If you’re running a small to medium sized business, you are going to want to work with Social Media. It’s always important to get your brand’s name out there and to interface with people. There are many different platforms out there and you might not always get the help that you need from the internet. Managing social media can be hard and is always done best in house. Some companies would rather hire specialist social media companies to manage their social media instead. This can be a great idea. It can also be a disaster.
I believe that of all the social media platforms out there, only Facebook is worth investing in at this time. I have seen time and time again social media companies pushing the ideas of Twitter and Instagram down people’s throats, and telling them why they definitely need these platforms. This is a lie. You certainly don’t need to pay for someone to run them! Let’s talk about Twitter and Instagram for business.
Twitter: The Teeming Talkbox of Treachery
I see Twitter as being the Monkey Pit of the internet. Whilst this may seem a slightly childish analysis, Twitter is actually a very childish place. People tend to go on Twitter to talk politics and engage with each other in arguments. The amount of trolls out there is staggering and no one really goes there to look and see how the businesses they like are doing.
Social Media companies exploit Twitter. They request advertising budgets for the Twitter accounts, and with this money they do get followers. The problem is that a lot of the time whilst the followers might even like your company, they are not interested in seeing your adverts constantly.
My Relationship with Twitter
I have my own Twitter account. Over time, I have over 3000 followers because I work in the Independent Film Making industry as a composer, actor, and several other roles. The interesting thing is that I have not done anything to gain these followers except interact with people or write soundtracks for films. I paid for one Twitter advert that netted me no interest back when I didn’t understand the platform or how it worked. When I put up a post, no one really cares, and this is one of the reasons it’s bad for business.
I make free music to give out to people. You’d expect people to go crazy over sharing the stuff out. The interesting thing is that they don’t. The only reason they follow me is because they know about me as an artist. Think about it this way: If you run a roofing company, and you tweet out a post on leaky roof tips to people, are they going to be interested in a place where they only care about “dank memes” and Donald Trump’s latest spelling mistake? Never pay for someone to run your Twitter.
Maybe I am being a little unfair about Twitter. My personal experience running over 30 accounts for people as an extra free service is that it just doesn’t work for small business. Twitter is a global platform. If you run a small shop, Barbera Smith isn’t going to travel all the way from Australia to get your 30% off peas.
Instagram: The Great Betrayer
Instagram makes you feel big and powerful. I’ve never owned a personal instagram account before. I have however managed many free Instagram accounts for customers. The rush and power you can feel with Instagram is intoxicating, and I don’t personally like it at all. The thing is, Instagram makes you feel like you’re doing well, even if you’re not.
A couple of great tags on a picture will send it out to a huge amount of people who will like the picture and move on. People on Instagram seem to love great photographs and quotes. You can pick up followers like wildfire, and some of these followers WILL be your customers. This can be slightly useful if you are constantly taking pictures yourself.
Don’t Pay People To Do Instagram For You!
Instagram is personal, and you should take and upload your own pictures there. Some of my customers in the past have insisted on me using free stock images and putting them up. I have point blank refused to do it, as it goes against my morality. The thing is, honesty is the most important thing in business. If you for example run an Indian Restaurant, there are a thousand free stock images out there of fantastic Indian food. You should never use these though. Business should be all about honesty. Even if your Korma looks like yellow gunky soup, people will still like it.
You have to remember that your customers know you and they know what you produce. If you constantly provide high quality pictures that aren’t of your products, your customers will stop trusting you. You can even drive them away. This goes for Facebook as well and any other social media platform.
When you pay people to run Instagram for you, you will see the followers rise and it will feel like a rush. It can be easy to forget you can get these followers yourself. It takes about 10 minutes learning how to properly tag your own photos for good results. By doing this yourself, you can save money, and run Instagram more effectively than any marketer. This is because you’re at the business and you can put up pictures whenever you feel like it. Account managers have to wait for your input.
Facebook for Business
As far as I’m concerned, Facebook is the only Social Media platform that matters for small business. Google+ is classified as Social Media, although I don’t really see it as a social media platform. I’ll talk about Google+ later though. Facebook has the most advanced marketing strategy in the world, therefore it’s the best one to consider for business. Facebook allows you to target a specific audience. When I say specific you can target them down to post code and weather or not they like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. If you own an Italian restaurant you can look for everyone in the local towns that like Italian food and set them as your audience when you run a paid advert.
If you are a restaurant and spend about £100.00 on a local paid awareness advert, you can get fantastic results. Let’s say this £100.00 only gets you one customer, but that customer likes your food. Each time the customer comes in, they order around £15.00 worth of food for themselves. It’s rare that people go to restaurants on their own, so let’s assume you have two people spending £30.00 on food every visit. If they visit two times a month and they’ll probably visit more than that if your food and service is good, that’s £60.00 a month. In two and a half months, that customer will have paid for the advert. I’m taking into account the cost of the food to your restaurant here, and with low figures.
This is actually a really bad scenario, because you will definitely net in more customers for £100.00, even as an inexperienced marketer, as long as you target your local town. A lot of people are afraid to run paid ads and it’s always good to have a specialist run them for you. The problem is that a lot of so called Facebook marketers aren’t specialists. In fact many of them will run an advert to get the highest reach and not focus on a proper target audience. I run Facebook Services including ad spend and page management.
Stalking With Facebook
Have you ever noticed that that Panasonic camera you looked at the other day on the internet is following you in Facebook? This is because the site you went on had what is called a Facebook Pixel. Online stores like Ebay use them to track interest in items. Later on, when customers are on Facebook, if they havn’t bought the item, Facebook shows it to them. You can then click on it to go back to the item if you want to buy it. Estate agents use them too! The beauty of using the Facebook Pixel to track people is that you can advertise specifically to them.
Say you are an estate agent and someone goes on your site to look at homes. If you have a pixel in your site you can target a specific ad to go out so a customer will see you again and again. This way you’ll always be in their mind when it comes to buying or selling a house.
If you run a restaurant, you can put out an advert in the early evenings of the week to go to people who stay on the menu section of your website. You can let them know you’re open, just when they start to feel hungry. Facebook Pixels are definitely worth looking at.
Google+ is a great tool though I don’t personally see it as Social Media. I find that Google+ can be very helpful to small businesses, and whilst I’d recommend sorting it out yourself, it can be complicated. Google+ doesn’t take a lot of time to provide as a service and you can automatically have YouTube videos post onto your Google+ Profile. If you use video marketing for your business it can be rather useful for this.
Google+ is mainly useful because it’s owned by Google, which is one of the main internet super giants. Whilst not the most social platform, it can still be useful for increasing the power of your website. If you get it set up correctly, it can provide a lot of bonuses to your web presence, and some decent backlinks to your business in all it’s internet forms.
What do I recommend?
I recommend learning to run anything yourself. Save money and grow your business. You can use the money for Facebook adverts and to boost your local presence! If you have to pay to get two platforms managed, I recommend Facebook first and foremost. Google+ comes as a second if you’re a small business. I love Facebook, and sharing deals out will get you noticed. If you choose to hire a Facebook Manager, you want to look for one that doesn’t talk about “Reach” as being important. This is a red flag.
A good Facebook Manager will be talking about Likes, Interactions, and will learn your business inside out. They will ask you a lot of questions before they take over your social media. Who the target audience is, etc. They’ll be trying to get people responding to posts, reacting to things they put out. Reach is always decent, but it’s a grey area because if a million people see one thing, and none of them care, then it might as well be that no one has seen it. Huge reach with little or no reaction is a sign of a bad Facebook Manager. At least now you’ll know what to look for if you hire one!
Google+ can be really useful so if you have a website I recommend either getting to grips with it, or hiring someone to manage it occasionally. Even just having a page formed for you can still be useful, so it’s worth making one, if only to experiment.
Social Media, is it really that important?
Social media is important, definitely so! I mainly work with restaurants running social media. Currently the hardest place to run a restaurant that I’ve found is Colchester. The town has over 150 restaurants in the town centre alone, and many of them struggle to survive. There are over 350 restaurants, takeaways and pubs in the local area, all competing. This makes working for any of them a nightmare, as competition is crazy!
By putting out enough deals on Facebook, I have managed to fill restaurants on a Tuesday that are empty on even Friday nights. Even if the restaurant has to make a loss, you can bring in a completely new set of customers for a mad deal like 50% off of your main course! You’ll be full and these customers can come back. You take a little loss to make money over time, and if the food is good, you can succeed.
I’ve run many different Facebook accounts for many types of customer. Some businesses benefit from Facebook much more than others. Facebook is the biggest difference maker for any business that I’ve worked for. You have the fact that people are on Facebook 24/7 mixed with the communication functionality of Twitter and the Photographs of Instagram. Whilst Facebook compresses the images down, they look amazing on mobiles, and they load quickly. Who doesn’t use mobiles more than desktops nowadays and they still look good on desktop!
A Few Final Words!
To sum it all up, Social Media is important for any growing business. I believe Facebook is the best platform for audience interaction for any business. If you have to hire a manager to deal with Facebook, then it’s the one service I’d recommend hiring an expert for. Avoid paying for people to manage Twitter and Instagram. As always I believe that as a business owner you are the most qualified person to promote your business. If you need any help, you can message me: here!
I’m a social media marketing specialist based in Wivenhoe, the CEO of Fantasoft and wannabe space adventurer.