I get a lot of requests from various businesses saying, “We’re behind on our social media, and we need help.” A lot of these calls for help are coming from people with small businesses, so today I want to discuss some of the options that are available for you, such as working with consultants, agencies, and virtual assistants. We know that social media requires its own set of skills, so it’s important to be willing to dedicate the time to educate and the money to get you access to resources that can help take your business to the next level.
[02:20] The Business of Social Media
[03:13] The Challenges That Businesses Have with Social
[07:27] Where Do I Fit In the Challenges?
[07:35] Services I Offer
[10:05] Why I've Been Doing Social Media Consulting
[11:21] The Reality of Social Media Consulting
[12:16] My Response to Businesses Reaching Out to Me
[13:12] My Philosophy on the Business of Social Media
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, founder of maximize social business, the Social Media Center of Excellence, and social tools Summit, Neal Schaffer. Hey, everybody, this is Neal Schaffer, welcome to a another episode of maximize your Social, I'm coming to you from my home office in beautiful Orange County, California. But tomorrow, I am going out to the social media strategies summit in Las Vegas, where I will be actually doing the closing keynote on future proofing your social media, it's going to be all new content. First time delivering, I always like to challenge myself at big events to take my own presentations to the next level. So if any of you are in Vegas, I hope you'll stop by and say hi, and I hope you enjoy the presentation as well. So let's get to today's topic. You know, I promised you on last week's podcast that I was going to do the part two of my social selling part one being about creating the infrastructure, my apologies, and I do intend to do it in the near future. There's just so many things going on in social media, that there's always something great to talk about no lack of topics here, which is why this I believe, if I'm not mistaken, is already episode number 97. Is that crazy? Have you listened to all 97? My episodes, I don't know how many of you have because I didn't really do a good job of promoting them at the beginning. But anyway, we're revving up the content marketing machine and doing better promoting them. Because I do believe there is a lot of great content out there, that is still relevant today. So let's talk about today's topic. And like I said, social selling, we're gonna come back to it, there's another topic that I want to create a separate podcast for which is guest blogging, I got a very, very interesting email from one of my partners, or I should say marketing partners about some very, very interesting data, some very, very specific, hard ROI data from some guest blogging that I did on their behalf. And I wanted to share that with you along with the philosophy of guest blogging that I have, because I run a guest blogging site, in essence, where I also blog called maximize social business. But today, we're going to switch gears a little bit. And I want to talk about the business of social media. I might have talked about this in an earlier podcast, but it still bears reminding for some of you who are listening to this. Now I know a lot of you listening to this, are social media experts yourselves, you own your own agencies, your small business owner, maybe some of your virtual assistants, some of you may be doing corporate social media, I know that there's a wide range of listeners to this podcast. But I want to take a step back. And I want to explain to you the challenges that businesses have with social and I guess for the purpose of this podcast, I'm gonna be talking mainly about small businesses who are not quite there yet with this social media, and what I offer and what are the various solutions that are out there. And I urge you all after you listeners to chime in commenting on maximize your social.com if you are a provider of one of these services, or if you have a different perspective. So let's keep going on the topic. And it happens quite a bit. I obviously speak about social media, I have a blog about social media have this podcast, and therefore, I get a lot of inbound leads. Now, some of these inbound leads are from large corporations, some are for speaking, some are for consulting. So I always get a few that basically say, We're behind with our social media, we need help. And inevitably, it's probably a smaller business, I'm going to assume less than 10 employees, I might be wrong. You know, the stat that I like to give when I talk about social is that 93 94% of companies are already using social media for marketing in the United States in 2014. And there's an asterisk, and the asterisk is companies that have over 100 employees. Well, what about the companies that don't have over 100 employees, they're a little bit slower, right? They lack the resources, the education, whatever it might be, they're a little bit late to the party. And unfortunately, they're probably the ones who need social media the most and have the most to gain from it, especially if they don't have a lot of brand awareness and your target market. But I digress. Let's get back to the topic. So getting back to the people who basically say, I need help with my social media, can you help? It's obviously for those of you who get social, it's obviously a very, very hard question to answer. You know, social media is not like SEO, or web design where it's purely technical. It's not like an ad campaign where here's some money, send me some creatives I'll prove one and send me the leads or, you know, if it's just print or you may not have leads, just show me the magazines after you publish them. And it's obviously very different because it requires messaging requires a lot of messaging. I mean, even if you were to do a month worth of tweets, there's still you know, however many 10s of tweets that need to be create did need to be kind of individualized customized for each company, their products, their target market, their branding. And it really does, you know that that messaging really goes deep into who you are, what you know what type of company you are, what is your brand about. And that's really the hard thing, you can hire people, right. And there's a lot of companies out there from consultants, single person shops, to agencies that will take your money, some are better than others, some will try to utilize best practices, try to go the extra mile, try to, you know, have meetings with you confirm what you want, send everything for your pre approval, others will like well, you know, here a few $100 a month you pay me, I will do it all for you. And, and maybe we'll report back to you, and maybe those reports will have some meaning, I don't know. So you have just a range of different opportunities out there. Right. You obviously also have in addition to you know, single person shops and social media agencies, these are ones that offer sort of, you know, monthly Social Media Management, let's put it that way. Almost like checkbox will send out one tweet a day one Facebook post a week, and you know, order the plan that's just right for you. Hope I sounded salesy there. On the other hand, you know, agencies, it'll be sort of more of a custom plan based on budget and what your needs are. And then you have, you know, virtual assistants, I know a lot of really, really savvy, virtual assistants that really get social media, they already have a system in place. And maybe they're not all doing it personally, because they scale and they have, you know, employees overseas, or whoever it might be, they have a system in place, they do it for other clients, they can also provide you a great service, but that's going to be charged maybe by the hour instead of one of these social media management services, which is probably going to be the cheapest way for you to do it. But obviously, the quality is going to be a little bit less with a virtual assistant or, you know, virtual social media system, whatever you want to call them, you're going to get a lot more touch by that person. And therefore, probably the quality is going to be a little bit better unless you're working with an agency where you have a dedicated account rep, but for a lot of the small businesses that you know, reach out to me with a question, I really doubt that they are working with larger agencies, because probably their budget simply is not enough. You know, most agencies, I know would would want a few $1,000 A month over the course of a three to, you know, at the bare minimum three months, but you know, six, or even 12 month commitments or retainer, to do business with them. So with that in mind, you see the challenges now where do I fit in? I am not an agency. And you know, maybe some of you don't know exactly what I do outside of my speaking and how I handle my consulting, it really comes down to are you an SME or small, medium sized enterprise, or you know, SMB, where you want to spend time where you want to learn where you want to create, you know, starting with an audit, a full blown strategy, where we work together for some time. Or are you someone that says, I want to do it myself, I have a resource, I can teach the resource, let me pay you, you know, whatever for your time they start an hourly thing, let's work together for a day afterwards, when I need your coffee, that's, so you have the social media consulting, which is working with the larger businesses, you have the social media coaching, which is working with the smaller businesses, which is primarily sort of an hourly thing. But the unifying aspect of both of these is, I only work with companies that are willing to invest some time in educating themselves and wanting to do it themselves, or at least managing the process themselves. So that they can manage the people that they hire, whether it be internally, whether it be a family member, in some cases, or whether they end up outsourcing it externally. And this is, you know, it gets back to the oxymoron of small business social media marketing. And why I ended up not working with a lot of small businesses who even don't want to pay an hourly rate that I feel my the value that I add is worth, because they want immediate results, immediate ROI without a large budget. And as you know, social media requires time takes time to create relationships with people, it requires a little bit of money, even if you wanted to work with some of these very, very inexpensive starting out, you know, $120 a month or whatever it might be very, very inexpensive social media management services. That may do you more of a disservice when a service but I digress. It's going to require money and it's going to require time, I don't care how little money it is. It requires a different mindset than just saying, hey, I want you to set up a website, hey, I want you to do some printouts, hey, I want you to do a, you know, a pay per click campaign or SEO. It is fundamentally different. Now, some small businesses may not treat it fundamentally different. And they're the ones that end up spending money over several months, then thinking wow, we haven't seen any benefits from doing this. What are we doing? We have a few 100 Twitter followers 100 or 200 Facebook fans, what's the meaning of all this? We haven't seen any business generated from all this? Why are we doing this? So you get the feeling that it's obviously very different and that is really the challenge of the business and social media. It's a challenge for you know some of you who are live Listening and hopefully an audience that are experts, as many people consider it to be, is you obviously need to make a living. And people can't scale. So if you hire people go to agency route, you need to be able to charge a decent amount in order to be able to scale as a human being right? If you go to consultant route, well, you need to be able to get paid what you're worth, and you're probably worth a lot more than what a lot of businesses are willing to pay you. And this, this is the challenge. And this is why now, some of you, you know, I meet a lot of social media consultants, I started my social media consultancy in January of 2010. I just celebrated my five year anniversary. And I've been doing, you know, social media blogging since July of 2008 been going to a lot of networking meetings, meaning a lot of people that are in the field. And I tell you, I think this is one of the reasons why a lot of them simply don't last, unless you get to the top echelon, well, unless you start your own agency, it's one thing and you're successful doing that, unless you get to a top echelon where you can charge enough and get enough because you're out there, you're you're working with larger companies, and I've been, I've had the benefit. And the honor of being able to do that. You're able to last for many, they say their consultants, they may have a brand put up a website, but then six months later, just hey, I just I just started working in substance company, as you know, social media manager, I love it. And it's like, Wait, weren't you a consultant and, and that's, that's really where a lot of the reality is very few. last a long time. I remember meeting up with a joke because these were not related by blood. But I we often call each other cousins, Mark Schaefer, who hopefully some of you know that, well, the dollar Twitter, he's written a few books on, you know, ROI, return on influence, and what have you. And we both teach as part of the Rutgers University Social Media Marketing Program. And when I happened to meet up with him once, by chance, because we were speaking back to back and finally had a chance to meet him, like in real life and have a few minute conversation with him. He's remarkable. Yeah, there aren't that many of us left out here that have been doing it this long. And that's the reason unless you're, you know, hooked up with a major publisher and do a lot of speaking, maybe teaching at a university, it really as hard. So it gets back to the challenge of this business, that is social media, or the business of social business, if you want to look at it that way. And the challenges. So you know, my reply to when these businesses reach out to me is, hey, it's one you know, one of three ways, do a Google for social media management services, blindly throw the money, hopefully, you'll find some good look for a virtual system. I know a lot of great ones, I'm more than happy to make an introduction, if that's what you want. And I have given some of my my friends have gotten introductions from me, and hopefully they've made business from them. And otherwise, hey, you probably do not have a budget for a full blown social media audit, social media strategy consulting, let me walk you through the process, spend a few hours with me, and then hire someone knowing that you'll be able to manage them, and you'll be able to let them know what you need done. And it's going to be better both for that person, that assistant working under you, as well as for you. And you will be able to be in control of your strategy and your ROI not and for those people who say, hey, buy a copy of maximize your social, you may be so competent, that this that it's like, Hey, I'm gonna try doing it myself. And that's great. You know, my, my philosophy and all this on the business of social media. And I like to refer to my good friend, Michael Q. Todd, out of Tokyo, Japan, the guy with the green hair on Twitter. He has his own brand. And he has several brands, but one of his brands is called Abundance marketing. And I love that term, because there really is no competition. I know that some potential competitors are listening to this podcast, maybe you're taking notes, maybe you're learning from it, and it's helping your business. And that's great. I love it. I love helping people, even if you're in the same industry, because you know what? It comes down at the end of the day to relationships? Who are the customers that you have? What relationships do you have with them? Because if I don't have a relationship with them, and you do, I'm not going to get the business anyway, doesn't really matter. Right? So with that concept of abundance, marketing, there really is no competition, which is why I'm more than happy to give away all this advice. And maybe in the future, you know, you'll want to join Social Media Center of Excellence. You'll want to pay money for one of my webinars, or you'll want to see me speak because you value my advice. And that's great, right? So there really is no competition. And that's why no matter what the final customer decides to do. You know, many of you know that I learned my business etiquette and work ethic in Japan, where I worked for 15 years after I graduated from Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts. And I was primarily doing sales, especially in Japan. And in Japanese or in Japan, they say, oh, Keck, some of our old summer, customers came and it really is that way in Japan. And that's the way I feel even if you don't pay me money, that the relationship we have as a potential customer. It's all about you and where you want to go. And there's plenty of business out there for everyone. So if that's the direction you want to go great, if I would have helped you along, that's good karma. The bank account of karma, right? And if you know me from my old windmill networking days, you know, that's what I'm about. So that's it. That is the business of social media. And wherever you are, whether you provide a service, or whether you're on the other side, and you've been unsuccessful looking for social media help, it's very, very hard to get engagement from a podcast, obviously. So I really hope you'll tweet out at me, when you see the podcast live on maximize your social.com you write a comment if you provide a service, Hey, throw it down. If you need social media help throw it down there. Let's start a conversation. Let's get it go. And let's try to help as many people whether you're a service provider, or someone looking for social media help out there. And hopefully that'll become a resource as time goes by. Hey, that's it for another episode of maximize your social. I'm heading out to Vegas, I'm gonna meet some great people out there. Hope to have some interviews for future weeks of this podcast. But until then, wherever you are in the world in whatever timezone in whatever country speaking whatever language make it a great social Day. Bye Bye, everybody. Thanks for listening to maximize your social. We appreciate all of 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 Please also make sure to check out Neil's new community, the Social Media Center of Excellence at social media ce o e.com. As well as Neil's first social media event, the social tools Summit, which will be in Boston on May 12. Thanks again and make it a social day.