After several years of supporting business owners with their marketing efforts, it has become clear to me what is required to ensure success when implementing a digital marketing strategy. It is so clear, that I have even been able to confidently craft a statement about who we help here at Green Umbrella.
We help businesses that lack the time, enthusiasm, or courage to promote themselves online.
Every single client I have worked with since I joined the business in 2013 has struggled with one or more, of those things. Some with all three. For that reason, it seems poignant for me to not only commit to saying that if you don't have these three things in place you will minimise the success of your online marketing efforts, but also break them down to explain what I mean by each.
I don't have time for social media
If you're like me, every second of your day counts. And so does that of the people in your team, so the idea of squeezing in enough time to produce a daily tweet seems insurmountable. Many business owners see social as being a beast – a full-time job in itself. And it can be! But, it doesn't have to be if you're focused and only spend time where and when it counts. As your business and presence grow, and you are seeing benefit from it then, yes, you can start to consider bringing extra resource to allow you to manage your online presence in-house. But think of that as a marathon – right now let's aim for achieving brisk walking status!
I am constantly being asked how much time I think businesses need to manage their online presence (or the individual elements of it). Realistically, I could return the question by asking how long a piece of string was! It is very much dependent on how committed you are to your presence, how many social media platforms you are choosing to manage, what content you intend to produce (and how often), whether you're incorporating email marketing, and whether you are going to outsource any or all of the above!
The time you spend on social media needs to be purposeful – not a few minutes or an afternoon that has been randomly out aside because you haven't posted for three months. You need a strategy, you need a method, and you need to protect the time to implement these things if you want to see success.
I don't like Facebook, I don't get Twitter, Instagram's just for kids
The person responsible for managing your presence should have two great loves in their working life. One is your brand, the other is social media.
In a face to face situation, it's hard to represent a brand you're not enthusiastic about. How do you find the words to describe a brand you don't care about when you're trying to create positive emotions in the hearts and minds of others? It's a tall order! As a business owner, you need to be focused on engaging your teams as employees. But the person that represents your business online and makes it stand out from the crowd – you need their engagement to reach a higher level. They need to have their nose in everything your business is doing and be excited about the prospect of sharing your stories online.
If that person also loves social – they'll know the best ways of communicating those stories, and they won't feel like logging in to Facebook or Twitter is a chore. It will then also not be something that gets pushed to the bottom of their to-do list or seen as something that is a low priority. They'll be focused on proving the value of social and therefore engaged in creating success from it.
I just don't know what to post, what if I offend someone? What if I embarrass myself?
This is probably the biggest barrier we see – even from those who are enthusiastic and do have the time! There is a risk with sharing your opinion publicly. But if you do, you can invite and engage in conversations that will seriously increase the exposure of your brand. We need to get over the fear, the overthinking, the block that is created in these businesses.
If you don't know what to post, then listen to the conversations going on around you in person and online. If you're nervous of voicing opinion, then don't. Pose questions instead and curate opinion.
Our clients know their audiences better than we ever will. When they tell us how much they like the content we're producing for them, I find it amusing, they more often than not gave us the base for the post initially!
So time, enthusiasm and courage. Three key requirements for success when it comes to your digital marketing efforts. It's not that you can't succeed on social without all three, it's just that without one of these key components you'll be making the battle that bit harder and your progress that much slower.