I have been busy. I haven’t posted for a long time. I need a shot in the arm to make me post and I got it today when I read Julie Brooks’ post on StreetFight titled “Why Mom-and-Pops will no longer pay for “Social Media Management” .
In the article Julie advises that Very Small Businesses (VSBs) should not waste their time on Social Media Management. She says: “My blanket recommendation is that they spend one to two hours a week on social media and use an application such as HootSuite to schedule posts to multiple channels. If they have a reasonably tech savvy employee who they’re already paying to do other offline communications it certainly makes sense to handle social media this way.”
She also says that hiring out social does not work because it’s too hard to get content from small businesses.
I agree that it is a very difficult proposition to “sell social services” to VSBs and be authentic timely and engaging. This is why some companies cannot offer a DIFM (Do It For Me) type service. On the other hand I think we can all agree that most VSBs at least initially can’t and won’t be able to effectively use a DIY (Do it Yourself) solution like Hootsuite. They have neither the time nor inclination nor knowledge.
This is why as a commenter stated you need to provide a service that teaches them how to use social over time. Social channels are just like any other media channel. People will not engage a TV or Radio station that plays only commercials – yet this is exactly what many VSBs do when they attempt social. The solution advertisers need to provide must be DIWM (Do It With Me).
To simply council that VSBs avoid social is folly. While it might not make them money out of the gate social may be the only thing that ensures they are around over the long haul.
Many people would also disagree with the second part of her advice: ”If [businesses] have a reasonably tech savvy employee it certainly makes sense to handle social media this way”. A lot of businesses have already made that mistake. Instead of working with a motivated specialist who understands social strategy they pass it off to some part-time high schooler ’cause he says he “knows Facebook” when really his only experience is creeping crushes’ profiles and posting bimonthly updates to his heavy metal band’s timeline. Read: there is no substitute for a solid social strategy.
Lastly I’d like to remind people that social media has many forms. It is not just “Facebook and Twitter”. There are many things that make up a business’ social footprint including their website (mobile and/or responsive) blog review sites like Yelp and Google+ listing sites directory sites local sites mobile apps Instagram consumer complaint sites etc.. All of these places allow consumers to voice an opinion of the VSB; how will they fare if they do not monitor manage and build their online reputation?
The key is for a VSB is to start monitoring and understanding what folks are saying about them. Their brand is no longer what they say it is – it is what their customers say it is.
The fact is the money that VSBs spend is moving from Paid to Owned and Earned. The digital agency companies that understand this and help their customers enter into this new age of reality will reap great rewards.
Re-Posted from Brendan King’s blog