I have worked with many business owners who firmly believe in the value of social media marketing. They have proven their intentions by soaking up every piece of advice about the technical side of social media – how to schedule posts, when to post, how to evaluate their posts and how to use posts to lead prospects down the sales funnel.
Yet, when it comes to actually using social media as a marketing tool, they falter.
Certainly, finding the time can be a real challenge. Social media marketing success requires a consistent commitment of time. The thought of sitting down at a computer to craft posts for Facebook can feel frivolous when there are customers to serve.
However, even if we had all the time in the world, many of us would still find social media marketing extremely difficult.
We have to truly understand our customers.
Sure, we might be able to rattle off some general demographic data about our customers. But to really engage with our customers and target our prospects requires a much deeper knowledge. We need to understand the things really matter to our customers, even outside the confines of our business relationship. That level of understanding is difficult without a deep sense of empathy, a heavy dose of patience and sharp listening skills.
Social Media marketing makes us confront the truth about our business.
We start our businesses because we firmly believe that we have an outstanding product or service to offer. So it hurts when someone tells us we have fallen short. Social media marketing can sometimes feel like daring to walk on the beach in your swimsuit. It’s easier to stick your head in the sand than to face the opinions of your customers, especially when they tell you something you don’t want to hear.
Social Media marketing makes us accountable.
Social media takes one-on-one interaction with your customers and puts it on a public stage. You can’t go silent, comments can’t go unanswered and requests can’t be ignored because they are on view for all to see.
Social Media marketing requires us to show who we really are.
Customers want to know the people behind a brand. CEOs are public figures. Consumers like to look behind the scenes. Brands gain and lose customers by the causes they support as much as the products they sell (Look at Land’s End.) That requires business owners to share their own beliefs and values and be true and authentic to themselves.
Social media requires a sense of fun.
Business is no longer “all business, all the time.” Entertainment has become an expectation. Even “serious” companies occasionally break from their staid approach and publish a cat meme now and then. For some, this approach seems inappropriate and hard to pull off.
It’s important to remember that everything that’s difficult about social media marketing is also why it’s so powerful. When you really understand your customers, you can find more of them. You can serve them better in a myriad of ways. When you are open, accountable and authentic, you are telling your own unique story. Even better, your customers are telling it for you. You are setting your business apart from your competitors. Don’t let fear keep you from walking on the beach. You can build an amazing castle with sand.