One of the biggest concerns in marketing these days is social media marketing, and one of the biggest concerns with social media marketing is coming up with the time to do it. Make no mistake about it, using tools (other than BP, of course) such as Twitter, Facebook, ActiveRain and a business blog can significantly grow your business, improve communication with your clients and customers and even open up new income streams for you. But it is not a magic bullet. Social media marketing for small business, as is the case with anything else worth doing, takes time and effort.
And if small business owners are short on anything, it’s time…
So I find it very understandable when people ask me about the possibility of having me or someone else “do social media” for them. They ask “This is obviously going to take some time, and I’m very busy. Can I just have you do this for me?” My response is, “Maybe. Let’s look into it.”
Yes, You Can Have Someone Else “Do Social Media” for You (Maybe)
See, it’s not cut and dry. A lot of social media “experts” will tell you unequivocally that you have to do this kind of thing yourself. I don’t think that’s always the case. But luckily there is a simple way to know if your social media marketing can be delegated to someone else. Here is the test…answer one simple question:
When someone calls your business to address an important matter like a problem or a complaint, do they expect to talk with YOU, or do they ask to “speak with the manager”?
If your answer is “They want to speak with a manager”, then your social media marketing can be delegated. If your answer is “They want to speak with me”, then it cannot.
What Kind of Business Are You Running?
There are different kinds of businesses. Some people build a business around their personal brand…people know your face, and they ask for you by name. This is often the case with real estate professionals. Some businesses are built around a corporate brand, in which case most consumers do not necessarily even know who the owner is, nor do they care.
In the case of your business having a non-personal corporate brand, it is not necessarily the case that the CEO or owner running the social media marketing (or at least having a strong part in it) would not be effective. It could certainly be effective if it’s done well. But it’s simply not essential, because people don’t generally know you anyway. In this situation, social media activities can be delegated to employees or virtual assistants. Social media marketing can be done very effectively in a case like this. The overall strategy is going to be different than what you would do for a personal brand, but the results can be very significant.
On the other hand, if people know your face and ask for you by name, there is not much of an option…if you’re the Rainmaker, that responsibility extends to your social media presence as well.
Social media is highly engaging on a personal level, and if your strategy is going to create a disingenuous feel with your clients, it’s best to just not go there. It is possible, as is the case with any form of marketing, to do more harm than good.
The Best Solution
The best way to approach social media marketing for your business is to not try and shortcut it. Yes, it will take you time to build a substantial network online and create the huge results you want, but it’s doable. It also does not have to dominate your schedule. You just need to be creative in working it in.
Creating an efficient work flow which allows you effective use of your time is the subject for another post, but my point today is simple. If you’re a professional building a personal brand, such as is the case in most real estate practices, it’s essential to do your social media marketing yourself.
This is not the death sentence you may feel it is! Working a blog and social networking into your schedule can be done effectively and efficiently. The time commitment is real, but consider the ramifications of NOT doing it. Nothing is more costly than losing marketing share…if your customers are looking for you online, it’s a safe bet that it’s WORTH your time to be there for them. After all, if you’re getting a good return on your time investment, than it’s a good deal for everyone involved, correct?
If that makes sense, I encourage you to not fight the time commitment it takes to get good results online. That’s the wrong place to focus. Instead, educate yourself and work with others who have done it effectively…and demand that you get a good return on your time. That is a fair expectation of anything you’re doing for your business, and social media can deliver…if you do it well.