If you assume LinkedIn has over 450 million users and over 3 million company profile pages, it’s well qualified to be the largest business social platform available. But does it really work for the average business?
DMR Stats reports roughly 94% of small businesses use social media but less than 2% of their revenue can be directly tracked back to their social media marketing efforts. This seems a bit low when LinkedIn indicates over 90% of their members stated Social media helped Increase brand awareness. Knowing that social media is good for your business does not mean it makes you money.
Forrester Research estimates the average small business in 2017 will allocate roughly 75K towards online marketing. This amount excludes team members, subscriptions, content hosting, and management fees. You add in all the support resources to manage social media and you might see an average small business budget well over 100K.
The reality is most businesses are small, under 1M, and a small business doesn’t spend anywhere near this amount”. Social media, as it is currently used by most, is considerably hyped by those that sell it. Every aspect of it from what online companies would like you to think it’s worth to what your going to read right after you finish reading this is lacking any real focus on the reality of how to use social media as a revenue tool.
You don’t have to be discouraged from utilizing social media you only need to put some focus into how to benefit from social media. Let’s start by putting it into a little bit of perspective. If you were to, for some crazy reason, decide to walk from the west coast to the east coast, first, you’d be going the wrong way, but most importantly you wouldn’t do it one step per day. That would be crazy. You would probably check out a map or two, think a bit through your route, plan on some good stops along the way, and maybe even consider some good gear for the trip. You’d also plan how far you wanted to go each day. Sure, maybe you’re a wanderer and not much in a hurry, let’s face it you choose to walk across America but you’re smart enough to know you need to take more than one step per day. The majority of businesses take on social media with no plan, no resources, huge expectations and only take one step per day, many take a lot less but expect 90% of their revenues to come pouring out of the digital market.
Showing up doesn’t get you points in social media, in fact, “you build it they will come” is so far from reality you’d have a better chance of getting Shoeless Joe to visit you in a corn field than get a few visitors to randomly find your web presence.
So what constitutes one step in Social Media?
- Just showing up is a slow start. Less than 3% of Linkedin users login daily. Only about 25% login more than once a month.
- Searching social media for something useful to your business is a great step forward. I estimate less than 10% of LinkedIn users have used or know how to use the search bar, and it’s right at the top of the page.
- Liking something isn’t worthy of a step so stop hitting the LIKE button and actually make a comment. Could be something as simple as “I like this post”.
- Interacting with others gets you off to a slow jog. If it’s all you do in social media, send a message to someone new once a day. Create a simply cut and paste self intro. This is so simple yet so important it should be required to keep your social account active.
- Want to start running? Contribute! Write at least one original post content piece a week. A photo doesn’t count, a meme doesn’t count, silly math questions don’t count, celebrity quotes don’t count, and selfies don’t count unless you’re showing some skin and your market is primarily men. Something original and related to your professional passion is how you get on the map.
The first part of taking a few steps is making sure you have the right gear. Though LinkedIn is a great B2B resource for professional services is it the right tool to find your product/service buyers? Most of my clients, in which a majority come from LinkedIn, didn’t know they had the wrong gear. How do you know where your potential clients are? You only need to ask yourself a few questions to find out if LinkedIn is the right target audience for you;
- Is your potential client going to try to sell you something when you reach out to them?
- Does your job description somewhere have HR in it?
- Is your Linkedin account just a way to tell your boss you are active in social media?
- Are you anxious to get political opinions and a daily fix of memes every time you login?
For those actually trying to sell something there are plenty of other venues, the largest being Facebook. If you’re thinking that facebook is not a good tool for B2B you’ve been hyped. Facebook has over 70 million business pages compared to linkedin’s estimated 3 million. Think of it this way when you start a business do you think about setting up a facebook page or a Linkedin page. The one thing every new business has in common is that it has a facebook page in many cases well before it setup a webpage. In fact, many businesses use their facebook page as their only web presence.
So now you’re thinking well that’s great but their customers go to that page and I don’t sell to their customers… you’re too smart for your own good. We’ve already determined that 75% of Linkedin users login less than once a month. The average facebook user logs in daily. Another interesting fact is that the average facebook business user posts updates 3x a week. So now that we’ve established an audience and that it’s active let’s qualify it. 88% of facebook business pages are managed directly by the owner!
Whether it’s linkedIn, facebook, twitter, or other venue taking more than just one step a day is the only way to make social media work for you. LinkedIn provides a great tool to tell you what you did this week vs last week and most social media forums have similar tools to keep you moving forward. Use these tools to set a pace and constantly challenge yourself. Set a goal, a map if you will, and a target date to get there. I challenge my clients to 100 original posts a year. If you cannot honestly say over 50% of your business comes from online after creating 100 original posts you really need to log out as your clients are simply not online.
ailign.com, is a social media engagement automation tool that tracks social page feeds for specific content then creates dynamic post responses. Hundreds of thousands a month in some of the largest venues.