New users of Facebook and Twitter for small business lead generation are often disappointed in the lack of immediacy in big results. Frankly, that’s a bit like expecting total weight loss on the first day of a diet – especially when you don’t follow the plan.
Rethink traditional marketing vs. social media marketing for your small business.
Say you just started your new storefront small business (and these principles still apply for a non-brick and mortar business, so keep reading if that’s you).
Your grand opening.
You spend a small fortune on media to publicize the event to all of your desired local territory and demographics. Press releases, a PR person, extra staff to handle the grand opening crowds, food, balloons, prizes, … oh, and don’t forget that expensive 1-time use “Grand Opening” banner.
Let’s agree that the budget for this one weekend event is typically a small fortune. CDB and in a big way! (Cost of Doing Business)
But you have to let them know you’re here, right?!
But, what’s the reality? The event is over in a flash, and typically the sales aren’t what you expected and you didn’t draw as many people from the ads as ad sales said you would.
There is good news. The people who DID come are now aware of your business. You connected with them and got them excited about your product or concept, and they now know where you are. And you got those grand opening jitters behind you…
So, what comes next if you are only using Traditional Marketing?
After the grand opening, you set forth to make the most of every contact made, and every future customer. You train your people to engage and connect with your customers so you’ll be remembered for excellent customer service. You observe the responses of your customers to different products and sales techniques and adjust accordingly for better success next time.
You recognize that it is a build… that success does not typically come overnight (unless you are selling the latest version of the iPhone!), and that building of relationships with your customers – each and every one of them – is crucial. Why? Because you know that repeat business is key to survival and that your customers are your best advertisement.
You continue to spend for periodic media messaging via newspaper and radio. Again, you are willing to invest in many ways to keep the momentum going to draw new customers…
Ok, now Social Media marketing.
You create or hire someone to create your Facebook and Twitter business pages. Maybe even hire a graphic designer and social media consultant to make sure you present the best first impression and have all the necessary bells and whistles for the ideal visitor experience.
Then you think you are done.
You didn’t opt for the coaching and training in usage that was offered. Since it’s JUST social media, you think – how hard could it be? You begin to post updates all about your business and your product and you wonder where the response is… Where are the likes, the fans, the leads that are supposed to be generated?
Hmmm…. maybe it’s because you don’t apply all the hard work principles and investment of time, money, and effort into social media marketing that you did for traditional marketing?
Social Media is supposed to be FREE, right?
Wrong. The online tools are free, but just like opening your physical location, you have to spend time and money for you and your designated staff to learn how to use it properly or hire the right people to do it for you for the best results.
Think about the major time and money investment you have made in traditional marketing: training, staff, scripts, signage, fancy shopping totes, business cards, brochures, flyers… You may say to yourself, it’s time-tested over generations, so of course traditional marketing is part of the budget. But it’s not working like it used to…
So why are you treating social media marketing like the red-headed stepchild of your business?
Because you don’t know what you don’t know. Traditional marketing has been around for so long that it you accept it as a worthy investment and a CDB.
But the small business’ best advertising vehicles – print media and radio – are dying. The few options left are so outrageously expensive that a small business can’t afford them.
But many of you are realizing this only now.
Many of you have seen your business dwindle down, the economy is making it worse, and you are now seeing the light in the usage of Social Media. The 60+ boomer business owner is the latest group to recently come to this realization…
But your frustration and the bills mounting are causing you to lose sight of the necessary investment for social media. Yes, you can do it all yourself, but that learning curve is long… And can you really afford to take time away from running your business to devote enough time to social media?
The cost for effective Social Media and Email Marketing is still incredibly low compared to the cost of traditional marketing. Yes, it’s harder to measure social media ROI, but the numbers on traditional marketing ROI have never been the most accurate either. Sure it’s tough to change marketing strategies, but when it’s for the better, it’s worth it.
Reality check: Traditional marketing doesn’t work anymore for small business. Social Media does.
Are you ready to take Social Media seriously now?