For Businesses-Should You Use Social Media Or Not

Often it’s said that it is super cheap to start a business these days.  That’s correct.  But, sometimes it’s a lot harder to acquire customers.  There is just so much noise.

Avinash Kaushik is a data driven marketer.  He has done it for huge companies, and has done it for his own consulting company.  His recent blogpost is How To Suck At Social Media: An Indispensable Guide For Businesses.

I’d encourage anyone that is thinking about marketing as it pertains to their business to read it.

Avinash shows you how to quantify and measure what your business is doing on the social media web.  This is so important because even though it costs nothing to be on social media, doing it isn’t free.  There is an opportunity cost to the time spent.

Being on social media is so enticing-because things can spread fast and there are so many users.  But, I find is most businesses use social media as a megaphone.  They stand on their soap box and shout like carnival barkers.

Social media is really about adding value, connecting to customers, and listening.

I have been thinking about this for a long time, but I never really could come up with a way to quantify what I was thinking.  Avinash changed that.  Here are some metrics to look at when you start to try and interact with customers on the social media web

Conversation Rate (CoR) is a ratio of comments per post (or video or tweet or pin etc.) to overall Followers (or Page Likes). Is what you are saying interesting enough to spark the most social of all things: a conversation?

Amplification Rate (AmR) is the ratio of shares (or retweets or repins etc.) per post to overall Followers (or Page Likes). Is what you are saying so incredible and of value that I’ll stamp my brand on it and forward it to everyone I know?

Applause Rate (ApR) is the ratio of favorites (or post likes or +1s or hearts etc.) per post to overall Followers (or Page Likes). Do I think the content you’ve posted is interesting, even if I won’t bless it with my stamp and forward it on?

Economic Value (EcV) is the value of short and long-term revenue and cost savings. Do we make any money from being on Social Networks?

It is important to remember that you are listening and interacting.  The goal is to get the customer to the part of the web that you can take the next step with them. Maybe it’s to drive an in person meeting via call, text or email.  Maybe it’s to get them to your web page so they can order.  Maybe it’s to get them to find a list of local stores where they can get your product.  The process is not passive, it’s active.

I think that B2B businesses often shun the social web.  Maybe they should and maybe they shouldn’t.  One of the companies my daughter worked with early in her career wanted to sell tools for autobody repair.  This is a big market, but highly focused and specialized.  They found that YouTube was an excellent channel.  They got a lot of interaction there.

In many B2B businesses, correct use of social media can make your company the authoritative voice and standard bearer.  That increases the value of your brand and reputation which helps you build your business.

It’s clear that consumer products should be somewhere on the social web.  It’s not so clear about B2B businesses-but I think everyone should have a strategic discussion to think about it.  As social media matures, I think that B2B will increase and sharpen their presence.  The ones that are there and utilize social media correctly will beat the ones that ignore it.