Client attraction. Business growth. Pretty profits.
Only 22% of small to medium businesses in Australia had a social media presence in 2010 (Neilsen) meaning there is a large competitive advantage available for those willing to embrace it.
Whenever I talk to small business owners however they are often concerned about negative comments, decreasing employee productivity, return on investment and content control.
Comments such as “my employees waste so much time on Facebook” or “what if someone says something bad” or “I haven’t got time for it” are common. And let’s face it; some of their concerns are justified. After all, has anyone forgotten the Domino’s YouTube clip?
While it is essential to monitor and respond to the negative comments, increase productivity and return on investment, I’d like to focus on content control and potentially wayward employee efforts. As entrepreneurs and business owners we have to be proactive in minimising social media risks not simply snub opportunities presented to us.
In house methods (non outsourcing) you can adopt include:
- Nil social media presence (although I don’t recommend that)
- Establishing the presence yourself (not efficient and definitely ineffective if you aren’t marketing and online oriented)
- Establishing social media guidelines and delegating the task to a social media savvy employee.
You can probably guess which option I encourage you to pursue. Don’t be fearful of delegating to the twenty something year old in your office who understands online marketing. Just put some guidelines in place and regularly discuss your vision with him/her. Have a look here for social media policy examples. Ask employees for their ideas too.
Before choosing an employee to represent your brand, look at their personal online reputation. They shouldn’t be posting anything that would put off clients. Are their values in line with the business? If the answer is no, keeping looking for an appropriate employee.
Likewise, focus on establishing an appropriate culture within your business. Employees should post as if the business was their own and they were managing its reputation. You need to have a trusting relationship with the employee so you know they represent your best interests.
All in all, social media is worth the initial stumbling blocks and ongoing effort. Embrace everything social media has to offer your business and you will leap to the front of the pack. Don’t be left in the dust.