Small Business Social Media Reality Check: Part 1
By Liz DeJesus, Marketing Manager
My name is Liz. I have been working for Stewart Transportation for almost a year and I am the company’s social media/marketing/digital/everything-in-between manager.
That being said, I have a confession to make – I knew little to nothing about B2B social media when I started this job. There. It’s out there.
Of course no one wants to publicly admit they have no idea what they’re doing, but sometimes we just have to get real! The truth is, I don’t think I’m alone in my ignorance, but I have found the social mediasphere to be a pretty intimidating landscape and the enlightened experts don’t exactly go out of their way to welcome newcomers. This perception, which is entirely my own, leads me to believe that there may very well be a large swath of folks out there who don’t feel comfortable asking the really rudimentary questions – the questions whose answers should serve as the foundation for anyone’s social media strategy. I believe that for every small business out there rocking their social media, there are just as many considering how to enter the fray and come out on the other side…alive.
I feel your pain! I know your resources are limited, you don’t have enough staff or time. You may not know the difference between a Facebook Page and a Facebook Profile. You’re probably intimidated by Twitter lingo and you may not even know what a hashtag is. Heck, you probably don’t even have a marketing plan, and if you do, it hasn’t been updated since 2003. Truth.
You may not know a lot about social media, but you do know it’s important. It’s the future! Everyone is doing it and you feel like you should too. I get it.
When you finally make the decision to take on the social media monster and begin researching, your brain starts to shut down. HOLY OVERLOAD. The very idea of deciding where to start is terrifying. There is an endless amount of information on the subject and it can often be conflicting. One website says one thing, one website says another, only post during certain times, certain days, don’t do this, do that, have a publishing schedule, make sure you have a strategy, don’t retweet without a quote, have your own hashtag, measure your ROI, create your own content, engage your audience… The list goes on. And what’s most baffling is that it all seems to be geared towards a mythical group of small businesses with a full-time social media staff.
Let me assure you that I went through this same roller coaster of emotions. I knew we needed it but I also knew that to do it the “right” way would dominate my time. On top of that, I personally only used Facebook and Instagram. I was TERRIFIED of Twitter and LinkedIn bored me to tears (still does if truth be told). But I was the company’s available resource so I did my best to dive into the abyss.
I started my research at the mecca of all things social media: Hubspot. If you don’t know Hubspot, you really should. They have an endless catalog of helpful templates, articles and so much more available for FREE! (With the exception of a few sales calls here and there.) It’s a great resource for establishing a current understanding of social media basics. Again, it’s still a lot to take in.
Using what I learned, my initial strategy was to play exactly by the rules set forth by the social media gods. It was probably around the middle of May 2014 when I decided to wave the white flag of surrender. I was exhausted. In between redesigning our website, finalizing ads, developing a new budget, designing new templates and marketing collateral, I did NOT have time to meticulously plan, execute and monitor our social media the way the experts said I should.
I decided that if this was going to work at all, it would have to be done my way, based on my resources and our company’s unique needs. I had to abandon the experts and embark on a journey all my own.
If this dilemma sounds all too familiar, you’ll definitely want to tune in for part 2 and I’ll share exactly what I’ve learned, how to get started and my tips for defining your own social media success.
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