I had a conversation recently with a business owner who was skeptical about what social media could add to his bottom line. We’d been discussing his website, but when the topic of social media came up, he suddenly lost interest.
In fact, he was pretty sure that social media wouldn’t help his bottom line at all! And in his case, he was probably right. His comfort level with social media was very low. And it’s likely that social media wouldn’t be very beneficial for his company because of that.
Lots of organizations do use social media and other online marketing platforms to generate revenue. But every platform is not a good fit for every organization!
Want to know if social media could be helpful for your organization’s bottom line?
First, you need to examine four key elements for any social media platform you consider using.
1 – Audience
Does the audience of the platform match your target audience? If your target audience is CEOs, you might be better off on LinkedIn rather than Facebook.
2 – Capabilities
Do the capabilities the platform offers match your organization’s needs? For example, some platforms are very image-heavy. If your organization has strict confidentiality concerns, those platforms may not be great for you.
3 – Culture
How closely does the platform’s culture match your organization’s internal culture? If the platform is extremely formal, and your company culture is informal, it may not be a good match.
4 – Comfort Level
This one gets overlooked by a lot of experts, but it can have a huge impact. Even if a platform is a great fit for all the other elements, if you’re extremely uncomfortable using it, it won’t be effective for you. The learning curve will be too steep, and your time will probably be best spent somewhere else.
The second thing you need to do is give the social media platform time to work, and have goals so that you know if it worked or not.
Come up with a deadline. It should be at least three to six months into the future. Then decide what business goal you want to accomplish during that time period. Establish online milestones that tie back to that business goal. Block out time on your calendar to work toward those milestones.
Finally, execute on a consistent basis!
Your business goal may not look like the goals of other organizations. A home builder might just need one home per quarter sold as a result of his online marketing to make his investment worth it. An insurance office may just need one additional referral partner every six months. A software development company may just need one job a year that’s a direct result of their online marketing.
If the platform you’ve tested out doesn’t help you meet your goals, it’s time to make changes or move on!
And those aren’t just abstract examples. All three of those examples come from clients of ours who use their online marketing to start conversations and kick off the sales process.
So can social media actually generate dollars for your organization? The answer is, it depends. It definitely can for some organizations, but only you can decide if it will be a good use of time for yours.