As someone who has managed social media pages for dozens of small businesses, I take pride in increasing the number of likes and followers on a company page. Every new like grows your online community and means further reach for your message. That is my take, as someone who lives and breathes social networking. The real question though is, what do small business owners think? Do likes and follows bring value to their operation? The answer, in my experience, is quite simple. No.
Is it worth it?
I have yet to meet a small business owner who enjoys having likes on Facebook just for the fun of it. What they are looking for is more sales, sign ups, traffic or whatever else brings in revenue. If Facebook is not sending them traffic or new customers, then it is just not worth it. Don’t get me wrong, an active Facebook page or Twitter account can be very valuable to the business. Though again, if it is not adding to the bottom line, then most small business owners won’t see value in it.
Measuring the value of social media
Social networks are great platforms to reach people. Because that is where people are. Billions in fact. The key though is bringing those people from Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to your business’ website or e-commerce store. Like we mentioned before, the key is driving traffic and attracting new customers. There are a number of ways to track these things, including some free online tools. These tools range from Google Analytics which is Google’s world-class platform for measuring your website traffic all the way to Bit.ly which is a site that lets you shorten links but also track the number of clicks on them. Both these free tools can help you track traffic from your social networks to your client’s site. Social Media Examiner published a piece recently on how to use bit.ly to split test your Twitter marketing. It is worth reading and trying. Google Analytics also has a whole section geared towards measuring the impact of your social networks. It is worth using.
Social media is only part of the game
It is also critical to keep in mind that social media marketing is only part of the game. No matter how successful you play the social media game, if your client’s website or e-store is badly designed and misleading, then all the traffic in the world won’t help. Even the most active of Facebook pages won’t bring in new orders. That is a fact. Nothing illustrates this better then the “Google Analytics in Real Life” videos put out by Google. Watch and enjoy: