WHAT YOU SUSPECTED ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA IS TRUE

"Customer Engagement"
"Building Brand Equity"
"Developing Your Brand Voice" 
"Creating a "Fan" Base"
"Building Community Network"

"If you're not on social media, you don't exist." 

Blah blah blah.

This fear mongering is annoying and not the whole story.

So let's get a few things straight.

1. You don't have to do anything

You don't have to be on facebook to build a business, so don't get your panties in a bunch when you read that. Yes for some businesses in some industries Facebook is an amazing tool (as can be twitter, instagram, linked in, etc...) but not being on them isn’t the life and death of most businesses. 

Actually, 80% of small businesses on facebook would be in the same exact position, possibly even a better position, if they weren’t on facebook. Where did I get that statistic? From my own two eyes! You know what I’m talking about. How often do you look at a fellow business owner’s facebook page of 87 followers and see that their last post was 2 months ago? My point exactly, that page is doing nothing for them.

2. “Don't half-ass four things. Whole-ass one thing" -Ron Swanson.

The biggest mistake people make in social is trying to be on everything, and then spreading themselves too thin. When you have a pathetic number of posts and followers, even if you are on every platform, it still doesn’t give a great impression. Instead, pick the one that makes the most sense for your company, and go hard.

Where is your audience, and what kind of information are they looking for? If you’re selling organic baby food, facebook is great because you can target ads to new moms, and we know they’re all there because we see all their baby photos. But if you’re selling art, go to Instagram where it was reported that the actor Leonardo DiCaprio bought a $15,000 by Jean-Pierre Roy, an emerging artist, over† the phone, after supposedly seeing it on Instagram. 

And do your best to give value, don’t just make “Me! Me! Me!” posts and expect people to follow you. There is lots written about this, you can start with point 3 here.

3.  Likes and Fans Don’t Mean Diddly-Squat if You Aren’t Getting Sales

If you don’t have a clear path to conversion (i.e. they see the ad and you know exactly how they are going to turn into a paying customer) then it’s not worth a cent. Hashtags don’t get you sales. "Impressions" don’t get you sales, and paying for “impressions” is ad sales fodder useful mostly to major corporations.  Planned marketing efforts executed creatively yield sales through social media, period. Yes you could get lucky with a random sale sometimes, but random luck is not the way to run a business.

4. Facebook: Pay Up or Lose

If you want to use Facebook to build your business you must spend money on ad dollars. This is not the post explaining how to do that but I’ll give you a few tips:

  • Always have a goal for a post/ad.
  • Want more people on your newsletter? Then make it an ad for an irresistible FREE download that people get for subscribing.
  • Launching a product, or want to sell directly to customers? Offer a limited time special or coupon and make the offer a “first month free” to a subscription based business.
  • When choosing the demographic for your ads, target specific people in specific locations. Then write your ads to speak to those people in those locations and use imagery about those people in those locations. 
  • A/B test your ads- easier than it sounds. It just means put up two ads at a time, give it a week, and then change the one that’s losing and try to beat the one that’s winning with a new ad. Rinse and repeat.

Need ideas for ads? Pay attention to the Facebook ads you see and you’ll start to see a pattern. They work. If you’re on Facebook, it’s what you need to do to be successful.  

5. Google+, wah wah

And if you still want to just post for the sake of posting without thinking too hard about creating value or developing creative strategies, do it on Google+. No, we still don’t think people are looking at it, but Google is, and they reward companies that use it. Get your business on Google+ so you can show up on the map- this is big and your competitors likely aren't doing it cause it's a pain in the butt! Reviews on Google+ are huge too, they show up when someone does a google search for you.

Not that we use Google +, just sayin’. (Dec. updatewe did sign up to be on the map, and we're waiting for the snail mail postcard to come in the mail. like I said, kind of a pain.)

Conclusion

The illusion of social media is that you can do it yourself successfully because it's easy to use. But unless you've got a lot of free time to educated yourself on a new industry, you are probably spinning your wheels. If it really is a strong place for your business to be, then hire a professional to at least help you come up with a strategy that has clear goals. Even if you execute it yourself, you'll be infinitely better off then just posting on facebook because you think that you should.