The Social Media Debate: small business owners talk about social media
February 8, 2014
The social media debate! Have you been told you just have to be on social media these days if you want a successful small business? Has anyone actually asked you why you don’t use it … and listened. I’ve long been aware of the missed opportunities for small business owners who don’t use social media to promote both themselves and their business. And why these opportunities are missed. This post is part of a 4 part series looking at ways each of you can tap into this resource as an avenue for both lead generation and as a resource your business can draw from.
This first post is the result of several interviews with NZ tradesmen looking at reasons why social media is not used, following up with the benefits you could be missing out on. The following posts in the series will look at different ways and strategies the beginner can use to grow your business.
19 Reasons why you are NOT using social media
- Most of my clients are word of mouth referrals so I don’t need social media.
- We tend to do things face-to-face, can’t ‘quote a job online’.
- I’m flat out; I can’t handle more work right now.
- My attitude is very much ‘do it myself’ and I don’t have the time or knowledge to learn about social media.
- I refuse to spend time on FB or Twitter because I don’t see how it’s relevant to the business.
- We use the internet to gather information, not as a way to promote our services.
- Don’t see how showing what we have done is good for business.
- Don’t think it’s trustworthy – full of crap.
- A massive time waster if you ask me!
- Don’t see the benefit
- If I have spare time there are better things I can be doing than social media.
- What would the ROI be? How can you tell?
- Don’t have a website and no interest in having one, so no need for social media either.
- “Too Hard”
- We use the phone for talking to clients and getting info, not for talking about ourselves
- Tall poppy syndrome, I’m not one to blow my own horn!
- If I don’t do any other advertising, why do Social Media?
- Because we don’t know enough about it and honestly I would be worried that we will be sold stuff we don’t need or want.
- Our industry is not really a ‘social media’ industry. You’re talking about accountants and business services, not builders and plumbers!
Note: The next article in this series will address each of the above concerns. Subscribe here to receive this article by email.
Now, let’s flip that coin over to see the other side of the social media debate … the ‘pros’:
23 Benefits to using social media
- Customers are social media users, which means so should businesses.
- A vast majority of consumers are active on Facebook.
- 8 out of 10 consumers search online for goods and services, many making their decision before they phone for quotes.
- Massive competition in trade and professional service industries means an online presence will give you an edge.
- Need a point of difference or USP (link)
- Soft Selling: social media is not about promotion, it’s about sharing knowledge and positioning yourself as an expert.
- Showcase the credibility of your work.
- Develop a personality.
- Social media will be a key factor in growing your business.
- Target groups and clients you would like to work with.
- Use newsletters to educate, for example share info on scheduling (i.e. booked up through December, but free from Jan – march) highlighting completed work, things to look out for, promoting other local businesses.
- Quality targeted leads; clients have already made an informed decision before contacting you meaning your lead time is minimized.
- Build your brand and grow your business.
- In the future, social media will continue to affect how we do business. Starting now will give you a competitive edge.
- Build customer loyalty and give customers a way to communicate with you and promote you.
- If new to the business, social media is a good way to develop a network.
- Compete with the big players on a level playing field.
- Create a conversation with potential customers.
- Customers are searching for the content that you have provided, you are not annoying them with frivolous TV ads that no one watches. Social media is an ‘opt in’ method of marketing.
- Connect with staff (messaging services for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are FREE) cheaply and instantly.
- Discuss changes in the industry – building codes, law reforms etc.
- Once network developed can use this to source staff and information meaning social media is a two way method of communicating (rather than simply a marketing channel).
- It’s not all about work, it’s about you as a person and your credibility. People want to understand who you are, trust you and know how you think. People want to work with people they know, especially in an era when reality TV shows like ‘Target’ have highlighted the seedy underbelly of some Trades.
This debate is not limited to tradesmen, I’ve had the same discussions with business owners and management within larger corporations. It’s not a debate that will resolve itself anytime soon, or a debate that’s right or wrong. But there are benefits hidden in the dark recesses of Facebook, LinkedIn and the like, it’s about educating yourself and making an informed choice about what is right for you and your business.
Your turn: Do you find social media a benefit or a waste of time? Be honest … no bullets fired here, but I’d love to hear your opinion.