If you own a business and you are NOT using social media the question you need to ask yourself is, “why should I?”
People climb mountains because they “are there” but that answer is not good enough for businesses looking to make an investment in social media. You need to know the risks and the rewards, specifically, which rewards, you are aiming for.
More traffic to your brick and mortar store, lead generation, increased revenue; you can get a number of things from social media marketing. You just need to know what you want.
Myth 2: Every Business Should Invest in Social Media
All businesses can use more awareness, and social media can certainly help shore up customer loyalty. At a minimum, if your target audience is on Facebook and Twitter, you probably should create placeholder pages that give basic information and redirect people to your Web site. But what in the way of resources should you devote to a social media presence?
If you are selling services people rarely need, is this a good investment? Do people have the time and energy to follow a company that is not relevant to their daily lives? We tend to shy away from places that are a downer in our lives, and yet I was surprised to find a number of such places with Facebook pages: funeral homes, for example. I wondered what they talk about. It turns out some use them as a placeholder for contact info and announcements of funeral services. Some even invite people to stop by for a business happy hour. O.K.
Other funeral homes have built a following, and the comments range from people thanking the home for how their loved one’s hair looked to saying they’ll be back. Not sure what they mean by that. Joyce and John Herzig, owners of the Toland-Herzig Funeral Homes (with more than 1,000 “likes”) posted a photograph of Joyce standing by Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s casket. Professional courtesy? My winner for the most check-ins goes to a Las Vegas funeral home with 158. (It doesn’t say whether they checked out). Does this generate business?
Recently, I visited a public relations person who has a group of high-end divorce lawyers as clients. The lawyers wanted a social media presence but specified they only want to pay someone to spend an hour or two a month on the initiative. We talked about how most social media avenues (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Yelp) probably were not a good fit for them. For divorces among couples with lots to divide, it’s a race to saddle up the highest-octane divorce lawyer in town before the soon-to-be ex gets there first. For recommendations, combatants turn first to trusted friends in their social circles, not to Yelp or Angie’s List. Yes, LinkedIn could be a good venue to use to push out articles of relevance to other professionals who might be a source of referrals. But much more than an hour a month would be needed to research and write articles of interest and to re-post other relevant content and develop commentary. Most important, it should be done by one of the firm’s lawyers, not a third party.
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