59% of small business owners say they don't see a return on the investment they pour into social.
This is a travesty. A scourge on small businesses everywhere. This means when 59% of business owners think about social media, they are disappointed by the results.
This might even be you. You get bummed out when it comes to social. You feel like you're wasting time, money, energy, and effort. You pour into social. You get a small return. Maybe nothing at all. Certainly not what you were expecting.
The obvious question: Why is this? Why does this seem to be a pervasive problem for business owners?
At Think Digital, we do social media management and outsourcing for businesses. That means business owners come to us and say, “hey, this social media thing…I know we should be doing it, but I don't want to hassle with it. Will you just do it for us?” My answer, in most cases, is “absolutely”.
But when dig in to our client's existing social media, we usually see clear patterns as to why they weren't seeing an ROI in the first place.
I'll unpack a few of them here.
A. Unreal expectations for social's role in the business.
Social media is an ingredient, not an entree. If you have an average or underperforming business, social media will only pull the covers back faster.
Our best clients are the ones who have a solid business (or business plan) in place before we start working with them. It doesn't mean your business has to be perfect. It means you have to have something people are interested in.
Social cannot save a business. But it can extend the reach, impact, and profitability of a business when implemented correctly.
B. No one's in charge.
When 10 people are in charge of a business's social media, no one is in charge. That's why one of the first action items we have for clients is to shut down as many accounts as possible. Most businesses can do really well with 1-2 channels. You don't need them all. You need to focus on 1-2 at a time, wait til you get results, and then add more (as needed).
You do need to have one person on your team who steers the social media ship. They don't have to do all the work. They need to be in charge and be held accountable for social media performance metrics (impressions, email subscribers, channel growth).
C. Social does not support business goals.
Likes, comments, shares, retweets, etc. are what we call “vanity metrics”. They matter. But not as much as you might think. What matters is your business hitting your goals, growing your lead list, and generating revenue. When social media supports these goals in a measurable way, you're on the right track.
D. Ignoring the 80/20 rule of content.
The first rule of social media for business is this: no one cares about your business. They care about themselves. Your business's social media should mainly be focused on improving the lives of your customers and clients.
When we do this for clients, they win. When I hear things from business owners like, “we're going to do social media in-house,” I cringe. Not because they are incapable. But because 99% of businesses ignore the 80/20 content rule. To their own peril.
They are passionate about their business. As they should be. But the mistake is believing everyone else on the planet is just as passionate. News flash: they aren't. You already know this. But it's good to be reminded. Your social needs to serve the audience. Not your own agenda.
E. There is no system in place.
If you take nothing else away from this post, know this: your business needs a social media system. A predictable, reliable system that generates impressions, leads, and awareness for your business.
Most businesses fail with social because there's nothing for all that activity to plug into. There's no process for nurturing social leads into customers. No way to turn fans into email subscribers. And there's no system to ensure you're getting in front of the right people on the right channels.
If this all sounds more complex than you imagined, you might be right. Social media is proving to be a difficult challenge for many businesses. Mostly because of the sheer time commitment needed to do social well.
But just like taking care of your car is a good investment (and a system in and of itself), taking care of your social media system is an even better one. It puts you in front of the right people, at the right time, for the right purpose.
Want to get started building your business's social media system? Download this free one-page checklist to get started on the right foot.