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How Ignoring Social Media Can Actually Hurt Your Business

In our modern digital age it’s hard to believe, but some businesses still hesitate to embrace social media as a marketing and brand-awareness platform. Most often, companies who were thriving and successful prior to the advent of Social Media are still holding onto outdated methods of marketing. They won’t take into consideration just how influential social media has become for consumers. It happens every so often in the business marketing world, and there are always those that are slow to adapt. Print eventually bowed to Radio… Radio to TV… and now, they all have to share the market-space with Social Media. It’s not the end of an era, but the beginning of an exciting (not to mention much less expensive) one.

If you are one of “those” who are still not fully convinced of why, and how, social media can be a major benefit to your business, here are a few reasons why NOT using it can harm you:

  1. People won’t know how great your business is without stepping through your door.You’ve done an amazing job of building a small group of loyal returning patrons, but how do you share their loyalty to the rest of the community? How do you create testimonials? In what way do you share how satisfied they are with others? (Hint: the answer rhymes with Shmocial Shmedia)
  2. It isn’t easy to spread the word about new products or services. How do you do it now? Sandwich board on the sidewalk… 8-1/2×11 sheet of paper on the door… planned pitch when they walk in the door? Not only is Social Media a great platform for this, you can actually get a pulse on how well something may perform in-store based on customer’s online response.
  3. You are not aware of what customers are saying about you online. (and they are talking!) Let’s be honest, people are going to talk about your business online (Facebook, Yelp, etc.), it’s simply a modern day truth. And let’s also be honest about the fact that regardless of how perfect and nice you are, there is always going to be that one person who becomes that horribly negative squeaky wheel. Without a presence of your own… how can you respond? Or even KNOW what they are saying!
  4. You don’t have a way to engage with your target audience when they are away from the store. You’re a social butterfly and love to create rapport with your customers when they stop in… and that’s awesome! Question: how do you continue that engagement once they’ve left? (Hint: this answer also rhymes with Shmocial Shmedia)
  5. You’re less likely to know what your competition is doing. Let’s cut through the crap, your competition is amassing a powerful social media strategy and you’re not. They are monitoring their competition (they see your bad reviews before you do), speak directly to their customer base (and yours) in their homes, tell consumers why their products are better, and are launching new super-awesome sales right under your nose… and you don’t even know it.
  6. Traditional advertising (Print, Radio, TV) is MUCH more expensive than marketing on Social Media. The “go to” forms of advertising and marketing absolutely have their place in the world. However, for most small businesses the budget required for a well-performing campaign is outlandish. The reach is too broad, and the money necessary (ad buys, production, etc.) is way too much! Plus, consumer trust in traditional advertising is low. Social Media is free, or minimal if you choose to advertise, and it’s engaging with the customers instead of speaking at them.
  7. In a crisis, the lack of social media presence can be devastating! Anyone that has been in business for a length of time can tell you, it’s simply a matter of when… not if. It can be as impactful as your main product line having a massive recall, or as minor as your internet goes down and you can’t process credit cards for 3 days. Maybe it’s a power-outage. An armed robbery. Pipe bursts and floods the store. Public Relations nightmare. The possibilities are nearly endless. Companies that successfully fight-back against the sea of angry voices do it through social media! Inform your customer base about what’s going on, educate the public about your other products if one goes bad, notify all of your fans that you’ll be open regardless of the power outage… whatever the message, the people who love you and your brand won’t be able to hear it without the power of social media!!!

Hi, I’m Travis Ford, owner of Rock Harbor Marketing, a Digital Marketing Agency on California’s Central Coast. I welcome opinions, helpful critiques and comments of admiration. Leave me a comment here, Follow us on Facebook, or tweet me and we can chat further. As always… I like to end each post with the pledge of allegiance, so find a flag and let’s stand!

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