Subject: What should the role of social media marketing be for small businesses?
For some small businesses, it might seem silly to even consider not using major social media platforms (like Facebook) as a marketing tool. Today, we want to provide a little perspective on that.
As we’ve said elsewhere (and will continue to say), the biggest measure of effectiveness for any small business marketing strategy is ROI (Return-on-investment). But this is not quite as simple as just calculating the number of leads and conversions you get through one marketing channel. A more in-depth look is required.
To really understand the power of a specific strategy, you have to measure every possible cost that you can, including:
• how much time you or somebody has to spend on that marketing strategy, and
• how much that time is worth to your company
This is an important point for Social Media Marketing (SMM), because the biggest selling point for SMM is that it’s “free”. But it’s not. You have to put time into managing a social media campaign if you want to see a good return, just like any other. And time is money, whether it’s your own time or time you pay somebody else to put in.
SMM is highly competitive, and the world’s most popular social media platforms are not setup for you to succeed. They’re set up for two things: to make the platform owner money, and to capture data (which is then used to make the platform owner money).
Unfortunately, helping small businesses like yours engage with their target audience is not really aligned with those objectives. That’s not to say there’s a deliberate agenda to limit the reach of small businesses, but to say that other things take top priority.
Another problem is that we can’t always see what kind of reach we’re getting on social media. Likes, shares and comment scan be useful metrics, but they don’t tell the whole story. You can’t measure things like “engagement rates” without seeing:
• how many people are actually exposed to your content
• what type of user is interested/not interested in your content
In short, when assessing the ROI of SMM tools like Facebook, there’s a lot more to look at than the fact that Facebook is “free” and has a lot of users.
So ask yourself: could the time/money/effort that goes into a productive SMM strategy offer a greater return elsewhere?
We’re not suggesting that you don’t use SMM, or even that you don’t use Facebook/Instagram. What we are suggesting is that you put some serious thought into whether these are the best strategies for your marketing needs.
To that end, we have three articles to share with you that will help you gain a little perspective on social media marketing:
• Future of social media marketing
• 5 alternative social media platforms for small business marketing
• How proprietary algorithms affect your reach