Dear Every Business,
Social media is not your savior.
There. I said it. But before you burn me at the stake listen.
Too often businesses, large and small fling themselves full force into social media without considering much else besides “it looks nice”, “well my competitors are doing it” or I swear to sweet baby Jesus, “my kids are on it and said our business should be on it too”….Yes….I have heard this said more times than I wish to remember.
Let me give it to you straight up, no chaser. I am not here to judge what gave you the inspiration to take your business online (big up Junior) but listen, there are things to consider BEFORE you “fling up” a page and foray in the jungle that is social media for business.
- Are your systems in place in manage it?
Ladies and gentlemen, if you business is struggling with basic issues with customer management like poor customer service, inconsistent service offerings or general shakiness please put social media on the back seat! Take the time to rectify any issues you may have internally because what happens in the dark in the confines of your store “-round wah part” can literally GO LIVE with the push of a button. Granted this can happen whether or not you have an account. But there is truly nothing to an irate customer than seeing pretty pictures and posts online and receiving terrible service in person. We WILL tag you, and tell all 10K of our “friends” and proceed to comment on EVERY SINGLE POST YOU MAKE #trust. Miss Louise seh, Learn to dance a yaad, before yuh dance abroad.
PS- Abroad is the internet….
2. Are you in a position to maintain it consistently?
This means content and service. Content simply means what you put out for the benefit of your audience (yes, the BENEFIT of YOUR CUSTOMERS – this is a whole other post that i may write…angrily). Do you have a staff member competent, creative and with enough time to be consistent with posts? No? Do you have cash to pay for consultation? Because social media is an INVESTMENT. For the average business, attention to social media probably takes up less than 1% of the daily attention of key personnel and probably about the same about of the monthly advertising budget BUT (depending on your business) it has the potential to attract thousands of new LEADS and turn them into potential customers. Notice I said leads and not CUSTOMERS? Social media will never be the last stop in the sales funnel so stop treating it like it is. You will need qualified and dedicated sales staff to turn a “Tell me more” into “Here is my money”. Too often, because of this 1% attention to social (outside of, where is my pretty post for the day!) qualified leads are left to linger and die in inboxes not checked often enough. There are very few things worse than a social media user scorned (or left on “read” for a week when they really want a service and you are posting otherwise daily).
By the way, can we also stop having websites that just sit there? No up to date info. Incorrect contact information. Wrong/out of stock products. Doing this just makes your social media page the digital equivalent of that filthy car windshield screaming for someone to scrawl “Wash Me.” Stop. It….Please…
3. Can you support it?
Yes. Support it. No man is an island, no social media content stands alone. Big up to all the companies who make the point of making social media an active part of their business strategies and not another place to just “put up something”. Campaigns and promotions should be tailored for social media or at the very least take into consideration that a digital presence exists. Outside of promotions you should be making the point of touching base with the person or entity managing your social media at least once a month to discuss the basics; what you liked, what you didn’t like, and what the future holds. This way, your social media will always be a reflection of what your customers expect from your business, on and offline!
4. Finally, why do I want to be there?
Knowing your why is key before you push that button. I get it, everyone else is there but as mothers all around the world have asked their exasperated teenagers, “so what, if they are going to jump off a cliff, are you going to jump too?”. Take a second to think about what you are hoping to achieve in the space and why. Need help working this through? Hire a consultant (*Cue Lionel Richie’s HELLO*). There is no shame in sharing that you aren’t sure what to do and how to do it. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your banging social media presence.
If you DO decide to start… start smart, start small, start with an open AND informed mind.
A Miracle Worker.