I heard a social media expert recently telling a group of small business retailers that they should pay his company to run their special media program for them. His pitch was compelling. He had lots of success stories, I was impressed as were many who were at the presentation. He made it sound easy, that using social media for your business could be automated.
The pitch was cleverly preying on people in the audience not understanding social media, it was leveraging their ignorance to have them pay for an outcome without understanding the process.
Whether you use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ or other social media platforms, the most valuable voice your online presence has is your voice.
You can’t pay someone to speak for you, certainly not a service provider business that spends an hour a month or less on your business.
Unfortunately we there are many consultancy businesses and service providers offering to run social media for small businesses including newsagencies. Some I have looked at are clueless. Others are lazy. Others use technology to automate updates. In each case, your voice is lost, the tweets, Facebook posts and Pinterest pins are not from you and as such are removed from who you are and what you stand for.
You or a trusted long-term employee are the best people to speak for your business through social media.
Using a social media consultancy would be like paying someone else to mingle with your customers or paying for an automated posting service would be like using a robot to do this for you. neither case works for small business. Small retail businesses like newsagencies are personal. Our tweets need to be personal. Our Facebook posts need to be personal. This can only happen if you control it.
Yes it is time consuming and time is a resource you probably lack. However, if you want the best outcome you want the best person on the job. That’s you or a trusted colleague. You can’t contract out someone else as the voice for your business.
The social media expert I heard speak recently claimed that automated posts were the way to go, ignoring that good social media engagement is conversations, many conversations. Conversations rely on humans on both sides actively engaged with each other.
My advice to small business newsagents of social media is to speak for yourself. Take small steps. Find your voice. Speak for your own business by talking about what matters to you and your customers. You don’t need to pay someone to do this for you.
For more reading on this, check out: Sunday newsagency marketing tip: use social media for a conversation.