Getting Social in this Growing Digital Age

For some it’s tricky, but let’s get started.

by Bill Nolan

Is your business reaping the benefits of social marketing or are you still filled with doubt? With billions of daily users scrolling one platform or another, posting pictures here or videos there and listening to the latest and greatest podcast – you can be assured that your clients are out there. Social media should be part of your regular marketing strategy, and if it isn’t, you may want to change your marketing firm. And on the other side, if social media is your only marketing plan, then you may want to change your marketing firm! Like any other tool, you must be prepared to use it in conjunction with other outlets knowledgeably with a marketing firm or as a DIYer.

For some, it may not seem like fun. Social marketing gets a bad wrap. But social media can be fun for your business and your team. It is an investment, but one that grows communications. This does mean planning and scheduling, consistent posting, answering questions, interacting with others and making time to be active. Hey, that’s business! You don’t like being ignored do you? Well, neither do customers and potential customers. In this digital age it’s no longer about what you want. These days, in marketing, it’s about what they want. And like any new business venture, once you get over the hurdles, social media marketing can definitely be fun. It can also be rewarding to your bottom line.

The Hang Ups (AKA Excuses).

Without a doubt, social media gets a lot of negative attention as it grows. Understandably, this makes a lot of businesses weary. In a perfect world, everything would work without a hitch. Unfortunately, that’s not reality in any form of marketing or business. Like your day-to-day business, you continue to be educated on the good, learn how to handle the not so good and press on while keeping an eye out for great potential. Social media is an affordable way to reach a greater audience, at a faster rate, while promoting brand awareness for your business. So, let’s get through some of your top concerns:

MY CLIENTS AREN’T OUT THERE: We’ve never seen proof or data ever confirming this one, but it remains a top concern. With so many social media platforms to choose from, this has really become an excuse for many. From YouTube to Instagram and Facebook to Linkedin, plus Podcasts and Blogs on top of that, you are going to find your B2B or B2C customers on social media. They are out there for entertainment, education and touting their own goods. So, why aren’t you?

NEGATIVE FEEDBACK: If this is your reason, then you may be afraid to deal with it. And that’s not a reason. Social media has become a great tool for learning more on how your customers feel about your business, addressing concerns and improving your products, services and communications. Most social media platforms also provide tools for dealing with negative comments that are not related or productive to the conversation.

SECURITY & HACKING: Yes, this can be a major source of concern on social media. Business and personal accounts are hacked from time to time, but the platforms are endlessly working to make this less prevalent by adding features such as two-factor authentication. Yes, this takes you through an excruciating extra 10 seconds when logging in. But, I would say it’s worth it. There are even measures you can take yourself for increased security. Stop using ‘password’ or ‘12345’ as your password. Change your passwords from time to time, and practice safe browsing when traveling about. And be aware of those fun, yet unsavory ‘survey’ links that tell you what rock star you would’ve been in the 70s. Use common sense. Security is an issue across the entire Web. It is not isolated to social media. Take responsibility.

PRIVACY PLEASE: In the wake of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica and recent password scandals, privacy is taking center stage. Unfortunately, in this age, privacy is becoming obsolete as we leave our digital footprint everywhere. How many times have you given your email and personal details to get coupons or discounts? If you use Instagram then you are allowing access to your camera roll. Are you still doing those fun little quizzes on Facebook? You’re allowing those apps to access your profile. If you’ve ever ‘Googled’ anything then you’re being analyzed. Again, take responsibility, and keep in mind the trade-off. Especially for anyone doing business, these ‘smart’ features help connect customers with the right products and services quickly and more efficiently. Alternatively, you could unplug yourself, and live off the grid. Unfortunately this may limit your business options.

UNPREDICTABLE CHANGES: Like any other machine, program or tool – things are constantly evolving. And yes, this includes the algorithms of social media. They change like the wind. And so your marketing must adapt. This is the new digital marketing reality across all platforms. Over time, the social media executives realized that businesses were making money by using their free platforms, and now they want a piece of the pie as well. The networks are still free to use, but your business is better off paying to stand out against the new algorithms and competition that has been there longer. You can’t blame Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., for wanting to make money too? It’s still fairly inexpensive and the networks are constantly developing tools specifically geared to help businesses grow. They know your worth.

CENSORSHIP VS FREEDOM TO SPEAK: You’ve been reading our blogs over the years and have taken our advice to avoid posting content related to politics, religion, etc., correct? If so, you really shouldn’t have anything to worry about. The censor hammer rarely drops on legitimate posts that are relevant to your business. So keep it clean. Primarily, you’ll encounter this on groups and posts intending to blast potentially harmful ‘opinions.’ I know that’s a gray area. In the end, these platforms are open to the public, but they are still responsible for what happens through them. You do not own your pages. Facebook, for example, does. We can’t ask for freedom to post what we want and then complain when we see something we don’t like. We must use these tools responsibly and according to the rules – just like any other outlet.

TO OWN OR NOT TO OWN, THIS SHOULDN’T BE A QUESTION: No, your social media pages are not your website, and you don’t own them. And hopefully you are not treating them this way. Yes, they could shut down tomorrow, and your business would be left in the dust. That’s why you need to use them appropriately – in conjunction with other outlets. That’s why it’s crucial for your business to have its own website. Again, social media platforms are owned by their governing bodies and so are most of the other marketing outlets you plan to use to your business advantage. That should not stop you from using them.

Get started today. If the concerns we reviewed are still haunting you, then we strongly suggest consulting with a social marketing firm. Don’t let the temporary negative noise about social media platforms discourage you from utilizing them to your business advantage. The amount of people socially online continues to grow. Your current and future customers are out there – no matter the industry. Some don’t even know a life without social media. It’s not too late. Promote your brand at a rate never before experienced. And never hesitate to contact Sourballpython with questions.

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