I have spent a lot of time this last year talking social media. I don’t mean long conversations. I mean hundreds of short conversations with people whose businesses could benefit from taking social media seriously.
Here are a few of my favourite answers to the question ‘Do you use social media?’
Our customers tend to be older and don’t do that sort of thing
Maybe all your customers are old because you have never tried to market direct to the young via the media channels they use. Is your product the sort that will appeal exclusively to the old? If not, why not try selling it to the young. Get with it! (incidentally, I don’t think there is any product or service that can only be marketed to a specific age-group. The young purchase items and services for their elderly relatives and friends don’t they?)
We don’t have time to do that
Make time! There are over 500 million Facebook users, many if not most of whom only gather their news and information from online sources. Transfer some of the time you use in your old fashioned or conventional marketing into running a Facebook, Youtube channel, Twitter account and blog.
Make time. Move customer service processes over from e-mail to twitter. Alerts on late deliveries or billing information can be broadcast to all followers and billing info via direct message.
Retire that print newsletter and use the time saved to develop a blog where customer can give you feedback.
Divide the responsibilities for social media. Every person in the company can do some tweeting and Facebook. Members of every department can contribute responsibility-specific posts to the blog.
We’re not the sort of business that excites people enough to like us on Facebook
Social media is not just about creating buzz. It’s not merely a marketing tool. It can be a customer service tool too. It’s also an excellent place to gather feedback on the market.
We already find enough business through word of mouth
This is a bizarre answer that I have got from several small bike shops and a couple of hairdressers.
First let me just say ENOUGH BUSINESS!!? What kind of go get it attitude is that? What about building the business? What about a chain of shops? What about doubling or trebling your customer base? No one has enough business. There’s always reason to get more. If you’re comfortable on 60 clients what happens when the economy is squeezed and you lose 20% of them? That kind of reduction wouldn’t be so bad if you had 100 clients would it?
On the subject of word of mouth, Social media is the ultimate in word of mouth marketing. IT’S ALL MOUTH! It’s called social for a reason – because it is an interactive space online where publisher (that’s the person who tweets, blogs and Facebooks – we’re all publishers now) and reader can talk direct to one another.
I’ve tried social media stuff but it hasn’t made any difference
Well that’s why I am here! Let me show you how to improve it so that it does make a difference because the numbers do not lie. The busiest news and information channels are online. That’s where the modern audiences are and that’s where you have to be.
In order to benefit from social media you have to know what you’re doing. You need to know your target audience and how to find and communicate with them in a way beneficial to your business’s future. Learning that stuff takes time.
No thanks. My boss won’t be interested
Hey! I’ve tramped cross town to deliver this leaflet/to talk to someone here! Don’t make decisions for the boss on what he will like or not like. Let him or her know I was here. Let him or her have the leaflet. Maybe he or she’ll surprise you.
We have someone looking at that/doing that
They’re looking at it are they? Well not since June six months ago when they last tweeted to your company’s 15 followers. They’re doing it? Not since September when they Facebooked an item on a special Christmas offer.
Too often the responsibility for social media is handed down to a junior as an extra chore on top of their normal workload. This reflects the company’s poor understanding of social media’s importance and potential. The result is poorly tended social media, often full of boring advertisement texts and listings of events instead of material that is going to interest and inform a loyal and growing audience.
Social media is here to stay and it will only grow bigger and bigger as the old ways and the adherents of those old ways diminish in number. Don’t appeal to tradition, act on prejudice or be complacent. See social media for the opportunity it is and grasp it!