How to Know If Your Business Is Suited For Social Media

How to Know If Your Business Is Suited For Social Media

I have a friend who would never allow people to pop in or come over if her house was not perfectly clean and orderly.  She had two small children and she said she didn’t want people to see the mess.  I always laughed and told her, if that were true for me, I would never have a visitor, announced or not.

There are some businesses that can’t allow people to pop in on them for fear they may see something less than perfect as well. They want everything well scripted and professionally produced before they will allow the world to stop by on their social media channels.  They don’t like live-streaming for fear of being imperfect and some don’t even like allowing comments from fans on social media channels for fear of what they might post.

The problem with social media is it should be more… SOCIAL! It is “in-the-moment,” spontaneous, and yes…sometimes MESSY.  If your team is waiting for approvals and meetings to take place before a response or post can go up, and you can’t share or ReTweet something from someone else’s profile because it was not screened ahead of time, your brand will struggle to be “social.” Social media is the place to let your audience peek behind the curtain and see how your products are made,  your books are written, your team learns together, and how you play.

social business

Some still think social media marketing is best for B2C businesses, but the reality is whether you are a B2B or a B2C, we are all in P2P relationships. Person to Person.  We want to connect as one person sharing and providing value to another person. People like to see who they are dealing with at another business.  They also want to connect with real people.

Like inviting a new friend over for coffee, social media in a B2B or B2C environment allows you to get closer and begin building the trust needed to establish a relationship.  While people may not want to become “besties” with their cell phone provider, they do like to know they have someone there that cares and can help answer questions when they have one.

When I started researching for this post, I found a few B2B companies that were doing an amazing job with their ability to be social and show a human side to a rather technical industry, and of course I found a few that should close their social windows, draw the shades & sit quietly until people pass by.

anti-social business, hide from social

 

Let’s take a look at a few good and bad examples of businesses on social media:

AGCO Corporation

AGCO offers a full line of tractors, combines, and other agriculture equipment.  They sell to distributors who sell to the end-user (farmer or rancher).  You may think an equipment company would have no place on social media sites, but you’d be wrong.  This company and their 5 brands are connecting and having real conversations with their distributors, fans and those seeking answers about the equipment.

What they share:

Lots of informational and helpful tips mixed with fun and more playful or personal photo posts.  One that I found showed the spontaneity and fun. (Rainbows don’t wait for a committee to approve them.).

B2B social media example AGCO on Facebook

 What social sites they are active on:

They have a WordPress Blog, Facebook, Twitter, and my favorite was their YouTube channel.  They have an incredible collection of educational and informative videos (thousands of videos!) from their own team as well as from their community members.

What we can learn from them:

Provide as much information and helpful content as possible and be where your customers are to answer their questions. Be casual and conversational. Allow your community to be involved in teaching others about your products or services.

 

The Funeral Industry

This industry is one that you might shudder to think of on social media, but when you consider the fact that at least most of us, will need to secure the services of a funeral home sooner or later (hopefully much later), some make it a very “lively” social experience on their pages and profiles.  Most funeral homes are very active in their communities and one, that shares great information as well as these fun community event photos, is Bartolomeo & Perotto in New York.

What they share:

Tips for caregivers and families dealing with aging parents or loved ones.  Resources such as Meals on Wheels, hospice care contact information, local blood drives and fun charity walks and runs.  You can find information on creative memorial services and explanations on cremation versus burial services.  You will also find information on events they are involved in, such as their annual butterfly release (photo below), the 9/11 memorial parade, and their very popular “Stockings for Soldiers” campaign.  The community shares the posts, shows up at their events and supports the causes that are close to their hearts.

funeral homes on social media

What social sites funeral homes are active on: 

While we found Pinterest boards filled with cemetery statues, memorial ideas, songs for memorial services, floral arrangements, urns and more there were only a few funeral homes who had created boards. Most of the content was user-generated.  We found many funeral homes on Facebook and Twitter, and a few savvy enough to answer the many questions consumers have about funerals on YouTube.

 

Funeral homes on social media management company

And of course there are businesses that try to fit into a typical social mold but their target audiences don’t want to talk there. While I believe any business can learn to be social, the platforms each chooses may need to be very different.  A Blog can be a safer place to learn about bipolar disorder than on Facebook, where I wouldn’t want anyone to see that I liked a page let alone that I asked a question or commented there.  YouTube videos, and perhaps even Instagram are a better place for someone to learn how to treat acne than for me to follow and engage with @ZitBeGone on Twitter.

Medical and dental offices can be very social if they share helpful, fun and interesting information for their audiences.  However, if you take out the fun and interesting posts, it leaves only content about veneers and crowns.  There are only so many posts one can take showing the inside of people’s mouths combined with information on root canals.  We did find several who know how to be social and are sharing fun community events along with helpful information.  Love to Dr. Jim and his Tooth Fairies at Southwest Pediatric Dentistry. (We spent 6 years visiting these fun folks with 3 out 4 of our kids in braces!)
We can see the personality of a business on social media sites.

Dentists and Doctors on social media social marketing company

Download our FREE assessment to see HOW SOCIAL IS YOUR BUSINESS and get tips and tools to improve starting today!

business social media assessment

So before hanging your social shingle out letting people know you are on social media, you might want to ask a few questions first:

  1. Is our potential audience active on social media sites?
  2. Which sites and platforms?
  3. Do any of our competitors have active communities on these sites?
  4. Can we write content, regularly, that is more casual in nature and “social” than what is found on our website?  (You cannot simply regurgitate your web content over and over and call it social marketing.)
    (Here are 30 ideas of things to post on your social media accounts when you don’t know what to say.)
  5. Are we okay with sharing photos, videos, and stories of our team and the daily activities behind the curtain?
  6. Are we okay with allowing our community to share their stories, videos, and photos on our pages and profiles or their own?
  7. Are we okay with people posting feedback about our company, our products and services and even our team members on our pages?
  8. Do we have a plan for how to respond to social feedback? Is it written down? (Read: How to Prepare for a Social Media Disaster)
  9. What is the personality of our brand?  Not what do we WISH it was, but what IS IT currently?  Write the words that describe your brand and your team.  Don’t portray one personality online and shock people when they come in to do business with you and your team members.
  10. Are we prepared to let our social marketing team (or person) have some freedom to engage with people and respond in the moment without needing to micromanage?

Being successfully social means being a little vulnerable, and a little more honest about who we really are when the staged photos of fake team members are taken down and the perfect web copy fades away. Being successfully social means having a sense of humor and a more playful spirit. It means letting people pop in without worrying about them seeing a few toys and crumbs on the floor.

anti social media

 

How do you feel about letting people see behind the curtain of your business? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or connect with me on your favorite social media channel… I’m everywhere YOU want to be! @GinaSchreck

Do you need help setting up your social marketing strategy?  Contact one of our fun team members and watch out for the blocks on the floor.

Is it Time to Disrupt Yourself or Time to Persist a Little Longer

Is it Time to Disrupt Yourself or Time to Persist a Little Longer

I tend to get restless and easily bored. That’s probably not the greatest trait as an entrepreneur, but in the 23 years I have had my business, I have “shifted” many times as my industry has changed or as I saw an opportunity to disrupt my own business and grow it.

There are times I felt restless and wanted to totally disrupt my business to follow a new idea (like an app that I still have on the back-burner) but I was either too busy with the current business to chase the idea too far, or my very wise husband put his “blanket of reality” on the idea. He would remind me of the high cost and time commitment of app development. He’s been involved with several start-ups and knows first-hand so I returned it to the back-burner for now.

Sometimes we sit too long, and our industry or other outside factors disrupt us. Like anyone selling fax machines or portable GPS devices for our cars knows all too well. There are far too many examples of businesses that go under because they didn’t disrupt themselves early enough to keep up with changes happening and the outside forces came and disrupted them.

We often hear the story of Blockbuster Video who sat too long and was disrupted by outside forces, but what about Netflix? Netflix disrupted their own video business. They were rockin’ the DVD mail service, but then soon realized they needed to disrupt themselves when they saw where digital media was going. They squiggled a bit to go from the mail back and forth video DVDs, to the hottest online video content company out there. We aren’t wasting our nights binge-watching Blockbuster shows.

We have to know when it’s time to disrupt ourselves and when we may need to sit a while longer. Sometimes we need to realize our restlessness may be causing us to chase something new and shiny. Persistence and perseverance are hard when we are restless or when things aren’t going as well as we’d like. Sometimes we see things changing around us and we hunker down, hoping the storm will pass. I see this with many people when it comes to digital and social marketing.

So how do we know when it’s time to move, even just a little? How do we know when it’s time to completely disrupt our current path and squiggle onto another? Since I tend to use the word “squiggle” a lot, I thought PASTA was a good word to help us when we feel that urge to DISRUPT or SQUIGGLE:

squiggle in our business disrupt our current path

P- pause before you disrupt.

When we feel that urge to jump ship and dive into something completely new, we need to pause. Take time to reflect on what is working, what is not. Sometimes we want to change or squiggle out of sheer restlessness or current difficulties. Spend some time observing. Draw out your customer journey. What is working for them? What could be improved? Perhaps you will discover a new product or service offering is really a better move over a complete shift.

A- ask others for input.

When we are feeling restless and like disruption is needed, make some time to talk to others. Whether you have a business coach, a mastermind group or other colleagues, invite them to coffee or lunch and open up to them about your ideas and feelings to get their input. Listen to what they have to say

S- search for confirmation.

Now it’s time to do some homework on your ideas. Search the internet and see who else, and what else is out there, that can give you the confirmation or simply, more information to help you make the decision. Do you need to mystery shop some other companies doing something similar? Can you find information that proves there is an audience for your new idea?

T- test all ideas.

It’s time to test your idea. Before you quit your day job or tell your current team members that you are closing the doors to start a new venture, throw your idea out and see if you get some takers. If your idea is in alignment with what you are currently doing, ask current customers for their input. Would they buy this product or service? Ask your social media audience. You need to know if your idea meets the needs of your current audience or if you need to find new people to connect with. You won’t know until you do a few tests. Success often comes after many tests and failures.

A- alter your plan.

After you have tested your idea(s), and you’ve decided to incorporate some of the changes, you will need to alter your plans. This might be your current offerings or the copy that is on your current website, or it might mean it will alter your entire business plan. Know that you will always be testing, squiggling and altering. That’s just part of growing and staying on top of what is happening in your industry.

squiggle or disrupt

In business we don’t want to be on either extreme: Sitting too long and waiting to be disrupted by outside forces or disrupting ourselves too often and not sitting still long enough to see if we just need to persevere through some tough times or times when shiny objects are in our way.

Which side have you found yourself on in the past?  I’d love to hear from you.

Leave me a comment below or connect with me on any social channel and let’s continue the discussion…hurry there is surely a shiny object in my view soon.

@GinaSchreck