Last week I discussed changing the way you market your business to stay in line with the changing ways customers find suppliers or trades. One particular comment that came in via email got me thinking about small business marketing and how we approach it.
The mail came from a builder based on Cornwall who said: “I get that I need a website and an email address that matches, but I don’t want all that Facetube stuff. There’s nothing in it for me”.
I have to say that I agree.
There is no doubt that social media marketing is incredibly powerful and can widen your market reach by an order of magnitude. Yet it isn’t for everyone. Neither is it as shiny and as magical as many marketing agencies make it out to be.
A successful social media campaign depends on several things. A lively business with plenty to say, a good long term marketing strategy, the organisation or budget to commit to such a strategy and most importantly, a receptive digital audience. All things many small businesses neither have nor need.
Let’s take our builder as an example. The construction industry is huge and always has something going on. Yet by his own admission, he mainly does house extensions, renovations and exterior weatherproofing. How much original, interesting content could you generate from that? Some, especially if we were doing it, but not enough to warrant a social media marketing campaign.
Most importantly, do you think the average builder’s audience really cares about the construction industry at large? No, which leaves only what the builder in question is doing at the time. While this might fill a Tweet or two, it isn’t a social media marketing campaign by any stretch of the imagination.
Retweeting other people’s tweets or Facebook entries is all very well, but any good marketer will tell you that rehashing other people’s work has to comprise less than 10% of any social media marketing strategy. The rest has to be all your own, (or our) work. The average small business simply doesn’t have enough going to do that.
It would work fine for an events company, a Cornish holiday cottage, hotel, or other lively enterprise, but for the average business it simply wouldn’t work.
So where does this leave our builder? Well it saves him spending money on marketing that won’t work for starters. It allows him to figure out what’s important to his customers and frees him to spend time on building a trustworthy brand and working with us to deliver a website, brand image, a blog, testimonials and a portfolio. All things that matter to a small business of this type.
Successful marketing isn’t always about jumping onto the latest bandwagon and going with it. It’s about figuring out the target audience. What do they want? What are they looking for? What stops them working with your business? What are the barriers that stop them calling you? It’s those questions that need answering in a good marketing campaign.
If that marketing campaign uses social media in the mix then all well and good. It is a powerful medium after all and we would always advocate using it. But, only if your audience is likely to benefit. Otherwise you’re much better off saving your money.