3 simple questions to determine if Social Media is right for your small business

I’ve read and been told that all the metrics to measure social media results are in place. Maybe… but it seems to me you need a couple of experts and a stats department to interpret those metrics. To small businesses, it’s a lot more like alchemy; you really have to believe and be satisfied with the occasional glimpse of something shiny.

According to the 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report from Social Media Examiner, 90% of marketers indicate that social media is important for their business. I don’t doubt its importance. I think that other than the large OTA’s that may have more insight, retail travel as a rule has a hunch that it works but simply doesn’t know how to measure it … simply!

I subsequently read an article on a recent MarketingProfs posting where writer Nichole Kelly, of Full Frontal ROI, does a great synopsis with “5 Tips to Prove that Social Media Matters”. Nicole’s first tip, as far as I’m concerned, is all most of us need to know unless you have that stats department I mentioned.

That is… “Social media isn’t a shiny new thing that needs to be measured in a “special” way. Trying to create special metrics for social media makes it far too complicated for “non-social media folks” to understand. If you want to get to the core of where social media is delivering value, translate its impact on sales (units), revenue, and costs to the organization. If you can’t measure social media’s impact on sales and revenue yet, you definitely can measure its impact on cost. Start there and build your way into the revenue model.”

Like most things, the KISS principle stands. To evaluate your Social Media plan, set yourself a timeline to determine if it costs more than what it generates. It’s a relatively new marketing tool that has yet to mature so give yourself a generous deadline.

Once you reach the deadline, evaluate the results by asking yourself these 3 simple questions:

  1. Are any of my colleagues doing this well? Research their tactics and see what works for them and critically analyze if this would work for your business.
  2. Should I hire someone to manage this? Weigh out the pros and cons, also consider control and industry knowledge.
  3. Is it the right tool to reach my clients? Heads up on this one, most agents will tell you NO up-front because it’s easy and saves you work, time and money. Fact is, you haven’t got a clue what your clients want. Did you know that there are still agents out there who believe their clients don’t want to hear from them on email? They think the clients will consider it SPAM. It’s a wonder they are comfortable with the phone!

You simply can’t write off social media because you don’t understand it or because you don’t want to deal with it. Unfortunately, many small business agencies are not giving this the college try.

Are you? Let me know what seems to be working for you.

Cheers
Frank

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