Small business owners used to complain about the lack of a level playing field when it came to marketing their wares against the bigger, more-established players in the market. The high price of media advertising made it difficult for companies with a strapped budget to get the word out about their products and services, and it was also difficult to garner much word-of-mouth when others had established such a firm stronghold on customer consciousness.
Social media changed the whole ballgame. Suddenly owners of businesses of even the smallest size could get the word out in much the same way as the titans of industry. Local could compete against national. Yet many small businesses are wasting these opportunities with half-hearted or wrong-headed social media campaigns, leaving them almost back to square one.
It’s a problem that confounds Anthony Novikov, CEO of internet marketing and web design firm Nova Solutions Miami, because, as he explains, these mistakes can easily be avoided. “Just because you have a personal Facebook or Twitter account, it doesn’t mean that all of a sudden you have the expertise to coordinate an effective social media marketing campaign for your business,”Anthony says. “The latter takes a skill set that requires training and experience to be done the right way. It’s much more complicated than people realize.” And here are some of the reasons why.
The Right Message for the Right Medium
Many business owners fail to understand the differences between the various social media outlets available to them. Just as there was a method by which advertising executives tailored certain messages depending on whether they would be appearing in print, ontheradio, or on television, so too do knowledgeable social media experts understand how to fine-tune social media posts depending on where they’ll be seen.
“You can’t just come up with the same old post and put it on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and every other possible outlet,” Anthony says. “You have to understand that there’s a different audience visiting each site, and you have to make sure the message makes an impact on each particular visitor. And you need to diversify all of these messages while keeping them all true to the brand.” That’s not an easy thing to do and it’s easy to trip an amateur marketer.
One of the things that Anthony advises his clients at Nova Solutions on is the way that sites like Facebook determine which messages will show up in a user’s feed. “These sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are constantly changing the determining factors on how much of an audience a post reaches,” he says. “The algorithms are constantly updated, and that’s something you need to be aware of when you devise the content of your posts. Otherwise, they’ll never reach the intended audience.”
If you are a business-owner and want to focus on a single site, it might be OK for you to handle it yourself. But practically each new day now, there’s another form of social media program/tool getting attention. Keeping track of all of these various platforms and the messages that would make the most impact on each could drain much-needed time and energy from business-owners who have much more on their plates on any given day.
Another problem with owners of businesses attempting to handle the social media strategizing all by themselves is that they might not know how their efforts are faring. “Almost anybody these days has access to the analytics but you need professionals to properly analyze the data and adjust the campaigns accordingly or it would be very easy for competitors to bypass you.” Says Anthony.
Firms like Nova Solutions have access to analytics that can track the number of people seeing your posts, which these people are in terms of their relevant demographics, the effect the posts are having on business, and so on. This takes the guesswork out of marketing on social media and allows decisions to be made on facts and figures rather than intuition and guesswork.
In the end, it’s up to every business owner to decide if outsourcing social media to a professional firm is the right thing to do for them at the given time. But the evidence is certainly piling up that, at the very least, it’s something that must be strongly considered in most situations.