The Social Media Mistake Most Small Business Owners Make

One of the comments I frequently hear from small business owners who have begun to use social media is, “Okay, I’ve got accounts on all these social media platforms you told me to use, but I don’t see any increase in my business!”  Every time I hear it I think of the adage from an old Kevin Costner movie that says “build it and they will come” because people are apparently assuming that once they build a profile on social media, business will just magically come their way!

When I hear it, I always find it fascinating that intelligent business owners and marketers who obviously understand the need to work hard to build a business, don’t seem to grasp the concept that even though social media is free to use, it isn’t FREE.  It is still marketing, and as I have frequently stated in blog articles, webinars and presentations, marketing is going to cost you – either in money invested or time invested.   The more of one you invest, the less of the other you have to invest.  Therefore, if you are going to use a free medium such as social media to market your business, you need to invest your time (or your employee’s time) to make it work for you and your company.

Social media is a tool that can be EXTREMELY productive in marketing your firm – IF YOU ARE USING IT EFFECTIVELY – and using it effectively takes a lot more than building a profile on your selected social media platforms and hoping people will find you and send you business as a result.  Remember – its called “social” media – that means it is dependent upon people being social and interacting with each other – and that doesn’t mean just putting out a request for business as the only thing you post.  However, just because I say it takes “a lot more than building a profile”, doesn’t mean that it has to be an over-whelming, time-intensive task; there are many tools and resources that can insure it can be done efficiently as well.

Just like in-person networking, social media is dependent on a valuable exchange.  You provide benefit / value to someone by the information and resources you provide, and they’ll do the same for you – with referrals, information, resources, etc. that come back to you.  If you’re expecting business from social media, ask yourself this question, Have you given any business via social media?.  Have you offered your connections an opportunity to bid on a project for your company?  Have you asked for referrals to a certain type of vendor you need?  Have you suggested a social media contact work with you on going after a piece of new business so you will both have an opportunity to benefit?  If you haven’t offered opportunities, why would you be expecting any?

I was reminded that it was probably time to address this issue again with our readers when I read the article below, which was written by Victoria Ipri, CEO of Modello Media, Inc., and has been re-printed with her authorization.  I think you will find it of value.

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No Business from LinkedIn? Here’s What May Be Wrong

So you’ve been on LinkedIN for months and you haven’t gotten one shred of business…except maybe a few inquiries here and there that didn’t pan out; a couple nibbles from companies that were wrong for you; and those endless MLM offers you won’t even consider.

That leaves you wondering what all the fuss is about. Who are all these people who claim they have gotten new, profitable business on LinkedIn?

Bad news: It’s not LinkedIn. It’s you.

To drive business on LinkedIn, you need an action plan and a system, just like any other business strategy. You’re only going to get back what you put in. Without a plan, you’ll waste a lot of time being sociable, with no real business to show for it.

This is the biggest complaint I hear about social media marketing…it takes a lot of time and results never seem to materialize.

I agree, it is time-consuming. But when done correctly (which means planning SMM into your day, maximizing that time, and maintaining a narrow focus), the results can be astounding.

It’s kind of like cleaning your house. You start out enthusiastically enough. Two hours later, though, you haven’t moved from the bedroom. You end up sidetracked, going through closets and drawers and…“ooohhh! What’s this? My high school love letters!”

Before you know it, you’ve walked so far down Memory Lane you’ll need to catch the bus back to the corner of Main & Reality.

8 Steps to Optimizing Your LinkedIN Connections:

  1. See the future: How much new business can you comfortably handle? Be realistic. One new client a month is 12 for the year. Not bad.
  2. Choose a target market and do not stray from this focus
  3. Join groups for those markets and actively participate in a meaningful way
  4. Educate yourself on effective LI search…there are ways to search and find specific information about specific people
  5. Stand out: Be active! Be pro-active! Be visible! Get out there and get involved. Create a highly compelling profile; not a resume rehash.
  6. Answer questions to highlight your subject expertise
  7. Accept connections and request connections. People want to connect with you!
  8. Talk to people. I mean, really talk. Show an interest, look for ways to help each other…seeking connections isn’t only about having lots of connections!

Remember…this is social media marketing. You wouldn’t walk into your neighbor’s BBQ, announce your arrival, then sit in your neighbor’s favorite chair and start dominating the conversation, would you? The beauty of social media marketing is the opportunity to use natural, social strategies of communicating, connecting and collaborating to build your online visibility and attract the attention of companies you really want to work with.

Victoria Ipri is CEO of Modello Media, Inc., an e-marketing strategy firm based in Philadelphia, PA. She specializes in LinkedIn success strategies.
Download her latest ebook,
Social Media for the Clueless , or connect with Victoria at www.LinkedIn.com/in/VictoriaIpri. You can visit her blog at The Confident Copywriter, and learn more about Victoria’s business philosophy at Celebrity Dialogue.   Follow this link to learn more about Victoria’s LinkedIN tips and tricks.

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If your firm is interested in making sense of social media and making it more productive as a marketing tool, Strategic Growth Concepts would be happy to help.  You can start with our Social Media Audit that will serve as an excellent guage of how effectively your firm is utilizing social media in its marketing efforts and helps to define the steps you need to take to make social media more productive for your firm.

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The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant of Strategic Growth Concepts, a marketing / management consulting firm focused on start-up, small and mid-sized businesses.  Areas of specialization include:  Mobile Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and Virtual Events production.  Linda is a recognized small business marketing expert, and award-winning blogger, with 20+ years of experience in a wide variety of industries. 

Linda is available for consultation on Social Media Marketing and other topics, and can be contacted at Linda@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com.  The company website can be viewed at www.StrategicGrowthConcepts.com .

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  6. edmusesupon Says:

    Victoria, this was very well said. It’s so important to recognize that social media is a tool–and therefore, it’s the brain behind the tool that determines how effectively it addresses the issue.


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