If asked where they’d be today without social media, most small business leaders would start scratching their heads. The community and sharing-based nature of Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and similar services have allowed for cost-effective brand building and customer outreach efforts only dreamed about in decades past. Whereas before companies had to wade through the barriers of geography, language, and time to connect with the public and grow, these days they can count on social media to act as a highway over these obstacles, one which has an exit ramp to every person in the world with a Facebook profile or access to Youtube.
With that said, many companies dependent on social media to survive are led and managed by folks who can’t help but resent the fact they’re more or less forced to stay active on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc. It’s a love/hate relationship caused by the tantalizing access of social media marketing being checked by the amount of effort necessary to keep up appearances and stave off potential problems on these services.
For folks only concerned with their personal profiles, the dilemma facing many startups managing social media accounts is easy to understand. When things happen whether it’s news or information shared by friends, you want to be there to react and respond. When something interesting occurs in your own day-to-day, posting it to Facebook and/or uploading a video becomes a priority.
Not to mention, we all know how we like to prune our profiles almost compulsively to make ourselves look our best. It’s not just a matter of vanity – potential employers could be looking and therefore money and opportunity are on the line.
These dynamics hold true for small businesses utilizing social media for brand building, outreach, and customer service. It’s a lot of activity to manage on top of the business itself.
Which is why many companies are turning to outside help when it comes to social media management. Services such as Social Vantage essentially take over the day-to-day activity required to keep social media profiles at peak performance for businesses. It’s a testament to the amount of time and effort required to properly utilize Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc. for growing the business.
For those leading and/or managing ventures invested in social media who don’t feel the aforementioned pressure to spend hours at it, one of two things is probably true: either you’re not doing enough on social media, or you’ve yet to feel the effects of a public relations crisis unfolding across Facebook and friends. The former ought to be fixed, while the latter ought to be anticipated.
Regarding the boosting of social media use, one doesn’t want to over-post and dilute the impact. With this in mind, follow some basic rules of thumb of choosing to go at social media management by yourself:
- Open up the company accounts across Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc – is the “front page” content dated from last year? If so, you’re not posting enough and should be contributing more regularly. There’s something psychological about visiting a company’s Facebook page and not seeing anything dated the current year. It makes visitors think the venture is out of touch, out of business, or both.
- Approach building brand identity with the mindset of an unfamiliar outsider. Are there any faces of leaders or staff to be found, or do the profiles consist solely of memes, photos of products, and a picture of the office/store? Most ventures struggle to make a positive impression on social media visitors without revealing “the man behind the curtain.”
- Continuing on the identity train, does the content reveal what the company does, what it stands for, and who it’s here to help? If most social media activity is generic – in that anyone could post the same stuff on their accounts and it wouldn’t seem out of place – then the way in which information is presented on social media ought to be tweaked.
Of course, there are a host of data-driven and analytics based actions to take on social media as well. However, it’s that kind of fine-tuning which justifies the help of a social media management service.
Where would we be without social media to help share our vision and offer our products and services? With that said, it takes a lot to effectively utilize social media for the benefit of a growing venture.
And so the “give and take” of evolving marketing techniques continues.