solution to the lack of face to face interaction with your normal customer. All around the U.S. consumers are still either hunkered down, locked out of the economy my government restrictions. These folks are unable to get to your restaurant or corner shop.
Then there are the people who are just afraid to go out and shop. They find it easier to shop online. In many cases, other than those hard to find items, most of your shopping can be done online. Why brave the streets when you can call Grubhub to deliver your meals, Albertsons to deliver your groceries and I’ve even heard that you can have clothing delivered to your home.
So there is an incentive to place your brick and mortar online. It is a simple matter of change or go out of business. Like the merchants of old who had to grow with the times, the steam locomotive is putting the horse drawn carriage out of business.
Here is a listing of the Major online Social Media sites. To be sure there are hundreds of them on the internet. Each one doing its best to garner the attention of the world, but these are the standouts. We’ll talk a little bit about how to use some the Top Tier sights in a future article but for now let’s just familiarize you with who they are.
Top 10 Social Media Sites
- -print using limited text characters
- – family/business/videos
- -business professionals
- Google+-print (being phased out)
- -video based and movies
- – Picture based but also uses video
- – pictures
Each of these sites has an audience they are trying to serve. It is important to understand what market you are in front of when you join one or a handful of these sites. Marketing to the wrong audience can be as detrimental as not marketing enough to the right audience.
In the final two sections we’ll discuss the most important things to consider when marketing utilizing Social Media. It is vital that you or and marketing team understand the SM culture, protocols, and systems in order to make the best out of your time and budget.
There is a reason why people watch certain shows on TV. One of the mail reasons is that there is a consistency to show. You can count on the show airing at a certain time and day of the week. It is on the schedule. SM professionals have found out that the most successful people in marketing are the ones who are very consistent in their post to social media sites.
We have a thing called “Followers” on most Social Media sites. These are the people who are interested in what you have to say or do. They are your Followers or fans. They want to be able to hear from you on a regular basis. When they don’t hear from you on a regular basis, they tend to go looking for someone else who is more consistent. This is what we mean by your marketing plan to be consistent in your posting to one of these Social Media sites.
The final topic we will touch on in this introduction is on the topic of Scheduling. We all aren’t just busy, we are extremely busy. Posting or marketing on your business account on Social media sites can be a time-consuming endeavor. Creating a systematic scheduled system is essential.
In most cases you will be able to do all of your posting in the morning hours and be on with your day. I have been able to be amazingly effective and spend a minimal amount of time online so that I can turn my attention to other matters during the day.
Stay tuned for Part II of Social Media 101 for Small Business