Social media is one of the biggest revolutions of our time. In the business world we herald it as a revolution in the ways it enables us to market ourselves. This editorial takes a look at some benefits as well as factors that may present an issue in promoting your business on these sites. Keeping these in mind when deciding how much you should invest in these ‘big tech’ giants is important.
Benefit: Your customers are already using it
It’s highly likely that you (and most people you know) are active users of social media. And not just one site, but a number. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn – and many more. Your customers are also using social media – some might say they are addicted, even. Your message needs a target and an audience to absorb it, and it is an undisputed fact that a large number of your customers are spending a lot of time on social network sites and apps. To overlook this opportunity is a massive mistake – as one of its largest benefits.
Benefit: High-level targeting of consumers
What? You thought it was actually free? One of the big factors behind sites such as Facebook’s success is its platform for advertising. When you fill out your profile as a user, you willingly spend ages making sure it knows everything about you. Where you went to school, where you’ve worked, all of the brands you like, the hobby groups you’re a part of. This makes up your profile, something you may be proud to show off to the world. It also builds an advertiser’s profile of you. This means when a business decides to advertise on Facebook (and the other sites) they have a highly targeted ad, perhaps targeting people in your area or with your interests. For your business, that’s another huge marketing opportunity that should not be missed.
Benefit: Engagement with people
This might seem obvious, but the level of engagement on these sites is nearly unrivalled. Because people literally depend on the platforms to communicate with people they know. But did you ever think about other ways people engage on Facebook? From Christian groups to enthusiast car modifiers, groups on Facebook are one example of the highly focussed and collaborative ways people are meeting and exchanging information with each other. Don’t think companies have missed this either – car brands and nurseries run groups for their customers. It’s a smart way to monitor what’s going on and the latest concerns in a micro-environment where people are at their most vocal: the online world.
Issue: Your content is out of your control
And so, we come to the downsides of social media. Which could potentially rival the advantages, depending on whom you ask. This issue might only face some industries and businesses, but you are bound to the policies of the social media networks in what you can post. This topic can get a little political, so I’ll keep it somewhat simple. It might not bother you or your company, but you should note some recent controversies that might take you by surprise. Some Christian groups and pages have had their content removed, as Facebook deemed it to clash with its policies. This isn’t exactly illegal or adult content that you might have expected to cause controversy. Due to its extensive use of algorithms, there have been incorrectly removed posts from legitimate organisations that have been labelled and removed automatically as misinformation surrounding the Covid-19 vaccine.
Sadly, when a small or medium size organisation that won’t make headlines like yours is censored accidentally, you won’t even get an explanation why. So think about investing too much into these platforms which could deem your messages inappropriate and censor them for right or for wrong. Remember that your website is free for you to make your own policies!
Issue: It puts your competitors first
This one is something I explain and mention a lot. So we’ve covered that Facebook makes its money from providing a very attractive advertising platform to companies like yours. Now imagine this, you’ve budgeted in £50 a month to reach people in your area via Facebook ads. Now imagine that one of your local competitors has invested £100 in for the same month and has been doing it for longer than you have. Who do you think Facebook’s algorithm is going to favour and promote more? Here, Facebook is serving its biggest paying customer. That’s business. But it’s something you need to be aware of. Facebook’s answer of course, will be to spend more than your competitors… naturally.
Over-investing in social media doesn’t pay off nor is it a stable long-term strategy – remember to not put your eggs in one basket, especially if you have a limited budget. A healthy, balanced marketing strategy utilising numerous platforms and mediums is the most effective.
Issue: Limited communication of your business
That business page and group of yours on your social media channels… it’s limited. You may have a title, a logo, a banner image and even a limit on the length of your posts as with Twitter. And all sorts of other hoops to jump through – the format of an image for Instagram is different to the optimal size for LinkedIn, as an example. This all takes a lot of time and effort by your marketing personnel. Sometimes these suffice, and I would argue are perfect for creating a tiny little drop of content, just enough to encourage a click that brings your followers to your website. That’s because you can spend your employee’s talent and creative energy into a truly limitless and rich marketing message on your website.
Nobody can tell you how long or often you should promote your business on its website. This means you can make your own decisions based on what you already know about customers preferences. Social media networks limit your message, and when you have a lot to communicate to customers you could be missing some key details.
Social media is great – but don’t over invest your time or budget in it
In concluding this quick look at the hot topic of social networks, you might recognise the conclusion. Yes, social media is an unmissable opportunity in reaching your customers and you should take advantage of it. Frankly, if you don’t you lose out to competitors who do. Too many small and medium sized businesses like yours are being over-sold it. Being told to spend way too much of your marketing budget on it. Only to suffer with a limited impact or potentially censored or content its algorithm doesn’t like.
To avoid each issue above it’s a no-brainer to invest in a solid website. Websites do not dilute your message. Your site can communicate everything that makes your business your customers best choice. And there is no mention of your competitors anywhere, unless you decide to put in a favourable comparison. It’s totally under your control. So, if you are considering getting serious about the kind of website your business deserves, why not work with Shane? You can check out the Fixed Pricing today and Get In Touch when you’re ready.