The challenge for local business social media marketing is enormous, both in terms of understanding why they need it, and then finding the time to use social media well. Sites like Facebook seems massive, full of goofy personal information and thus overwhelming. Twitter goes very fast, there are so few real conversations there, what’s the point? Then there’s all the others – LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube etc. The overwhelm and time consuming nature of it all is the main stumbling blog. Plus, what to say, who to follow, how to reach more followers?
Next: how do we, as social media managers, PROVE that our systems work? Case study data. in your own local market, takes time to collect – the sites need to “season” –
and the effort needs to be consistent. It’s a challenge.
I was intrigued by this post from Patrick Kitano, who offers excellent analysis over on his blog “Street Fight: Inside the business of Hyperlocal”
Here is a snippet of that article:-
Evolution of the SMB Marketing Ecosystem
Here are three simple concepts SMBs need to understand about social marketing:
1) They need an online destination — website, blog, or even a Facebook page — where long-form content can fully describe their product, service and value proposition. Simply put, this is where the customer learns about and transacts with the business.
2) Ignore all other social networks for now. Twitter and Facebook have matured to become the two dominant consumer-oriented networks with well-defined but different roles. SMBs must realize that the key to social marketing is to avoid overt salesmanship; the conversation leads to the sale. Twitter broadcasts conversations around their brand, while Facebook connects with their customers on a more intimate level.
3) Yelp, Foursquare, and the next generation of mobile apps will be how customers find businesses on the street. SMBs need to claim their businesses on these top mobile apps to understand the power of reviews and check-ins that drastically affect their reputation.
To hasten social marketing adoption, big players like Twitter and Facebook need to get small businesses to become baby-step comfortable with their platforms. The industry should make a concerted effort to educate small businesses and chambers of commerce on how it all works. Once this happens, vendors focusing on one part of the ecosystem can more readily connect with an enlightened SMB client base who can see the forest for the trees.
Here at Vizzitopia, we add LinkedIn to the mix if a company offers B2B services, and Pinterest if they’re pure consumer. We’re finding that small, daily consistent action does produce lift over time. But that like any other marketing service not ad-based, there is a lag between effort and results. This often causes the business owner to stop, losing confidence in the procedure. Understandably.
We social media managers need systems that come with proof. I’m committing the next few years of my career to proving to Jacksonville that local business social media marketing works. How about you, in your town?