Social media for Small Business Owners - a golden ticket or a middle school rope climb?
Let’s face it – being a small business owner is hard work. No matter what stage you are in – as a start up, well established or somewhere in between – it seems you spend every minute of every day thinking about or working on your business. It’s always on your mind! You quickly learn how to master new tools like online accounting applications, or payment processing software.
Enter a new trend: social media – the glitzy shiny object that will send customers flocking to you and your product! It’s the golden ticket to solving all of your marketing needs. You’ve heard success stories, seen celebrities grow from oblivion into relevance, watched the hashtag trends and thought “I can play in this space”! How hard could it be? If 13 year olds can become masters overnight, racking up friends, followers and likes by the 100’s, shouldn’t this be the easiest thing you’ve done for your business?
You eagerly open your first social account for your business and build out your page – thank goodness it’s easy to fill out the template with your logo, key messages, “about me” info and your website. You click “Submit” and Voila! You are now relevant! Congratulations! And then comes the dreaded moment – what’s next? How do I get followers? What on earth do I post about? How do I make this compelling?
And that, my friends, is where the easy part stops. Because unlike the 13 year olds who appear to master a social media platform overnight, your business and brand is literally on the line! You instinctively know that posting a random thought here and there aren’t going to net you the results you want. You realize that this is another tool to learn and master. Being the responsible business person, you do some research, you read articles and blog posts, and get to know more about the platform and how it works to your advantage. Great! That wasn’t too hard. And you plow through your first few weeks of social media induced bliss – you get followers and likes, people comment on your content, and you feel like you are part of a new community – you made it! You proudly look at the dashboard or analytics page for your profile and see HUGE numbers! You get an adrenaline rush every time you see your metrics pop up.
And then something changes. In the space of a day or two, – your metrics flatten out. You start to see declines in your impressions, or followers drop off. You try your old tactics, but they don’t work. You start wondering if posting cat videos will help. Or maybe you consider the idea of “buying” followers. It hits you – this is harder than I thought it would be. Its what I call the “rope climb” of the ever changing obstacle course of social media. It’s the differentiator between those who get by with average level of skill and strength, and those who can push through to the next level. It’s a moment of truth for the small business owner who is managing their own social media activity. You ask yourself: How much more development can I afford to invest in this thing? How often do I need to refresh my skills? Will I ever get the investment of time and talent back in some form of revenue or growth?
Part of the research I did prior to creating LittleBox Social was to assess the “current state” of my neighborhood small businesses and their use of social media. I was happy to see many of my potential future clients had established a social media presence – Go Neighborhood Business! Then I dug a little further and looked at their content. A pattern quickly emerged. A small minority of businesses had an active, if not thriving social media presence. I could see a slightly larger group who started out strong, and every once in a while, maybe once a month, someone was tasked with that pesky “Social media stuff” on their to-do list and posted for a few days with good content. Then there was the largest group of all – well over 50% of the test sample: Businesses that had clearly started out and within a few weeks, discontinued posting and/or stopped providing any fresh content. It’s like they just ran out of steam, looking at that obstacle when something in the ecosystem changed.
This larger group hit the dreaded moment of Middle School Rope Climb and couldn’t make it past the first knot. They weren’t getting the return on the investment that they thought they were promised. And just like in Middle School gym class – not all of us make it up the rope on the first try. Some of us didn’t even try – willing to take the demerit for the class.
Every business owner has run up against a rope that they can’t climb. The smart business owner recognizes the decision in front of them: Do I have to climb the rope? Is there a different way to attack the problem? Or do I just stop and walk away from this opportunity?
Clearly, some stop and walk away, but it haunts the bottom of their to-do list until they just simply pretend it never happened. Others will take another run at it occasionally just to see what happens. And yet another group will recognize the opportunity to do something they could never do in Middle School Gym Class – Hire it out to a specialist.
Organizations (like LittleBox Social) spend their days training for the rope climb! And we scamper up the rope at lightning speed (Figuratively of course because most of us are geeks and still have no upper body strength!). We train by keeping on top of trends, studying the shifting algorythms that Social Media Engineers keep changing, researching new and better ways to convey your personal story! Let us climb the rope for you! And since we do it behind the scenes, you get all the credit!
If you find yourself feeling like that 13 year old middleschooler, staring at that rope dangling from the Middle School Gym Ceiling and wondering – “How on earth am I ever going to make it up that thing?” – let LittleBox Social help you out. We can climb the rope for you, or train you how to climb it! We take the fear out of social media by partnering with you to make sure that you get what you need!