How much time do you spend on social media every week? Are you constantly checking back between your emails to see if someone commented or liked your post? Are you looking for another chemical hit to make your brain happy? Did you know a ‘like’ can have the same result as a hug or a quick win on a slot machine? It’s addictive, and here to stay.
But, does it make you money, build brand awareness or are we just wanting to be liked more in a bigger social world?
I have been thinking about this a lot of late. I’m investing all this time, but is it helping me grow my business or just a cycle I’m now stuck in, conditioned like some teenage angst listening to REM’s ‘Everybody Hurts’ every time I load up Twitter and I only have one ‘like’?
“Social media is a waste of time, I’m far too busy” I often hear.
Using social media to help your business is not free, as you either pay with your time or your money. Well, time is money after all. Does a sponsored post even get you the result you wanted? You need to ensure you spend your time and money wisely.
I guess part of the problem is that some people do not have a plan. Many people simply sign up because it’s ‘the thing you do these days’. Great, you’re on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat…. How are they going to help your business grow and make more money?
What is your strategy for social media? What’s your ultimate goal? For some it’s to connect locally. For others, it may be to learn new skills, promote their new products or service. For my wife is seems to be to be kept up to date with your favourite celebrity on Facebook Live, putting on some lippy in a London cab on their way to the Loose Women studio.
I have invested a lot of time into social media. For me it has helped to connect with many different people from all kinds of places. It has helped my personal development to learn new skills and find inspiration. Because of social media I was on a TV advert, am followed by a few ‘celebrity’ business heroes and have found that by helping others it helps build my business too. It’s a great tool when used well but it’s about balance. The right amount of time and focus to engage, learn and be inspired but not too much that you’re suddenly watching two blokes fighting in the street in Croydon or one of thousand cat videos that trend their own hashtag.
I love social media but sometimes feel I need a holiday for a while. I get distracted by what others are up to, the latest Adobe update or just simply loading up a new browser window to do some work and then 43 minutes later remember what I originally opened it for.
As a teenager, I always liked to hang out at parties until the end, worried I’d miss the action. It’s the same with social media sometimes. It must be a nightmare for kids these days when the school day doesn’t finish after school, but becoming a digital feed of who said what about who and deciding on the tone of a message from an admirer that simply says ‘Ok’.
What about print?
When it comes to marketing your business people often think it’s all about digital these days. Certainly, there has been a huge shift this way but print is being redefined, very much like the return of vinyl.
“I advertised with that magazine a couple of times but not sure I got many leads”
Consistent and regular advertising helps to create awareness of your business and potential customers will become familiar with your brand. This in turn will result in building trust in your company and lead to new customers.
5 reasons why print is the ideal medium for you to grow your business:
Print is a physical medium, meaning it can stay around for longer while internet ads and emails are more disposable.
Print is a great way to solidify your brand. Ads should carry a consistent look to them in terms of fonts, colours and imagery to establish greater recognition. Recognition brings a sense of familiarity which makes potential customers more inclined to purchase from you.
Printed media often carries a greater sense of legitimacy due to the over saturation of online display advertising, which can be overwhelming for the audience.
With more and more businesses moving to advertising solely on the internet, print media now has an easier job in finding its voice and cutting through the noise.
Consumers are more engaged when reading printed material than they are on the web, where pages are skimmed in as little as 15 seconds. In short, people are more likely to fully take in what you are saying.
Studies have suggested that print advertising is the most cost-effective form of marketing with a higher return on investment than most digital media. In fact, 76% of small businesses state that their ideal marketing mix is a combination of print and digital communications.
(Pitney Bowes Survey/Choose Print)
“Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark.
You know what you are doing but nobody else does.”
Steuart Henderson Britt
There are two main reasons why we advertise...
1. to get more customers
and if you have enough customers...
2. keep your name and brand at the top.
Name a burger outlet? McDonalds right? Why do they need to advertise?
Advertising is an investment, it takes time to be recognised, to be trusted. Don’t expect overnight success unless you are giving it all away for free. Adverts go from being seen, to liked, to trusted. Only when you are trusted will they buy. Any advertising is effective, if it’s in a magazine, the side of your van, or on social media. The more people see your name, the quicker they will trust you.
"I advertise on Facebook”. Great, we do too. It’s another affordable method of getting your name out there. As social media has taken off, so has the noise and challenge to be heard. It's about striking a balance and different ways to been seen by your audience. Not everyone is on social media and sometimes something printed, tangible that you can refer to has a place, especially locally.
How much should I spend on advertising ?
How long is a piece of string? In a nutshell about 5% of your gross income to stand still, and 10% if you want to expand quickly. It varies to the size and type of business you are in. This percentage should cover marketing as well, which advertising is part of it.
How about your time networking?
I have run a successful business networking group for nearly 7 years now, alongside my design business. I never intended to start a group, I just found after 8 months of entering the arena that there were ways it could be tweaked.
We have had hundreds of people as guests over the years. Some come every month, some every other and some that come a few times a year. Without having a membership, it creates a perfect blend of regulars and new faces.
Is getting up at 6am or trekking across the county a productive use of your time out of the office?
“I tried that networking group, I got nothing out of it”
That’s right, they tried and gave up. You showed up, people met you for the first time, then you never came back. It takes time. People need to warm to you and your business. Play the long game, because unless you’re offering a crazy deal then people might not be bothered. In my experience, far too many people take one on at a time and when that doesn’t work they jump to another.
In conclusion, is social media, advertising and networking worth our time and money.
The answer to this is yes. It depends on your business sector and strategy and objectives for each.
Too many people are fixated on the quick win that they forget that advertising, social media and networking are all about building awareness of your brand as much as the long-term goal of making that sale.
Ultimately social media, good design, branding and networking share one thing – investment.
All build brand awareness, trust and relationships. It is about adopting an integrated approach, to spin many plates that help craft the best version of your business.
Has writing this been a waste of time and money? I guess I’ll have to find out.
In the meantime, I have that deadline to meet!
Let me know what you think with a comment below.
I help people & businesses to market themselves more effectively online, offline & face-to-face. If you think I can help you then get in touch.
Check out our Somerset networking group here.
Further reading: Guardian: Has dopamine got us hooked on tech?
Images from pexels.com