Social Media as a Strategic Tool for Owner Managed Businesses
Is your business up to date with Social Media? Some business owners feel they are behind as they do not have a website; however they are now being told they are behind because they are not on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook etc., especially as their peers, competitors and, most importantly, their potential customers are using these platforms. For a small owner managed business this can all seem quite daunting, so we have prepared some pros and cons of using Social Media for your business.
Pros of Social Media for Owner Managed Business
1. An Immediate and Low Cost Form of Advertising
Social Media does not have to cost you anything, apart from your time. Yes, there can be costs involved if you want to use adwords and sponsored posts, but that is not always necessary. All platforms are free to sign up to, however you don’t necessarily have to sign up to all of them. The platform you choose will depend on your customer base. Think of Social Media like a spider’s web reaching out; the more Retweets and Shares you get then the more your network (web) is growing, thus expanding your potential client base.
2. Personal Interactions
If you are the person representing your business on Social Media, it allows the interaction to be much more personable. Big corporations are often anonymous on Social Media which has a negative impact as people like to see the person behind the company. Managing your own Social Media strategy allows for the personal touch to be portrayed when you are managing your own updates and responses to comments. After all, you know your company inside out and can easily speak on behalf of the business or answer any questions that are asked.
3. Easier Engagement with Customers and Potential Customers
The mantra of Social Media is “engage, engage, engage” – it is all about being “social” after all. If you are the person managing the Social Media for your business it makes it much easier to chat and be yourself allowing the engagement technique to be easily achieved. You can have conversations with others about your business on a personal basis which always works well.
4. Social Media Apps
Using apps like Hootsuite, Bufferapp and Socialoomph, to name just a few, make life a lot easier to efficiently manage your Social Media platforms. These tools can be used to:
- schedule posts,
- track conversations, mentions and interests,
- follow trends,
- minimise the time you spend on Social Media.
It must be noted that while the above will streamline the time you spend on your Social Media strategy, it is always advisable to be prepared to respond promptly to interactions. It would be rude to ignore anyone.
5. Easy to Outsource
Outsourcing of your Social Media strategy may also be an option you can take. Just like you may outsource your bookkeeping function to your accountant to avail of their expertise, you can outsource your Social Media strategy to others. Social Media may not be your forte or you may not have the time to allocate to this marketing tool. It is best if you are able to share your company’s ethos with the outsourced team so they can portray YOUR message through the various platforms.
Cons of Social Media for Owner Managed Business
1. Time !!
The drawback with Social Media is that is can be very time consuming, if you allow it. You may find yourself becoming drawn into various platforms and you will find that you have lost a few hours to it without realising. Some people suggest using an alarm clock, so you have a reminder of how long you wanted to allocate to “chatting”. Others recommend keeping the platforms open so you can respond as needed but you must be strict with yourself so you don’t get drawn in.
For Social Media to be effective it will require an element of your time. Don’t think you can just nip in and out every now and then, as you will lose your target audience. Imagine you are in a room full of networking people – if you are not seen that much you will soon be forgotten.
2. It Doesn’t Always Come Naturally
Unfortunately not everyone is cut out to use Social Media. Using various platforms takes patience and a lot of tact. Sometimes updates can be misleading as they are short in nature and are often misconstrued or taken the wrong way. If you are someone who reacts quickly you will need to manage this as it will not be good for your online persona and can work against you. It is very easy to react quickly online to something that you may regret later, so patience and a logical head are key. Remember to always put a 10 second gap between your brain and your typing finger!
Social Media can also be a very chatty affair. If you are not that conversational or outgoing in nature, then it may not be for you. A lot of people like to be extremely private and that is absolutely fine, however that will not always work well online if you want to appear engaging and fun to chat with.
If you fall under either of the above categories – and many people do – then it is best to outsource your Social Media strategy
3. Technology and the Internet are not your thing.
You don’t have to be an expert to use Social Media but if you want to make it work effectively for your business you must at lease have an understanding. If you are someone who is just getting to grips with predictive text, then a good source for an introduction to Social Media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook would be the younger generation such as your children, nieces or nephews. If you can learn the basics from them you will be better prepared to implement or outsource your Social Media strategy.
Social Media can be a very cost effective marketing strategy for any business. If you require any further information or assistance on the above please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team.