How should small businesses approach an investment in social media? Learn how a social media consultant views how small business should consider what business value they should derive from social - and how to better manage their expectations vis a vis budget spend on social.
[00:49] The Power of Habit
[01:31] The Concept of Unplugged
[05:01] The Challenge with Social Media
[06:06] My Approach
[06:16] A Role of Social Media Consultant
[09:15] Things I Have Struggled With As Social Media Consultant
[09:57] The Fear I Have As Social Media Consultant
Welcome to maximize your social actionable 10 minute advice on how your business can maximize your social media presence. Now, the host of maximize your social social media author, speaker, consultant, and founder of maximize social business, Neal Schaffer. Everyone, you know, I always start off this podcast by saying this is Neal Schaffer Welcome to maximize your social and then I realized you know, that intro jingle right first start talking already says squat I am. So do I really need to say who I am every episode. And sometimes it just becomes a habit that when we start something maybe every day in the morning or a task, or whatever it might be, The Power of Habit is a very, very strong one. And this is the lead into what I want to talk about today, which is the business of social media and the habits that companies have in terms of how they spend money to do certain tasks. You know, this podcast was originally called Social Business unplugged until I publish, maximize your social, and I like to keep it very much unplugged. As you've probably heard from previous episodes, especially that one at the pub in London or the one at the food court here in Orange County eating ramen, while talking about podcasting. And part of the the concept of unplugged. And you know, I was a drummer and the music that you hear, by the way at the intro and outro. This podcast is from a song of two CDs that my band called Jaco land recorded in Japan. So I really liked the unplugged concept. But so I tried to share stories and perspectives as I see them at this moment in time. And a few days ago, I got a phone call, which I think really illustrates the business of social media, the power of habit and what have you. And so let me give you the background, obviously, when you become very active in social media, and I know a lot of you listening to this podcast are, you have a robust social media following you have a website, if you blog, you probably have inbound marketing working for you. And at some point, you just start getting phone calls. I mean, the funny phone calls that I used to get where people would find me, I have a blog post called How do I send a complaint to LinkedIn. And this is back in 2008 2009, in my windmill networking days, when I was blogging a lot about LinkedIn, and I think I was sort of getting lost in the weeds. But on the other hand, I was just doing it for networking and for knowledge sharing. And I wasn't in the business of social media, yet, I launched my social media strategy consultancy in January of 2010. But for some reason, that blog post just gets a ton of hips. And maybe it's when people think they have a complaint descend on LinkedIn, they literally search that they find the blog post, they find my phone number, and they call me and I get these complaints like I'm gonna have a lawyer contact you and it's okay, I'm not, I'm not affiliated with LinkedIn in any way. Right. But you know, over time, those phone calls have changed. And I, you know, got a random phone call Few days ago from it was actually a doctor, a specialized doctor in a one of the top 20 major metropolitan areas of the United States. I don't think I need to give any more details than that. But I think the story is a normal one. And it is something that I have struggled with that I think a lot of people that work in social media struggle with as well. And it's this, okay, so you know, you're a doctor small business, you've always had a marketing quote, unquote, budget wasn't a lot of money. Sometimes maybe it was for print advertising, right? In a local newspaper, or a local magazine, maybe you had a little bit of money for Pay Per Click ads, perhaps you had money for SEO to get your website to the top. And maybe you even have spent a little money with Yelp, advertising to get your company, you know, near the top. And Yelp, I think has become more and more important for a lot of small businesses out there, including doctors. So for each of these tasks that I mentioned, you pay a certain amount of money a month, perhaps, and you get certain results. You may not even get results, but you feel like you're getting results. Even if people aren't necessarily converting from the paper clicks, you're getting clicks. And you can have someone you can have an Agency report back to you saying yeah, we got you know, 400 clicks and five conversions, whatever it is, right. But you're getting this when you pay Yelp, you know, that you're appearing more prominently and hopefully, that is bringing in more business as well. print ads are things well, I'm right here, you know, I know I'm gonna get exposure in the community. And SEO obviously, is you can write any report on any given keyword and hey, now we're at number one or number two and number three, We've moved up five ranks, what have you. The challenge, though, is with social media, because, you know, over the past five years, obviously social media marketing has become mainstream, and more and more small businesses want to get into the game. And the approach is a similar approach to the way they view all these other tasks. Okay, can you just do social media for me, you know, I got a few $100 a month. And that's it. And obviously, for those listening to the podcast, we know that that is not the world of social in order to be successful. It takes time to, obviously, create relationships develop relationships as a whole content side. And above and beyond that there's sort of a brand new inside that this doctor or this small business has their own culture, their own brand, their own differentiators in the marketplace. So how can someone be expected to speak on their behalf? How can someone be expected to create or curate content on their behalf, that would really fit what they want to do? So my approach has always been company's needs strategy and education. Okay, I will work with you. Let's create a strategy. Let me educate your company. Let's have an onboarding process so I can train your company. And let's keep an ongoing relationship as a social media adviser. That is basically the role that a social media consultant should play because we are consultative. The agency on the other hand says oh, we'll do social media for you. In all honesty, I have always had a problem with that. Now, I realized that large enterprises that work with large agencies already have a they have their own strategies, they have their own playbooks, they go through the training with agencies, and good agencies can do a really, really good job at scale, replicating social media, for certain tasks, you know, we're having an event, we're having a campaign, we don't have the resources to be able to ramp up, we need a lot of manpower, we know what we need to do, we can scale by working through an agency and I get that, but it's the approach of hey, give us a few $100 a month, we'll send out three tweets a day to Facebook posts, and what have you. So this doctor I struggled with, again, because we had the conversation. And obviously, this person is just looking for a quick fix, to throw money at something that they think will be successful. And it's really an interesting debate, which I think there is no answer for. Because on the flip side, okay, if I was a no one, and I wasn't even found on social media, and by having someone post a few tweets, posting a Facebook photo, I suppose it's gonna get a little bit of brand awareness, I'm gonna get on the radar, if someone's doing a search, I may be able to appear. And therefore to give respect to those that are in the business of helping small businesses that $50 a month, $100 month, $200 a month, $500 a month with some cookie cutter approach, perhaps there is value in that that I just do not see, because I am so deep in the business in the industry, that his social media, and that is sort of an approach that I have never taken. Some of you listening may be on the latter side of those that are doing that on behalf of businesses add a few $100 a month, and you have very, very happy customers. I just you know, maybe because I'm a passionate individual, and I want to do the absolute best job possible. I just think that there's an incredible amount of time that goes into crafting a voice crafting content, curating content, engaging, that's a few $100 a month, unless you price yourself very, very inexpensively just would not allow me to do the best job that I could. So is it about lowering my own expectations about my work and doing something that's it is, well, this is the time that you bought, this is the job, oh, you need me to do more tweets, they need to be more relevant, you're gonna have to buy a more custom package. Or is hey, you know, if companies have that perspective of social has been another checklist item of SEO of, you know, pay per click, then yeah, I can do that. So this is something that I present to you in the spirit of being unplugged, and a really opening up my mind to you and the things that I have struggled with as a social media consultant. I think that businesses and agencies and consultants struggle with it as well, because it's not as clear cut, as a lot of small businesses would like to find it to be. And at the end of the day, you know, very, very early in my career, I was doing some blogging and some tweeting on behalf of a company that said, Hey, here's x dollars, just go and do it. And as I had predicted, the relationship ended very, very quickly, because they just, they feel good about saying, Oh, we're doing it now. But then, at the end of the day They said, well, what's the ROI of doing this? And that's sort of the fear I have for a lot of people that do this sort of job as well, as companies that, you know, put money into an effort that really isn't appropriate for getting business value out of a social media presence, I suppose would be the best way to put it. So, hey, those are my thoughts for this week, just based on that phone call that I wanted to share with you. It's a topic that is a very, very interesting one, there's no single right or wrong answer. This is the path that I've chosen. And this is why for some of you, who are thinking of going into business for yourself, and helping other businesses with their social media that's sort of, you know, something that you're going to have to deal with from a personal philosophical as well as a business perspective. But that's the way I see it. And I really hope that this podcast, this particular episode, sparks a conversation amongst you, as to how do you handle this? Have you ever spent money and been satisfied with a company that did social media on your behalf in this way, or, Hey, I'm doing social media in that wave on behalf of a lot of companies. And I think it works. You know, I remember, I was in Scotland, actually, last year, and I met Well, a woman who was considered sort of the queen of social and Scotland and I don't want to go in any more details, because I want to keep this person, I guess you could do a search for Queen of social and Scotland, I don't think she'd show up. But she was literally doing a lot of these small businesses. And as we were having lunch, she was showing me her, you know, her HootSuite, and she was managing basically 30 different accounts. And that was her life. I don't think she had much of a personal life. Because you know, at every moment there was engagement happening or what have you. So, you know, on the flip side, if I'm a business, and I'm paying money, I'm becoming one of those 30 companies that someone else is managing, I just wonder how much TLC can be given. Like I said, if it's SEL, if it's pay per click, there's some science behind it. And while there is a science behind social, it's more about people, and engaging with people, and that really is more of an art than the science. So those are my final thoughts for the podcast. Like I said, I really do hope that you'll reach out to me, give me your thoughts in the subject. It's very, very hard to educate small businesses who don't know better about social media on this subject. In an ideal world, they'd all have resources, someone like myself or another social media consultant will be able to work with them, educate them and get them into a social media workflow, where they can be doing this effectively spending a little bit of time. Unfortunately, not all small businesses are like that. So. So that's the challenge. And I wrote about this a long time ago, you can search on maximize social business for a blog post called the oxymoron of small business, social media marketing, where small businesses want results without a lot of budget. And I think that that oxymoron remains today. And from my heart, I know that small businesses really power the economies of the world, at least of the United States, and I want to help, but this is sort of the divide that prevents me from helping the small businesses that are in a different mindset. And I get back to that habit, a different habits, different ways of thinking about spending budget for marketing. I'm going to stop here, boy, I could talk for a long time about the subject. But I'll stop. Look forward to your comments, your engagement. Reach out to me anything else you want me to cover in the podcast, I'm always all ears. I really appreciate you know, it doesn't happen a lot. But people that sort of tweet out Neil really enjoyed your podcast. It really, really means a lot to me. And I want to thank you all for that. So that's it. And I'm going to get back to my own habit of saying, thanks for listening to another episode of maximize your social wherever you are around the world. Make it a great social Day. Bye Bye, everybody. Thanks for listening to maximize your social. We appreciate your iTunes subscriptions, ratings and comments. If you would like to appear on this show or recommend content, please contact Neal Schaffer at Neal at maximize your social.com make it a social day.