The following is an article written by my colleague, Austin Fogt. He’s worked with organizations in a number of ways, ranging from helping them set up social media for the first time, to running ad campaigns and growth campaigns on social media. You can find him on twitter @AFeezyFogt.
There is no doubt that social media is essential to the day-to-day operations of small businesses and non-profit organizations. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the like have together become one of the last remaining channels to reach people that is not cost prohibitive for smaller businesses and non-profits.
It’s been estimated that the cost to reach 1,000 people on Facebook stands between $0.25 and $1.00, and the cost to do the same on Twitter is between $2.50 and $5.Compare that to the cost of running an ad on the radio, or a billboard next to a road, and you have a new model that almost turns advertising on its head.
In addition, social media presents a truly human and authentic way to connect with customers. A notification from your favorite brand reminds each of us that they are run by people, too. The same goes for a well worded and culturally aware joke. These things develop trust and good will. Clearly, intelligent use of social media is a win for businesses, non-profit organizations, and the like.
“To get the total picture, you need to look at our efforts on Pinterest, Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook, and our blog. Seriously, everything is tied together. This is the work of mostly one person: Peg Fitzpatrick. If anyone tells you need a team of people or an outside agency, they’re bullshitting you. One great person can do it.” -Guy Kawasaki
So, how does a company like yours leverage social media to its benefit? By seeking to do the opposite. Brands and businesses who are clearly only promotional tend to be off putting to consumers. As a general rule of thumb, valuable content from other sources should appear far more often than your own. Don’t focus solely on getting your message and product out there. Content that is valuable to your audience creates a community around your profile, and thus your brand. This is the whole purpose of social media: to share, connect, and engage. Any step towards making that happen with real people is a positive one for your business.
What does the first step look like for you and your company? Despite what you might read online, there’s no silver bullet when it comes to social media. However, there are definitely some positive first steps that can be taken. A few examples:
- Take a look at your current analytics. Even a cursory knowledge allows you to plan better.
- Develop a content calendar. A schedule of posts and types of content allows you to be more efficient.
- Begin using some type of efficiency/scheduling tool for posting content. Buffer is our favorite, but Hootsuite and many others work as well.
- Respond to as much of the feedback coming your way as possible. Be authentic!
When it comes down to it, any kind of effort and plan is better than nothing. Start the ball rolling on social media today, and then refine your plan based on the results. Happy posting!
“A large social-media presence is important because it’s one of the last ways to conduct cost-effective marketing. Everything else involves buying eyeballs and ears. Social media enables a small business to earn eyeballs and ears.” -Guy Kawasaki