3 reasons why SMBs shouldn’t focus on social media…yet.

By March 5, 2014Social Media

Despite the hype, social media adoption isn’t necessarily a good use of time for SMBs. Here’s 3 reasons why SMBs shouldn’t be so quick to jump on the hype train of social media.

1. You are geographically focused

Businesses that are dependent on a specific geographic locale (local boutiques, cafes, salons, etc.) probably won’t benefit from web traffic outside their town, much less outside their state. Pinterest is a fun pastime, but, in all likelihood, it won’t generate quality traffic.
That said, a Google+ profile (technically social media) may grant higher visibility on Google searches, especially local searches.

2. You produce very specialized products or services

Manufacturers of specialized products (like Viscoelastic foam, servo motors, wiring harnesses, etc.) aren’t likely to gain valuable leads on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. LinkedIn may be an option, but – in my experience – many b2b relationships of this type are formed at expos, referrals, distributors, or sales reps.

3. Your time (or the time of your workers) is more valuable elsewhere

This comes down to a measurement of value. Creating and maintaining a social media presence is hard work (not to be executed by a college grad with a Facebook profile). It takes planning, attention to detail, and investments of time and – by extension – money. The important measurement is to decide whether that time is better used elsewhere (like answering client emails, on the shop floor, balancing the books, or some other function such as managing employees). In simpler terms, think of the ROI. Spend $n dollars paying someone to work. Is it more profitable to have them do activity x or y?

For the large majority of SMBs, social media is more than posting on Facebook occasionally and sharing self-promoting links to your own website. In fact, doing just that is a total waste of time. When is the last time you shared a company’s status update that includes a link to their own website? Chances are, you probably haven’t. The posts that get shared bring some sort of value to the reader (they laughed, a problem of theirs was identified and quelled, etc.).
Now, think about how your first deal you closed. It’s probable that you presented a solution or were helpful to them in some way, not just boasting about yourself in every conversation. You developed a rapport with the client by growing to understand their needs. Think of social media as a similar function, and, in this scenario, nearly every interaction is visible to the public. Social media interaction changes the game from one-on-one to one-to-many. The task is made more difficult because now you’re challenged with meeting the needs and developing a level of rapport all while projecting a uniform brand image and providing compelling content.
Infor quotes Gregg Monastiero, AwarenessHub chairman, in a recent article, “The ability to execute a successful actionable social marketing strategy, and properly track effectiveness against business metrics, requires centralization, consistency, and integration.” Source: http://www.infor.com/articles/infor-partners-with-awarenesshub-on-actionable-social-crm#sthash.sAYPXdGL.dpuf

“The ability to execute a successful actionable social marketing strategy, and properly track effectiveness against business metrics, requires centralization, consistency, and integration.” -Gregg Monastiero, AwarenessHub chairman

So, next time you see an article claiming fame from a social media campaign, just stop and consider if it even makes sense for your business in particular before you waste valuable time and effort on a strategy that – as mentioned above – may not result in the expected fame and glory. Bide your time. As the business grows more stable, a social media strategy may later be relevant. It just might not be time yet.

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