Is investing in Social Media really worth the time, money and effort?

This is a question we often get asked – “is investing in social media really worth the time, money and effort?”  This is a key question that every small business owner should be asking. In a highly competitive world, is it a good strategy? Let’s explore this question together with real-life examples of small businesses who decided to take the plunge into the wonderful world of #SocialMedia.

As so often is the case, many business owners we meet are family focused people, who are also extremely busy and at the same time value and want to keep their privacy. To many, Social Media is the exact place they DO NOT want to invest their time in. But, times have changed and it’s exactly the place we all should be investing considerable resources into for their business. Let me show you why:

Several years ago we were approached by a local Orthodontist who was struggling with a low intake of new patients. His traditional lead funnel was quality referrals from other Dentists. However, more and more of them were getting into cosmetic dentistry themselves and despite being one of the leading practitioners in the area, that model was just not working any longer. When we first did our discovery session, it was very clear why they were the right choice, but how to let people know that?

Their local Google search at the time was terrible! – Page 7 for certain keywords! Strategy time! We set about building a new responsive (mobile friendly) website and engaging their target market on the social platforms where their potential patients spent their time. With a combination of contests, consistent posting, great reviews and an excellent blog we were able to turn them totally around. Now when people use Google for phrases such as Braces Surrey they come right up there on the all important Page 1 search organically – IE Not paid! See for your yourself. Suffice to say business is significantly back on track with a constant stream of new patients looking for the best smile in town!

pacific west dental post strategy

Recently we had a similar scenario with a US client in Alabama. A very established Home Security company, that for many years had enjoyed all of their new business come via personal referrals. But of late, they’d seen a marked decline in new leads and they needed a new marketing strategy and fast! Through our discovery session, we learned so much about the ethics and qualities of this business that were just not being told online. In local search they were virtually invisible!

We set to building them their own website, rather than just being part of a dealer network site. But good websites take time to get right, so in the interim, we started getting their message out on Social Media. We created a Facebook advertising campaign hitting the exact demographic of the kind of people they knew they could serve so very well. Almost Immediately, we started getting comments from existing customers liking their posts and writing amazing testimonials about their work and this was all unsolicited! By the time their website was launched, they had created a new community of almost 1000 good local  Southern people who were loving their posts and pictures. Of course by the time the website was launched they were hungry for more!

We also made sure the website was mobile friendly. We’re seeing over 50% of local search come through mobile these days. Within a month of launching with a consistent and targeted approach to education, engagement and entertaining their target audience,  they’ve already hired another estimator and technician as their phones are ringing off the hook!

Did you know Google now penalizes Wesbites that are NOT mobile friendly?

We all know that people want to do business with people who they Know, Like & Trust. We also know they’re hungry for unbiased education, and at the same time often spend quality time on their favourite social platforms for leisure and entertainment – so meet them where they’re at and be their choice of viewing and the wikipedia of your Industry!. Sure, they may not need your services right this very minute but when they do – who are they going to call? That’s the art of saying top of mind!

Everyone loves a great story. When people understand your WHY – the reason you’re in business, that driving passion that makes you an Entrepreneur – they’ll love you for it with their loyal support and use of your services.

A perfect example is the newly opened Salt Wellness Centre in South Surrey, British Columbia. They had experienced many delay’s in getting their brand-new facility open and were on a back heel with their business plan. Their website was live and the soft opening had happened. They needed to break out with a big splash but without a big budget. Their website designer reached out to us to help. Getting to know clients is key to us.  Getting into their very DNA is how we can best help them tell their story – so their target audience can engage with them on a P2P level – person to person.

“Why did you start this business?” An obvious question  – but the answer, we were not prepared for. The owner had tragically lost her husband in an MVA while she was 8 months pregnant with their second child. She sought alternative healing to overcome the almost insurmountable feeling of loss. She found it in Floating and Salt Therapy, and decided to build the very best healing centre she could – That was it! That was her why and the story everyone needed to hearThis is the absolute power of blogging! Obviously this was a very sensitive subject, but we wrote the story honestly and without a woe-is-me angle. We then simply posted a link with a brief comment on their Facebook business page  – the results were off the scale!!

Believe me – you cannot buy this kind of reach and neither should you – honest, open communication always trumps. Suffice to say, their bookings after this post have already  sky-rocketed and she’ll have more margin to invest in future posts and promotions.

Creating community channels is key – whether you’re a large corporation or a one man show – people love to feel important and appreciated. One of our longest client relationships is still growing despite having 100% occupancy and a waiting list! They realize the value of going daily to the ABM – Always Be Marketing! Their Social community is almost 6000 strong and growing weekly

To end there is one facet of marketing that we must still focus on that is hyper important – and that is the email inbox! We must always be building our database – that all-important list of current, past and potential customers. We find that high quality, educational e-newsletters work brilliantly when done well and consistently.

Elite Kitchens is a custom Kitchen and cabinet millwork shop in Langley BC – there are 16 other shops in their local area! How do you differentiate yourself? Communication is the answer! We actually manage their entire marketing across multiple platforms, and produce their quarterly newsletters. The information behind the posts come from the owner and his amazing wife  – who is the ultimate homemaker & organizer. We gained permission from their clients from over 20 years of business and attract new readers daily – we have multiple calls to action throughout their site. The Newsletters are timely to the season with great tips and inspirational designs  – they are seeing outstanding opening rates – and keeping themselves top of mind is paying back hugely in showroom traffic!

An interesting facet with this  and so many of our clients, is their willingness to invest in an agency rather than try and do it all themselves. They know that they just do not have the time or skill to be great social media and online marketing professionals – so they’re more than happy and willing to invest in our services.

It’s always a question of do you have more time or money? If you have more time then do it yourself! There’s lots of workshops and online resources that can help you. But if your business is restricting your time, maybe it’s time to reach out and find an agency who understand what it takes to attract both people and Google and are willing to listen, learn and help you tell your story. And if you don’t have the budget just yet, it’s well worth considering a loan to help you invest in today’s technology before your competition does! Kabbage is an interesting option for small business loans that offers more flexibility than traditional lenders, so funds can be applied towards marketing when needed.

So is investing in Social Media worth you time, money and effort? We think so! We’d love to hear your success stories of how the time you’ve invested in Social Media has paid off.

Jonathan

Chief Imagination Officer at We Make Stuff Happen
Jonathan Christian is the creator of We Make Stuff Happen, a unique Canadian based Consulting Agency, helping businesses and non-profits internationally tell their story online and on land. Over the years, Jonathan has worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs helping them learn and leverage their story with massive success.

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