Why the Social Media Budget of Most Businesses is Totally Wasted

Let me declare my colours up front: I’m a business owner who has, from experience, found that social media is often the cheapest way for SMEs to make a big impact. I’m not a social media guru. So what you get here is social media help that can actually impact your bottom-line. It frightens me the number of times where I meet a business owner and the conversation falls on Facebook (or other social media) and the talk goes like this:

Me: “So you have a Facebook page?”
Business owner: “Yes, it looks great and we have ten-thousand fans”
Me: “Do any of your fans ever buy anything?”
Business owner: “... Ehh, I’m not sure, I think they do, why else would they be fans?”
Me: “Do your fans interact with the page and your posts, posting comments and pictures and
Business owner: “No, we don’t allow that, we’re the only ones posting to the page...”

I hope you get where this conversation is heading. Because if not you’re in for a fast wakeup call: Social Media only works when you put yourself out there. It’s about engaging with your leads and your prospects and being so exciting and attractive to them, that they can’t wait to buy from you. Just because it’s called Social Media doesn’t mean your business changed, you still need to sell stuff, don’t you?

This is the simple formula for turning it around and creating real impact: 
  1. What is your business? Take a piece of paper now and detail exactly what is your business. What do you think it is, what does your customer think, what is the supplier’s opinion? Think about describing your business from every available angle.
  2. What do you do? Taking the above to the next step, detail what exactly you do, both personally, your staff and contractors in order to carry out your business. The reason this is important is that actions are fun and engaging. It’s easy to write articles or post about what you do. Whether you met somebody, sat at the airport, did a road-trip, visited a new supplier... it all creates good opportunities to post in the social media space.
  3. How do you want to be seen in the marketplace? Are you the good girl or the bad boy? Does your service help the community? Really spend some time to define your desired perception in the marketplace. Because if you don’t intentionally shape the opinion of the marketplace about you and your business, then somebody else may do it for you. Your competitor, your customer. And that’s outright dangerous.
  4. As the next step it’s important you follow a process to detail the words you want to describe your business and your activities with. Be specific. Exactly what words really suit you and the business? Make a long list of words and sentence elements. (To download a tool that will help you through this process, click here)
  5. Finally, and this is the important bit: Does anybody really care? I speak to many business owners who tell me that they’re at the top of Google for their chosen ‘keyword’, essentially the word they hope they will be found for. Trouble is, when I check how many people actually search on that word I realise there’s a whopping 217 people searching every month. That’s like 7 a day. Unless you’re selling a very expensive product in a niche market, that’s simply not enough people. So to test whether the words you’ve chosen are important enough use Google’s Keyword tool (simply type “keyword tool” into Google, it will be at the top). Whether you want to rank in Google or be successful in social media, you need to make sure you talk about something that is close to your heart and that enough people out there actually care about.

By Mike Boorn Plener