This is a guest post by Megan Totka, Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com.
There are countless “tips” and “guides” out there for small businesses, all designed to unlock the secrets to a successful social media strategy. Unfortunately, due to the pace of today’s information age, such pieces often become dated or obsolete before they’re even published. While the Internet may be shrinking in terms of the size of the content we digest, it’s only expanding in terms of what we’re sharing with each other (not to mention how much).
Small businesses represent a group that has traditionally struggled when it comes to the social network. Between constant economic interruptions and the fact that it seems like there’s never enough time in the day, it’s difficult for SMBs to find the proper resources and hone in on a social strategy that works. That is, a strategy that results in:
- Engagement and response from customers, both potential and existing
- A return on investment, either in the form of cash, traffic or simply buzz
Yet buzzwords such as “engagement” and “ROI” don’t really get us anywhere, do they? When it comes to social media and our businesses, we are constantly in search of attention.
We work tooth and nail to chase the illustrious tweet, post or blog that will get people talking. We follow the white rabbit of topics and trends in order to pique the interest of our followers. Sometimes we succeed, yet oftentimes we find ourselves searching for the next big thing. It’s a chase that doesn’t seem to have an end and the search becomes exhausting.
Why bother? Is it worth it?
Yes, especially if we look at the statistics:
- Users aged 45-54 represent the fastest growing demographic on Facebook and Google+, while users aged 55-64 are the fastest growing on Twitter (up 79% from 2012)
- 70% of B2C businesses have acquired a lead from Facebook
- 189 million users on Facebook are “mobile only”
The social network isn’t just something “for the kids” anymore. There’s something for everyone, and the numbers tell us that the audience willing to buy via social is only growing. With both B2B and B2C transactions happening on a more continuous basis, many through mobile devices, social media as a source of revenue no longer seems so farfetched. If 93% of marketers are on board, there’s most certainly a reason why, isn’t there?
The fact remains that the modern user, whether aware or not, is constantly looking for “the next big thing.” They want a story or image to pull them in and they’re constantly clicking around, ready to take it in. It’s up to us as business owners to produce or provide it to them; however, that’s easier said than done.
Finding a Pulse
The topical, ever-changing nature of today’s web and our shortened attention spans cause us to jump from one craze to the next. While a celebrity meltdown may have rocked the Twitterverse one day, we immediately move on to a political snafu or series finale the next. It takes a bit of work to find the pulse of our users, but it’s important in order to keep up with what they’re looking for and what’s on the tongues of the world at large.
Whether through newsjacking or keeping a close eye on trending topics, it’s our responsibility to be relevant and understand our audience. Oftentimes, the task in and of itself is exhausting. Finding topics that tie in to your products and services can make this even harder and more daunting. But the exercise of making such news relevant to your business is worth it if done right.
Consider also the rate which things change. The modern marketer is pretty much forced into a position where they have to update often. History tells us that hard work pays off, so the more we update, the more opportunities we have for engagement. A dead site or blog is a major turn-off and it’s been proven time and time again that blogs that update often drive more traffic.
Facebook posts, for example, get the most traffic within the first five hours of their lifetime. Therefore, we’re tasked with bringing something new to the table almost constantly. The problem becomes when we fight a war with ourselves of spam versus content. For this reason, it’s important to stay on the pulse of our users and provide something relevant to them.
Living in the Moment
The recent finale of Breaking Bad gave us insight as to how much today’s users are utilizing the social network simultaneously. With millions of engagements happening over the course of the show, and on such a large scale, the social grip on today’s users is rather unbelievable. In short, we know for a fact that people are really hooked on social regardless of what they’re doing and therefore we become responsible for marketing in real time. Once they’ve moved on from something such as the aforementioned finale, they’re still around. Then what? They move on to the next big thing and we chase the traffic.
The Bottom Line
The pace of today’s social network is frantic to say the least; however, it’s the responsibility of businesses and marketers to be on the lookout for what their users are talking about. With engagement and activity up like never before, there’s plenty to learn and a lot more to gain when it comes small businesses and the social network.
About the Author
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.