OK, so I’ve gone against the grain a little bit when discussing social media and what it can (and can’t) do for the typical business.
Social media popularity can be accurately described as a “vanity metric” -- like proudly boasting about your top-line revenue when you should be focused on your bottom-line profits. I am a strong advocate of forgetting about accumulating likes and followers and focusing on getting real value from prominent social media platforms.
Now, it’s not always wrong to accumulate likes on Facebook or followers on Twitter because they can be valuable for some businesses -- those who want to forge and maintain a close, ongoing relationship with their customers or clients. Professional or personal service firms (like Inbound Storm), restaurants or entertainment venues can actually profit from making friends online.
The rest of us have to think differently. As you know, I run a basement waterproofing company. Because we do the job right the first time, we typically see our customers just once. No matter how boring their life, nobody wants to follow the daily doings of basement waterproofers. But, if you look at my basement waterproofing company site, you’ll see that we have links to follow us on Facebook and YouTube. Am I a hypocrite? Read on…
Social Media Can Impact Your Bottom Line
As I hope I’ve made clear in previous posts, I’m a bottom line kind of guy. I don’t waste my time or money on anything that doesn’t produce an ROI. I found that there is value in social media but that value is based on having a strong and active inbound marketing strategy. That’s where the money is.
If you design your outreach on social media to support and enhance your inbound marketing program, you’ll get more out of each. You can use Facebook and Twitter (and LinkedIn and Google+) to get more out of your marketing by extending its reach and there are several ways to do it.
We publish Basement Matters, our waterproofing blog, three times a week, come hell or high water. (We’ll talk about the power of fresh content someday soon.) As soon as it’s published, we post a link on our Facebook page and tweet a brief description of the content with appropriate links and hashtags. My main reason for doing this is to get more people to our blog and, from there, to clicking our “Book Now” button in order to convert them into leads.
There is, however, an indirect benefit to pushing out your blog content via social media. The more places your content turns up, including Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, the more you’re being seen by search engines and the greater the positive impact on your SEO rankings. Members of the media find you as well, like the Associated Press reporter who called me yesterday because he found a link to my blog on the Midwestern drought on Twitter.
Listen to Conversations
I found myself spending a little time on Twitter yesterday morning. As you know, it’s been a dry summer in most of the U.S. and particularly dry in the Midwest. When you’re in the basement waterproofing business, this isn’t a good thing and it has impacted our business this year, along with that of our competitors. (At least I got some free PR out of it.)
Well, on Sunday it rained. I mean, it rained! Some parts of the Chicago area got four inches of rain and I figured I’d better get to the office early the next morning. I fired up Twitter and started searching for posts under #floodedbasement and #wetbasement and found dozens of people talking about water in their basements after the big storms. I interacted with almost all of them, giving suggestions and advice and, of course, offering our assistance. Here's one example:
Look Hip and Knowledgeable
Today, everybody with even a little tech savvy uses, or at least talks about, social media. Grandmas have Facebook pages, college students have LinkedIn profiles and crusty old building contractors are Tweeting. If you’re not doing these things you look hopelessly behind the times.
Using social media, even in a very superficial fashion, will give your business the aura of being connected and in step with technology. This will certainly make your business more attractive to those who use social media as their main source of information and interaction.
So, social media can be a productive tool if you use it properly and base your expectations on reality. Without an underlying internet marketing strategy that involves creating and distributing fresh, meaningful content, all the Twitter followers and Facebook likes in the world aren’t going to make you any money.
Like I said, I’m a bottom line guy so why not let me show you how I can help you use the power of content and the appeal of inbound marketing to grow your bottom line.
Disagree with my stance? Have more questions? Drop me a note in the comment box below.