February 11, 2015 Tony Burke

What Does Social Media Strategy Mean for Small Businesses?

The concept of “social media strategy” is not new. Facebook, the flagship of social networking worldwide, has already been around longer than a decade. Since the inception of the Internet, people have used the web to make purchases, express opinions, and share content. For an artist, “media” means such things as wood, watercolor, and celluloid. For a journalist, media includes print, radio, and television. As social creatures, our media for interacting with one another include Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and all the other platforms made possible through the magic of the Internet. Looking at it this way, it’s fair to say that the Internet has been used for social media all along.

Just as commercialization occurred in earlier eras of the Internet, businesses are coming in droves to sit at the table of social media. The food is there, but feasting can be difficult for businesses that don’t know where to start. At Jemully Media, we’ve seen that social media and especially forming a social media strategy can be confounding for uninitiated business owners. How can something be simultaneously so personal and impersonal?

That last question is a good one, and it illustrates the widespread issue of hardworking business owners not having the time to tap into the vast web of connections being made in the social sphere. Is the compulsion to be socially plugged-in strictly technological, or is it primordial? Questions like this are fun to ask, but this basic business problem hardly requires an existential answer.

Social Media Strategy: Jump in!

Social media is cool, and people integrate it into their daily lives. We’ve established that this is valuable to a business, right? Funny thing is, businesses have access to all these same social platforms and tools… for free. Sure, it takes time out of your day to run a tight ship, er, social media strategy, but merely showing up is half the battle.

Your customers are already out there, creating and consuming. Never before have companies had a direct line into such a safe and personal space for consumers. Companies should not hesitate to jump in, whether they have a fine-tuned social media strategy or not. Don’t let the perceived headaches and tedium stop you from getting your feet wet. There is no time like the present.

Social Media Strategy & The Consumer Wheel

To see how important social media strategy can be to your core business, one should keep the Consumer Wheel in mind. There are several versions of The Wheel, depending on which business advice you subscribe to, but the one we like to reference includes Marketing, PR and Sales.

social media strategy via the consumer wheelIf you work from a model like this, or something similar, social media strategy should be of obvious importance. A good social media strategy actually encompasses two-thirds of your typical consumer wheel. For small businesses, PR and Marketing can be almost completely social-based. Modern companies should always have a website acting as their primary digital hub, and then use all logical social platforms to promote it.

Interacting with your customers, posting photos and news, providing insight into who you are (and not just what you do), are all effective ways to use social media for PR. Marketing efforts, (if you will, The Four P’s: Product, Price, Place, Promotion) can be equally communicated through social media. With an effective social media strategy (or someone who knows how to handle it all for you), all you really have to worry about is actually selling your products and services. Selling to customers? Imagine that. I bet that’s why you got into business in the first place. With social media strategy streamlining 2/3 of your Consumer Wheel, that leaves you more time and energy to do what you do best.

I’m in. What Now?

Many small business owners are asking if there’s any value in social media strategy quoteknowing all the voodoo behind social media like search engine optimization (SEO) and optimal posting times. Social media specialists like Jemully are dedicated to the craft, and just like an artist or a writer or any type of creator, we spend countless hours practicing, learning, and honing our skills. We love a good DIY project (and we Pinterest like crazy, if you want proof), but we also accept that we can’t all specialize in everything. It doesn’t take too much time to jump in to social media, but it does take time to develop an effective social media strategy. Businesses that hire an individual or a team to handle their social media strategy do so for two reasons:

  1. They realize a social media strategy is an effective and efficient investment, and
  2. Hiring the expertise is faster and usually better for the business structure as a whole.

Social media strategy is all about staying true to your brand and then improving your methods. Even if you’re not sure how to launch your social media strategy, your first plan of action should be to dive in to social media as soon as possible. There’s no sense in waiting. Ideally, yes — it’s beneficial to start off with a killer social media strategy from the moment you create your business pages. But in our experience, it’s no problem to pick up where a company has started, to form or revise their social media strategy, and to achieve significant growth. So begin, and seek help when you need it.

To answer the question up in the title, social media strategy means nothing but opportunity for small businesses.

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