"Ignorance is bliss"
Verge Pipe Media has business relationships all around the world. We're immersed in digital technology; but we also realize that what seems like a no-brainer "best practice" to us, may be a radical and intimidating break from the norm for many business owners.
You see: we're proudly headquartered in Auburn, Alabama, a town known more for football than claims to the Fortune 500. We love our position within the community - the opportunity and potential - and we insist that our door always be open to our neighbors.
Based on many recent conversations, business owners see the changing tide but have absolutely no idea how to approach Facebook, Twitter, targeted PPC ad campaigns or mobile advertising for their business (we've hyperlinked to some excellent, free Hubspot resources on these subjects).
"Old habits die hard"
So, despite intuition and access to numerous reports (here, here, here, here and here...) outlining the power of social media and waning significance of traditional marketing, small business owners - our friends and neighbors - still feel compelled to spend their limited advertising budgets on television, radio and print.
Social media gets relegated to the part-timer, the intern or - worse yet - the owner's 17 year-old; and when this approach fails to show results, business owners point to the test run as evidence of social media's ineffectiveness or inability to produce ROI.
Setting aside scientific research 101 (flawed methodology, yields flawed results) and our usual counter-argument, we thought we'd simply turn the podium over to these "by-default" community mangers: interns! We asked a few of our newly minted Imagineers here at Verge Pipe Media to give us a breakdown on social media from the business perspective, having spent only a few weeks peeking under the hood of all that is possible:
"By now, small businesses have heard the buzz around social media and feel pressure to participate; but just showing up to the party only to stand in the corner may get you made fun of. So how do you engage? Yes, the ideal intern does have hard work ethic, creativity, and outside-the-box thinking, but that is only half the battle… Coming in, new interns are - at best - familiar with your brand (and if you have ever had the pleasure of taking on interns, you know solid familiarity is a tall order). While they may know their way around social media, they are not qualified to talk about your company with any detail. You can forget about them being able to respond to disgruntled customers or answering detailed questions about your product (which all happen on social media channels). Corporate social media demands much more than you can pick up from managing a personal page. An intern may have a few ideas on how to communicate thoughts creatively and they surely know how to use Facebook, probably better than you. However, when it comes to SEO, analysis, metrics, worst case scenarios, company protocol, CRM, and measuring success, they are as lost as a 4-year-old at Disneyland." - Micah Whitehead
"An amateur posts a Facebook status and hopes for the best. We take the same Facebook status and squeeze every last drop of utility out of it. We then analyze what worked and what didn’t work until we have tailored your perfect social media strategy. I’ve learned that when dealing with these platforms, you should either go hard or go home. There’s no room for in between." - Brittany Gibson
As mentioned above, there are many fantastic resources out there for small business owners, but education is only the first step. When you're ready to go hard and execute: we're here to help.