For any small business, controlling marketing spending is of the utmost importance. Small businesses simply cannot afford to go toe to toe with larger organizations when it comes to a marketing budget. The demands of maximizing profits often means that the entrepreneur usually has many responsibilities that take up too much of their time and that certain parts of the marketing strategy may need to be outsourced.
The good news is that the rise of the internet has meant that a variety of new channels are available that can be successfully used to reach customers and build brand loyalty.
The foremost of these channels is social media. Using sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Linkedin means that the small business owner can compete with bigger organizations when it comes to getting their message to the right people at the right time. The challenge comes in trying to develop and manage a comprehensive marketing plan that engages with the audience.
The first step is to understand where the company is in the competitive landscape and then selecting the correct channel or channels. As with most marketing activities, the challenge is both time and expertise. Using social media to engage with the audience takes a specific skill set and maintaining the clarity of messaging and engaging with the target market in a way that leverages the power of the social media is tremendously time consuming.
These are only two of the reasons that a small business should consider hiring a social media manager. In fact, trying to do it all yourself can be an exercise in frustration. Small business owners are usually trying to balance a whole slew of operational and strategic issues and adding social media management to the mix means that the business owner is, out of necessity, going to let other activities fall by the wayside.
Recent research has shown that only around 12% of small business owners feel that they are maximizing the benefit of the social media. It’s almost a certainty that these small business have not enlisted the help of a professional social media manager.
There are many social media platforms out there and selecting the channels which will enable your business to reach your core target audience may be trickier than you think.
Social media is not like traditional types of marketing where you, by and large, speak ‘at’ the target audience. Social media is a conversation and like any conversation, you have to be working at it all the time. Most small business owners do not have the resources for that sort of effort.
Content is absolutely king when it comes to social media. Quality content attracts visitors to your social media sites and keeps them coming back for more. Visitor also end up sharing your messages. Developing quality content is a specialized job and it is very time consuming. Infographics, video, text and memes are all part of the mix and each needs to be handled carefully.
Time keeps on ticking away. It’s worth repeating that efficient social media management is a full time job. The small business owner has other burning issues to deal with.
You need to understand analytics to get the best out of your social media program and that calls for a specialized set of skills. Without measurement, your social media program will simply not be effective.
If you have the resources and the budget, hiring a social media manager is becoming a necessary part of the marketing mix which will allow your business to grow. You may not see the ROI of social media in one or two months, but within three to six months, you will most certainly see great results from having the right social media strategy in place.
Thomas Gunner is a successful entrepreneur and business owner. He operates ReviewFilter.com, which is a cloud based tool for Hotel And Restaurant operators that engages with recent customers via email or SMS and invites them to give feedback on their recent experience of your business.