Do You Really Need to be on Facebook?
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Do You Really Need to be on Facebook?

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A friend recently asked me why a small business needs a social media presence. The first question is whether a small business needs a social media presence. The short answer is it depends! More ...

A friend recently asked me why a small business needs a social media presence. The first question is whether a small business needs a social media presence. The short answer is it depends! More specifically, it depends on your marketing objectives and target audience. Let's discuss both.

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Do You Really Need to be on Facebook? Do You Really Need to be on Facebook? Document Transcript

  • DO YOU REALLY NEED TO BE ONFACEBOOK?A friend recently asked me why a small business needs a socialmedia presence. The first question is whether a small businessneeds a social media presence The short answer is it depends! presence.More specifically, it depends on your marketing objectives andtarget audience. Lets discuss both.The ultimate purpose of a marketing initiative is to influence consumer behavior in waysthat accomplish your business goals. What exactly do you want to accomplish? Define accomplishyour goals by listing the result you hope to accomplish. Desired results may include resultsmultiple objectives, including:: • Business production • Brand awareness • Reduce marketing costs • Consumer education • Lead generation • Establish expertise • Specific promotionsNew business production is often difficult to achieve using any strategy. I have spoken ewwith many professionals who do not view social media as a source of new customers. customersThat mirrors my experience. To be fair, I have not found the traditional web ameaningful source new business either. I believe that having a website is now aprerequisite for credibility. I suspect it is often true of Facebook and other social mediasites as well. On the other hand, I know insurance agents, tax specialists and socialmedia vendors who generate significant business through social media.Again, business production is only one of many marketing goals. I recently spoke with anaccount executive at a major brokerage He wants to increase his Internet footprint. His brokerage.assumption is that the odds of a prospect becoming a client are proportional to thenumber of hits when they search his name. The broker wanted to know how many hits"CFO America" generates. The answer was 7.7 million. While nine of the first 10 weremy company, many were not. However, if only 1% is, it far exceeds several regional and .national competitors. That exposure results from an extensive social media effort. It is .also consistent with an April 2010 survey by Michael Stelzner of
  • SocialMediaExaminer.com. He found 85% of participants reported social mediagenerated exposure for their business.Two other marketing goals supported by social media are search engine results and costreduction. I spent $10,000 developing a traditional website. I was promised a "top 3"ranking for the phrase "fractional CFO." While it accomplished its goal, I am still waitingfor the phone to ring! Very few people search that phrase, largely because they do notknow what it means.Could I have used social media to boost search rankings and save money? The Stelznersurvey found 54% of participants thought social media marketing improved their searchrankings. It also found 48% experienced marketing expense reductions. I am now usingblogging, Facebook, Twitter and other sites to educate the small business community onwhat a fractional CFO is and how it can benefit them. Since I cannot afford a nationalprint media campaign, this is the only way I know of to accomplish my goal.The second area to explore in evaluating the need for a social media presence is yourtarget market. The question to ask is where potential customers turn (Internet,newspaper, Yellow Pages, etc.) to learn about your products or services, and businessesthat offer them. The answer is largely dependent on customer demographics like age,education, income level, gender and so on. The statistics are easily summarized.If your marketing "sweet spot" lies in young, educated, and/or high-incomeconsumers, you need social media. Using Facebooks active U.S. users as a proxy forall of social media, 80% are under age 45, 66% have at least some college education, and67% have incomes over $50,000. U.S. active Facebook users (like many social mediasites) exhibit a bias in favor of women. However, on a worldwide basis, Facebook hasslightly more men than women. Visit www.alexa.com to find matches for your targetmarket.Does your business need a social media presence?That is a key marketing question, one you must ultimately decide on your own. I hopeyou will base your decision on an objective analysis of your marketing goals and targetaudience. I now end by confessing the obvious. I love social media marketing! I amexcited about the possibilities it offers small and medium-sized businesses tocommunicate their message across a wide spectrum of prospects.Having said that, it is difficult to conceive of goals and audience demographics that arenot supported by social media marketing. It is impossible to conceive of a more cost-effective strategy. © 2012 by Dale R. Schmeltzle 2
  • About the author: Dale R. Schmeltzle, CPA is a founding partner of CFO America, professionalconsultants dedicated to helping business owners define, implement and monitor the strategic andtactical elements necessary to achieve long-term financial and operational success. CFO Americaprovides fractional or part-time executive management expertise not available on an in-house basis.Dale is a frequent speaker for numerous professional, civic and non-profit groups. He wrote HighlyVisible Marketing, 115 Low-cost Ways to avoid Market Obscurity. He has also taught college levelaccounting and financial courses to non-business audiences. For more information, please visithttp://www.CFOAmerica.biz or follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CFOAmerica. Consulting CFOs & Executive Managers 3