A Google+ post by Keith Bloemendaal sparked quite a bit of conversation but just as importantly, it got me to thinking (thanks a lot, Keith) about social media and what it means to small business. The topic was in house social media versus outsourced campaigns. Here’s the link to the post for anyone interested.
And here’s my take.
I don’t manage huge corporate conglomerates. I manage small businesses that are either incorporated but just as often are not (I’m going to leave the musicians and artists out of this equation…they have a significant advantage in terms of social media).
And most of these guys are kind of bootstrapping it. They are restaurants and boutiques. A couple sell B2B products. They range from $500k in sales to a few million a year. And yes…for the record, even companies that sell that amount of product volume sometimes still fix their own toilets to save a buck.
A social media “expert” may tell them that they need to tweet…that they need to have a Fan page…and that they need to actively seek out and promote their brand to reach potentially new customers.
But for most small businesses, a huge social media campaign isn’t practical and usually isn’t very targeted. And depending on the goal of the small business, engaging on a platform like twitter may very well be a waste of time and resources.
In other words, it really depends on the goals of the business itself. And for most small businesses, they aren’t really sure where social media (or the internet for that matter) is going to fit….
Which is about the time social media experts rear their ugly head with all sorts of shovel selling rather than help the business with defining what they want it to do for them, and at what cost.
Usually, a practical strategy for integrating social media into a marketing campaign is more about using the platforms for outreach with existing customers (the return is measurable this way) as opposed to churning up new business (where the area of return can be questioned).
That’s been my experience at least…
So, when I see the whole social media teams articles pop up here and there talking about the dangers of in-house advertising, I just have to wonder exactly who they are advising this for.
Because for most small businesses, it simply isn’t a practical solution.