Do You Need Social Media?
It seems today that the first thing everyone asks about is social media accounts as if it adds legitimacy to someones business or website. While social media is a great tool for a lot of people, it doesn’t always fit well for all websites, or at the very least requires one to think of different ways to incorporate it into their marketing. From what we’ve seen, the one thing it appears most people forget about social media when promoting themselves is the social part of it.
Social media is a bit tough. While we’ve seen some claim to have great success to it, it seems it’s geared towards what they’re selling that fits into social media easily. We’ve also seen a lot of claims of lackluster results. It doesn’t always seem to convert into sales well even when the person working it is doing a great job. Even if you’re achieving a large following, that doesn’t always mean much if it’s not getting people to your website. We touched upon that a bit in our article Is Your Social Media Marketer Doing Their Job? if you’d like to read a bit more about followings meaning very little to your social media account.
Let’s use an example of when social media may not be needed. One of our recent projects was modifying a website for a fire protection company to make it mobile friendly and to change some things they weren’t happy with from the previous web designer. Most of their business is done with various commercial projects being built in Las Vegas, NV or maintaining equipment for these commercial buildings.
While having a social media page may pick up some customers here and there, and might be good just for the search engines to index, that business isn’t really geared towards something people are going to want to follow for “the latest news in fire protection!” Business owners likely aren’t scouring Facebook to find fire protection services for their business. More likely, they either know someone if they’re in that industry, or maybe their Googling fire protection companies to find one to work with. It doesn’t mean they shouldn’t put up a social media page, but spending time or money building it up will not only be difficult but will likely bring lackluster results compared to what they could do focusing on their google ranking.
This doesn’t mean this is completely unworkable, and it doesn’t mean that a little bit of effort can’t help pick up clients here and there. When you look at time and effort vs sales though, you don’t want to be digging where there’s only a little bit of gold. If you’re going to spend the time digging you want to focus on the places where there’s a ton of gold to choose from and that’ll take less time to achieve.
So how could this fire protection company maybe use social media to pick up some clients? After talking to them, it seems they sponsor events around town like golf tournaments. At those golf events they have building companies and others that also sponsor the tournaments. These sponsors, some being builders and others business owners with commercial buildings in town, also show up. They hand out cards, talk to them, and pick up clients. This is just one of the avenues they’ve used. Obviously it’s safe to say that there’s a good possibility that when they meet these people at these events, these people know others in the same industry who could be potential clients for fire protection.
Remember, social media is about being social. So if this fire protection company did decide to run social media here is what they could do. Start taking pictures at the events when they meet potential clients, take pictures with the potential clients, take pictures of the events themselves. Then when they get home, post them on Facebook and other media. Did you get a picture of the front gates of the event, mention it and tag it when you post the picture. Something as simple as, “On Guard Fire Protection was proud to be a sponsor at this tournament today!”
If you get a picture with a client, ask them if they’re okay being tagged in the photo and if they’re okay having their social media business page tagged too if they have one. Again, writing something simple with the picture when posting it with something like, “Hey ‘potential clients name’ it was great hanging out with you today and finding out more about your company. Glad we could meet at this wonderful event!” When you tag him, all of his friends will see your business page you tagged him from. When you tag the event everyone at the event, even the ones you didn’t meet, can see your company page. When you tag his business, his clients, and potential customers of his that could be yours too, will see the picture.
Not only do those posts tend to get more responses, it’s also keeping in line with the whole idea of social media which is being social! Is it the best place to pick up clients and business from for this particularly business? Probably not. Although doing it this way takes very little time that could actually pay off with some clients picked up on the side. You won’t get rich off of it, but your putting in a tiny bit of time in a place that has the potential for a small number of clients to be won over. That’s a fair trade off plus it creates a good view of your company in the community which is always a bonus.
There is one exception to social media and whether you should have it or not. That exception is Google. We recommend all clients have a Google Plus account even if they don’t post after setting it up. Why? Setting up an account and a business page with Google Plus does help your search engine rankings. Google’s denied this, but most search engine optimization people who have looked into it have come to the conclusion based on results that it does give your website a boost in rankings.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have social media if your business isn’t geared towards it. As our example showed, there’s always a way to work it in your favor but you have to be honest with yourself in the potential earnings you can grab from it vs the time you’d have to put into achieving those earnings. Our recommendation is to set up pages in various social media websites since they do have a nice bonus when it comes to getting picked up by search engines. After setting them up though, don’t go mining for gold like crazy and wasting your time if there are areas that are more lucrative for you to start digging in.