At risk of “aging” myself as a business owner, I feel I need to start this out by saying: “Back in the day, when I began my business, there was no such thing as Twitter! Facebook wasn’t even a twinkle in Mark’s eye! And the fact is, most people were hardly on the internet, much less using it as a search tool for finding a service provider or restaurant!”
There, now I said it. I “out-ed” myself. And so you can imagine the craziness that I have watched unfold before my eyes as businesses everywhere have opted to have their own web presence, Facebook business pages, Instragram feeds, Pinterest accounts (I don’t even know what the heck that is!) and they’re even tweeting! But the big question I have to ask is: Why?
Why are they on Pinterest? Why are they posting pics to Instagram? And why oh why are they tweeting?
And here’s the problem: When I ask this question of many business owners, the reply that I hear is, “Because so-and-so said I ‘had’ to be or else I wouldn’t get any business.”
And you know what? I think that’s just bumpkus.
(Which is a fancy word for bullshit.)
There is not a single social media platform out there that you HAVE to be on to generate business. Not one.
Wise marketing is not about “have to’s.” Wise marketing is about doing what makes sense for you, your brand, and your clients.
Let’s look at some examples.
If your ideal client is men with prostate cancer, then you need to BE where men with prostate cancer ARE so that they can find you. That is what would make sense. When you look at the demographics of men with prostate cancer, are they typically scrolling Pinterest? Not likely.
So a wise marketer would not be spending either time or money on a Pinterest campaign in this case. In fact, being on social media at all is arguable in this situation, unless your advertisements are directed at the children of men with prostate cancer, who perhaps ARE on Facebook…but that’s a different stream of marketing altogether and would likely represent a secondary marketing effort which can come later. (Read: when the money is flowing and business is booming and you’re bringing in a new team member to help with the overflow…you get where I am going with that.)
If your customers are professional women in their mid-forties with busy lives and demanding work schedules, one could make an argument for the use of Twitter as it has been shown that CEOs enjoy the “quick bites” that Twitter provides. Being on Facebook, however, may not be at all necessary. And what about LinkedIn in this case? In all likelihood, your ideal client has a presence on LinkedIn but is she using it? Is she active in the groups and reading the Pulse each day? I would say you’ve a better chance of finding her there than on Pinterest, that’s for sure, and I would suggest it’s a pretty good fit overall.
I’ve nothing against social media in any way — I use it myself for both work and pleasure — but I have seen so many business owners wasting valuable resources on complicated social media campaigns that they simply DO NOT NEED.
So before you race out and begin to Pin or Tweet or Post, take time to ensure it’s all part of a wise marketing strategy. Make certain that the clients you are trying to reach are even THERE. And then make certain that whatever it is you’re going to do fits with who you are — and your brand.
If your brand is about engaging relationships and developing connections with others, then you should contemplate social media platforms that encourage deeper connection like LinkedIn (which is far “deeper” than Pinterest for example.)
And if the very idea of tweeting anything at all has you personally feeling nauseated, then in my opinion, it is not the best marketing tool for you (because if you aren’t feeling it, that’s bound to come across even in those 160 characters!)
Any marketing strategy needs to be exactly that: a strategy. It needs to be thought-out and thought-through, and if ever you hear someone say you just “have to” be on Twitter or SnapChat or whatever else, allow yourself time to think that over. Are your customers there? Does it align with your brand? Do you feel good about being there? And let the answers to those questions help drive your decision about where to place your valuable time and money.
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Rebecca Liston helps her clients predict, pivot, and compete in an increasingly complex global marketplace. Her clients quickly uncover the root of their challenges and know the actions to take to overcome them. A six-time nominee for the RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Award, Rebecca combines business strategy with intuition, giving her clients the edge on forward-thinking, elegant answers to their most complicated problems. Her clients are entrepreneurs with CEO-mindsets and executives with entrepreneurial instincts. She is based in London, Ontario. What if you could get the answer to your biggest business challenge, in one sitting? Visit rebeccaliston.com to find out more.