Dear Small Business Owner: Social Media Does Not Generate Overnight Results

Oxymoron of Social Media ROI

Read this awesome article from Neal Schaffer of Windmill Networking. What he calls an oxymoron I will call “unrealistic expectations.” Small business social media marketing is broken (or nonexistent), and the reason is that small business owners (along with a majority of medium-sized business owners, large business owners, corporations, not-for-profits and NGOs, governmental agencies, etc) think social is the next great marketing platform. No. Take your marketing hat off.

Small businesses have less money to spend on marketing, on their awareness and visibility strategy, but they need those dollars to have an oversized effect on their bottom line. NOW. Small businesses just have less wiggle room than large corporations. Eventually, when the small business owner realizes that it will require their time and heart to make this work, social lands at the bottom of the totem pole, right below doing the books for the month. That is not where it belongs.

I know social media consultants that will promise results in three months, a certain number of followers, and the like. It’s completely foolish, but it gets them the job. Then you’re delivering rubbish on rubbish. I love Neal’s article because it is brutally honest. I try to be equally as honest with clients, possibly to my detriment. Social is not a quick-fix. It’s not a way to move a bunch of old product today. It’s just not like that. Once you have a committed group of followers, it can be used in such a way. But not at first.

Neal also points out that Social Media ROI goes beyond a simple metric or two. Done correctly, it’s going to positively affect your entire organization. Think of it this way: we seek more than money at our jobs. We seek camaraderie and fulfillment. What are the kinds of things companies do to keep employees happy and engaged? Summer softball? An amazing off-site training session? A worthwhile company-wide charitable endeavor? Yes, things like that. Then the company uses social media to share photography and stories from those events and many more, and we all feel just a little more like a family. And I stay instead of quitting. Steven Hawking will start calculating the ROI on my decision right away.

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  • http://windmillnetworking.com/ nealschaffer

    Thanks Chris! An honor to be featured in your blog. I believe there are a lot of us who see the same thing. Not to say that small businesses can’t be successful at social media, but it definitely requires an education – and vision.

    • http://twitter.com/RizzoTees Chris Reimer

      Thank YOU Neal. Great article you wrote…

  • http://twitter.com/judsonfsnell judson f. snell

    Where I think many clients and agencies really miss the plot is that social media is just that: media. And beware of anything that comes for cheap – it’s a fickle mistress that, simply because it’s had some lightening-in-a-bottle success stories, has many middle-managing marketer types convinced it will happen for their particular widget factory.

    The best social media campaigns are usually not social media campaigns at all, generally they funnel back to a more strategic, integrated and long-term vision that is the result of equal parts clarivoyant planning and plain old dumb luck.

  • http://twitter.com/judsonfsnell judson f. snell

    Where I think many clients and agencies really miss the plot is that social media is just that: media. And beware of anything that comes for cheap – it’s a fickle mistress that, simply because it’s had some lightening-in-a-bottle success stories, has many middle-managing marketer types convinced it will happen for their particular widget factory.

    The best social media campaigns are usually not social media campaigns at all, generally they funnel back to a more strategic, integrated and long-term vision that is the result of equal parts clarivoyant planning and plain old dumb luck.

    • http://www.rizzotees.com/ Chris @ Rizzo Tees

      Thanks for stopping by Judson.

      I’m actually preparing a blog post where I’m going to propose changing the name of social media to just “social.” I see a problem where companies think they can just fire off marketing messages and not actually engage in any conversations. I see many individuals that think they can just sit at their computer all day and tweet and Facebook post and hope that good things happen. Social means just that – face-to-face is a must. The word media confuses because it immediately triggers thoughts of social media and the same types of “campaigns.” Social is clearly unconventional, so it requires an unconventional approach.

  • http://twitter.com/judsonfsnell judson f. snell

    Where I think many clients and agencies really miss the plot is that social media is just that: media. And beware of anything that comes for cheap – it’s a fickle mistress that, simply because it’s had some lightening-in-a-bottle success stories, has many middle-managing marketer types convinced it will happen for their particular widget factory.

    The best social media campaigns are usually not social media campaigns at all, generally they funnel back to a more strategic, integrated and long-term vision that is the result of equal parts clarivoyant planning and plain old dumb luck.

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  • http://www.bant-shirts.com BanTshirts

    “Doing” social media is seen by some businesses as some kind of magic button to get extra sales. But it’s really just about communicating with people using a different kind of platform (rather than face to face, phone, etc). It’s just expanding your contacts and getting to know them better.

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