There is a flip side, one you don’t hear about as often. Those are the stories of companies who solidified their reputations on social media in a good way. Yes, Virginia there are Twitter success stories.
Social media has become so common place in our lives that we don’t even recognize the uptick in sales or the increased word of mouth. But if you’re putting yourself out there regularly and in the right way, social media isn’t just helpful, it’s necessary for the success of your business.
B2B research firm Clutch, recently posted the results of a survey where they asked small business owners and experts to talk about the role social media plays in their business.
Almost half of small businesses owners said they don’t actively use social media, and 25% said they were unlikely to use social in the future.
This is in sharp contrast to the rising number of social media users in the world. People who routinely use Twitter and Facebook to research new companies. It’s not enough that they don’t see negative reviews; they want to see good reviews or at least a connection between a company and its customers.
John Jantsch, founder of Duct Tape Marketing, calls social media “the great equalizer” because businesses of every size can hop on and send their message out for free.
“Digital marketing has made it so that a tiny company can effectively get their message out in some places in a very nimble, flexible way. They can try a lot of things, they can track a lot of things, and hone in on a couple things that work, that may or may not cost that much money, that allow them to really compete.”
But free doesn’t mean easy. In order to connect with an audience, companies have to spend time developing their channels and that means pulling man-power off of another job or hiring a dedicated worker.
Then what happens? I’ll tell you. It doesn’t last. I’ve seen companies dedicate the time and money to build a channel then walk away from it because they don’t see the conversion correlation. Ken Braun of Lounge Lizard told Clutch that it’s hard to convince a small business to stay in for the long haul.
“They like to see the activity and all the social media promotions that we’re coming up with, but they want their phone to ring every day. They want the immediate results from social media. The problem with social media is, it’s not short-term; it’s really more of a long-term brand awareness strategy.”
Since they can’t easily measure results, only 38% of those surveyed said they plan to invest more in social media and 38% said their investment would remain the same.
If you take conversions out of the equation, it’s easier to see the benefit of more time and money spent on social. If there are three dry cleaners in your neighborhood and you’re the only one who posts fashion tips on Facebook, you’re way ahead of the other two. One glance and locals see you as the helpful cleaner who cares about his customers. Add in a few positive reviews from current customers and that’s better advertising than a $10 off coupon in the local paper.
Buying an ad is easier than keeping up multiple social media accounts but you have to look at social as an investment in your company’s future. It may not pay off today but with every message you send out, you’re telling the world that you’re the company to see if they want what you’re selling.
The only thing worse than a bad reputation is no reputation. Make sure people think something — anything — when they hear your company’s name.