Why I don’t do social media for small businesses

Tweet about your own donuts

As a social media business owner in a small town, I’m approached about helping small businesses with social media a lot. And I mean, a lot. But the majority of the time I turn these prospective clients down. That may not sound like a very good business decision, not to mention a friendly way to act toward my neighbors, but I do it for one reason and one reason only: I firmly believe that small businesses should handle their own social media.

And here’s why: People want to do business with other people.  

As a small business, your greatest edge over the big guys is that your customers can put a face and a name to your business.

They’re not doing business with “Big Box Plus;” they’re doing business with Don’s Donuts. And if they call you up or pop in to your store, they’ll most likely see Don. In today’s world, where you can order 1,000 car parts from a factory in China without ever talking to a human being, that human touch makes a difference.

You shouldn’t sacrifice that personal edge by putting a stranger like me in charge of your brand voice on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.

Sure, I can be warm and engaging with your social media audience, but I don’t know that nice Facebook commenter is actually one of your biggest customers, or that the person who just complained up and down on Twitter about you is actually just your cousin giving you a hard time.

When you’re a small business with relatively few clients and you hire someone who isn’t familiar with the inner workings of your company, you do so to the detriment of what makes social media so effective – real people engaging with one another, in their own voices.

Small business moves fast

Another advantage small businesses have over the big guys? They move fast. While a big corporate marketing campaign might be in the works for months, you can walk into your donut shop and decide that today will be half-price donut day simply because it’s raining.

Social media is the quickest way to spread the word, but do you want to take the time to call or email me and ask me to blast that special through your social networks? Of course not! Why waste the time (and money) when you could do it yourself?

Sure, some social media platforms have a learning curve, but resources like Social Media Examiner, tutorials on the various social platforms, and this very blog, can get you up to speed and have you communicating with your customers in no time.

Make your bottom line happy

I’ll just cut to the chase because we’re both business owners here. A good social media strategist isn’t cheap. Often, your bottom line can be better served by using that money in other ways. In fact, as I mentioned above, it’s easier to engage customers on social media when you’re doing the engaging yourself. Interactions will be more genuine, and your customers will be more likely to interact with you and share your news, discounts and promotions. Your ROI will most likely be better.

Use the money you would have spent on someone like me on bigger and better things for your business.

When to call me

I’m not saying you should leave social media strategists like me out in the cold. There are several reasons you might give me a call:

  • You need help choosing which social media platforms to spend your time on.
  • You need help with the initial setup of these accounts.
  • You want to run a contest or promotion and need help.
  • You aren’t getting the amount of qualified fans or followers that you’d like to see and need help.
  • You have lots of fans or followers but none of them seem to be turning into solid leads for your business.

A strategist can help with all of that and more. But you’re better off if you take care of the day-to-day workings of your company (and dealing with your jokester cousin.)

Have you been engaging with your customers via social media? If so, please share what you’ve learned in the Comments below!

Image by: LenDog64 via Compfight cc