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So, You Want to “Do” Social Media!

I believe its a great idea for small businesses to participate in social media. Being on Facebook and a few other social media spots is expected by potential clients, and you can get more business by participating online.

Of course, “social media” is a broad category. When a potential clients asks me if I can help them, my first response is, “Yes!”  And, then my expectation setting and question asking begins.

Woman Looking at Social Media Icons

The major caution I have is that like most other things on the Internet, social media participation offers only incremental benefit to most businesses. It can help, a bit.

But, it’s unlikely that your killer Instagram photograph is going to go viral and prompt 100,000 people to call and want to buy your service.

It could happen, but it’s not likely that you’re going to be an international Internet meme. Rather, if you spend a fair amount of effort, you should expect that a few more people are going to feel like they know/trust/understand/want to engage with your business or buy its products.

Once we’ve discussed the most likely impact of social media, we need to talk about what type and how much social media the business wants to set up. These decisions themselves depend on why you decided to start a social media campaign.

A common basic motivation is business credibility. Clients expect you to be on Facebook and other platforms, and you do not want to disappoint and seem like an amateur outfit. Simply setting up accounts on a social media platform or two or three and populating them with basic information about your business could be enough. Maybe you’d even be content with claiming a stake on Facebook or another site without having a commitment to making regular (or any) updates.

More commonly, businesses want to build brand awareness. They want potential clients to discover them from their posts and because others have commented or mentioned the business in their posts. Brand awareness looks for spreading the business image by word of mouth in targeted online groups. For example, a local groomer might do a series of posts hoping that the local long hair dachshund owner’s group will mention the groomer’s services aimed at fluffier dogs.

The most intense purpose to be on social media is to obtain sales. Click here to buy/subscribe/join!

How Much Energy are You Willing to Spend?

Most businesses are focused on providing their services or products to customers. The owners didn’t going into business to do social media. So, one of the first things an owner has to do is to decide much of themselves are they willing to devote to social media/marketing.

  • What is your time commitment?
    How much time per day/week/month are you willing to give over to social media? How much of your staff’s time are you will to assign to social media?

Social Media Content Planning Chart
  • How long are you willing to sustain your initial social media push?
    Be realistic. Do you just want to get online to say you’re there, or will you commit to posting to your chosen platforms daily? weekly? monthly? how often?!

How Much Money are You Willing to Spend?

If you want more involvement on social media than you’re able or willing to do yourself, then what do you need help with and how much social media support is reasonable for you to pay for?

Be strategic… even cautious! 

The benefit from most marketing initiatives, including social media and search engine optimization for websites, provide incremental benefits. If you are a one-person or small-group organization whose product or service isn’t very social-media friendly (say manufacturing screws) and your average customer spends $50, then you may want only limited social media exposure. Keep the cost of acquiring new clients in proportion to the revenue each new client brings to your business.

Here are somethings to decide as you draw up your social media budget.

Where Do You Want Help?

Here are some questions to guide you on whether you, your regular staff, or consultants should take primary responsibility:

  • Are you managing your own posts?
    That is, are you scheduling the frequency of your posts and the topics in them?

  • Are you writing your own posts?

  • Are you taking your own photographs?
    Do you want a local consultant/photographer to take them?
    Do you want to use stock photographs?

  • Are you identifying which third-party blogs/posts/photos you want to share with your followers?

  • What social media management tools are you willing to buy?
    How about:

    • Hootsuite
    • Clearview

Where Do You Want to Be Social?

How many social media platforms do you want to participate in? Each takes some time to curate, and each has a different networking focus. Over time Ozdachs has participated in the ones below…

Here are spots I now suggest considering:

  • Facebook

  • Instagram

  • Linked-in

  • YouTube

  • Your Own Blog

  • Others
    Tumblr, Flickr, Vimeo, Snapchat, Yelp, etc., etc.!

There’s a final cautionary note for you when you consider a social media campaign. Of the dozen or so clients I have set up with social media accounts and started their campaigns, maybe one or two kept engaging for a year or more.

Even when the others acquired a reasonable number of followers and could point to clients who found them on social media, most all lost focus and stopped posting. The participation on social media stopped being fun for the owners and the incremental benefits just weren’t worth it.

Of course, even coming and going on social media does have some benefit.  Google and other search engines will continue to credit your business for what you did post. A few potential clients will stumble across your old posts online and contact you. And, for some businesses — especially those that typically make a significant amount of money from each like (like CPA’s, equipment sales people, etc.) — there is a more compelling reason to staying social.

Plus, the work you do to establish social media accounts is a one-time effort. Most social media platforms welcome you back whenever you decide you have more time to participate.

So, my bottom line suggestion is to take the plunge into social media. But, do it after you decide why you’re doing it and what resources you’re committing to the effort.

By |2019-05-10T11:51:10-07:00May 10th, 2019|Blogging, Social Media|0 Comments

Facebook is Sharing Data? Shocking!

The main question I have about Facebook allowing apps to collect (and keep) user data is, “Who didn’t know this was going on?”

Seriously? You play the FB games to learn which celebrity you’re most like or what your “real” age is or what your personality IQ is, and you don’t think that someone, somewhere devised the quiz for a commercial purpose? You get asked questions about your habits, likes, and dislikes, and you don’t suspect that the software is collecting data about you for some reason?

When you click to play/answer a quiz you’re told that the app is going to have access to all sorts of your personal information, often including your contacts. You have to say, “Okay”!

Hootsuite Login ScreenPerhaps the most obvious collectors/sharers of data with Facebook  are the other websites and services that allow you sign into them using your Facebook (or Twitter or ….) accounts.

You have to agree to let them see and use at least some of your Facebook information as part of the login process. Did you think that these other sites and applications were not getting information about you and your habits from Facebook at the same time they were telling Facebook what they knew about you? Again, seriously?

Facebook — and many other social sites, games, and apps, are free. They sell ads like the free old-time television. But, they know more about you than the broadcasters who sent the same commercial to everyone in America. Apparently people didn’t expect that Facebook would use the knowledge they have to sell more ads and make more money.

Facebook has made mistakes. It said that it didn’t share information when it had, and it didn’t get back information from places like Cambridge Analytica it said it would. And, Mark Zuckerberg and others have dissembled on the topics of privacy and data sharing.

But, I worry about the uproar focusing on Facebook and the follow-on idea that you can pass data storage laws that are going to keep your information safe on the Internet. Laws and a contrite Facebook are not going to keep your views, demographics, and interests private if you publish them online. And, if you take a poll/survey/test for the fun of it, you have to expect that the hosting site is doing something with your information.

We are each responsible for determining what we want the world to know about us and we should expect others to react positively, negatively, or commercially to what we share. Frankly, I thought this was understood by all of us Internet-savvy folks including Facebook users, bloggers, and Pornhub contributors.

The New York Times published a handy list of commonsense steps you can take give yourself marginal protection on Facebook, and most of their advice applies for other sites and apps.  Read it and take their suggestions.

But, really. The outrage over Facebook’s “data breech” sounds a little like the indignation and surprise of the bordello piano player. I don’t need Mark Zuckerberg to testify in front of Congress to know what’s being going on upstairs in the rooms.

 

By |2018-03-27T08:39:34-07:00March 26th, 2018|Facebook, Social Media|0 Comments

Is Google+ Worth the Effort?

A client found a YouTube video extolling the virtues of Google+ for businesses. He wanted to know if he should invest time and energy in setting himself up on Google+.

The video he watched is long and the people in the video are supernaturally pleased with Google+  !    If you have 43 minutes, go for it…

The clip was posted on YouTube in 2013, and the predictions for the success of G+ were not accurate.  It is not the social media place to be, if you’re only going to do one spot.  The #1 place remains Facebook and there are many contenders that I think of as equal of G+ (LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.).

In fact, for the past 9 months I have heard rumors that Google is about to announce the end of G+ as we know it. I don’t know if they will kill G+… there really isn’t a need for them to admit failure.  But, G+ failed in its intention to take the dominant position in social media. So, posting to G+ just isn’t required social media marketing.

The video also touts the instant availability in Google searches of what you post to G+. Having your comments quickly available is great, but I have seen entries in this blog and changes to HTML pages show up the same day in Google.  So, using G+ doesn’t feel like an overwhelming advantage in becoming visible.

Benefits aside, the real issue in mounting a G+ presence is the cost. One of the commentators said that you should do 30 minutes of G+ before you start your business day and another 30 minutes at the end.  I wish I had that time for social media!  Do you want to invest in that much time?  30 minutes a week taxes a lot of business owners.

So, I don’t know whether investing in G+ is worth it for small businesses.  I am not saying no, but I suspect that there is a diminishing returns. Spending a lot of time creating content just for G+ doesn’t seem logical.  Instead, create a Google+ business page that puts you on the map. Then, include G+ in the list of social media sites you feed your comments to using Hootsuite or other posting app.

If you want to do more, them commit to a limited trial period of posting with a time budget.  After 30, 60, or 90 days, do you see any increase in rankings, sales, or even engagement with clients? Let me know if the extra effort got you enough business!

By |2015-01-19T16:44:03-07:00January 19th, 2015|Google+, Social Media|1 Comment

Sex Sells and Facebook Knows It

Facebook Come-onI was somewhat startled when I went to Facebook to catch up with news and encountered a provocative photograph in the sidebar.

Facebook taunted me that the post they were displaying received 95% more “engagement” than the my own recent pitiful posts.  They suggested that the remedy to my isolation was to Boost Post — to pay them to display my posts in more places more frequently.

Puppy PictureWell, okay.  Maybe paying Facebook to display my posts as “sponsored” in the newsfeeds of people I don’t know would get some new people to read the Ozdachs page, like it, and buy our services.  Maybe.

But, what I really took away from Facebook’s recommendations was a reminder that sex sells.  The post that received 95% more attention was a crotch shot posted by a bar whose business page I had set up.  The client is now publishing his own posts, and I confess that I admire his talent for grabbing eye balls and getting people to LIKE the photo or click through for more information on the featured event.  He used a classic marketing technique: he used sex to get attention for his business.

I suggest to clients that we illustrate their pages/posts/hard-copy material with photographs of babies, puppies, and pretty young women.  Research shows that images of those subjects gets readers to pause and pay attention to the material.  It turns out that pictures of kittens and well-endowed young men are equally effective.

My own preference is to get users to stop and click by using pictures of adorable dogs.  They can be used in any forum, and puppies don’t risk offending the sensibilities of more traditional or conservative viewers.  Maybe the impulse to pet a dachshund isn’t as strong as the sex drive, but in my opinion a puppy is a more appropriate graphic for a business-to-business focus.

Of course, if you are attracting customers to your bar, you might focus more on sexy photographs.  Or, if you’re selling estate planning, you would be smart to load up your site with smiling babies of the inheriting generation.

In business, your task is to create an appealing image that will stand out from the crowd of messages hitting your prospective client.  Pretty women, babies, and puppies stop people from paging down or tossing your flier away without a second glace.  Give your message a chance to reach a customer.

Do what Facebook does. Let sex sell for your business!

By |2014-01-12T08:54:35-07:00January 12th, 2014|Facebook, Tips and Resources|0 Comments

PostRocket to Shut Down

PostRocket LogoAnother company that has tried to help automate posting to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms announced today that it’s quitting.

Postrocket is shutting down on August 15th.  This leaves HootSuite, Buffer, Sprout Social, Social Bro, and others in the field.  So, it’s not exactly like social media players won’t have any options.

But,  I had picked a favorite tool, learned it, and used it.  And, now it’s gone!

I found PostRocket affordable — something like $15/month for my purposes — and straight forward.  I had tried HootSuite on a free trial and found it very, very, very flexible. That translates to “A lot of work to learn and set up.”

But, I guess I am going back.  HootSuite is $10/month and other options for my size of business are several times more.

BTW, a good comparison of tools I found was this May, 2013 WordStream posting.

Finally, here’s the announcement from PostRocket <sniff>… notice how responsible they are to return any part of the monthly $10 that will be unused:

Hi Galen,

 

This is really disappointing to say, but I must inform you that PostRocket will be shutting down its products and services next Thursday, August 15th. Right off the bat, I’d like to ensure you that you will be refunded any remaining credits by filling this form out.

 

When we first started PostRocket, we wanted to not only help marketers like you succeed in Facebook marketing, but do so with an exceptional product and service to back it. We were never able to reach the high bar we set for ourselves. Our product had many issues and even through the down-time and bugs, you stuck with us and even became paying customers. We thank you for that.

 

We should and could have done much better in bringing you a reliable product that expanded as quickly as the landscape of Facebook marketing changed. You will be refunded any of your remaining prorated credits as of today 8/6/13 and will be able to continue using PostRocket to migrate your data or find another provider until 11:59PM PST 8/14/13, at which point all data will be erased and removed.

 

If you’re looking for an alternative service to migrate to after PostRocket, I *strongly* recommend using Facebook’s all new native Insights product. I would have never recommended using native with FB marketing, but their new product blows any other service out the water. They are rolling out this Insights product and you should expect to receive it in the next few weeks, if you don’t already have it.

 

Here’s the full link to the refund form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1g19Qb2P1DOb-_-X7Dl9fAy9570YGPsV252gkM3vs7A0/viewform

 

Again, thank you so much for being a PostRocket customer. We really do appreciate you believing in us. We wish we could have done better for you.

 

 

On behalf of the PostRocket team,

 

Tim

 

By |2013-08-06T15:38:54-07:00August 6th, 2013|Marketing, Social Media|0 Comments