Despite digital dominance, fear of social media remains throughout the business to business environment.
For many reasons some companies still lack an adequate social media presence in a world where Twitter handles and Facebook pages can outrank websites in Google search. Reasons are abundant for this continued absence but typically fall on three reasons- A lack of control, lack of time, and lack of concrete return on investment. In the summer of 2015, I was brought on to the PRO Expo Exhibits team to fix and expand their online identity. After years of hesitancy mixed with a busy workforce, the decision was made to satisfy current client and branding expectations. Statistics show over 3 quarters of all consumers, regardless of B2B or B2C will search a brand online before even considering a purchase. What did potential clients find when they searched PRO Expo in 2015? Most likely the same things I found last spring. Over the last year we have devoted great time, creative energy and some funds on creating a better brand experience. They owed it to their amazing clients for their dedication on the show floor. Most importantly, I learned re-branding was owed to the great staff at PRO Expo to showcase how hard each individual works to keep a rather hectic industry in focus.
There were fears. Uncertainty roamed through the conference room. Questions were asked how much time would each objective take, and could we deliver. Above all, the three questions posed above remained on everyone’s mind.
A lack of control
Even today, brands will have fear about putting their livelihood on social media. More so in the B2B sector where buying decisions are not necessarily made by a beautiful Pinterest photo. All of the work done to create an honest reputation goes to the wolves where anyone can write anything on your wall. Or maybe a competitor would get ideas. The only certainty about uncertainty is you cannot predict for what does not exist. Social media is entirely under a brand’s control. Comments can be responded too, your voice is dictated by the employees or agency, and management gets final approval of every word published. If anything social media grants the business a way to tell the greatest story of all, their own!
A lack of time
Employee’s today are stretched for time at unprecedented levels. Technology has made the way we do business much faster, and expectations must be met. Social media is not something that can be done as an afterthought to a busy day. Every day is a busy day in that sense. Instead, a company should look for ways to create highly engaging content without breaking their clocks or budget. Reserving only a half a day can lead to months of content if cards are played right. Take lots of photos and use them one-by-one for the next few weeks. Have one person check your physical accounts each day. Use instant messaging services to deliver ‘of the moment’ content from one employee to the next. You don’t ‘do’ social media, you facilitate relationships digitally. The old rule of quality over quantity win’s here. Keeping a few high quality posts consistently goes farther than spamming out poor, unplanned content in spits and sprinkles.
A lack of tangible ROI
While PRO Expo decided to bring someone on the team for this role that does not mean every company has to. The great thing about social media is that it’s free. Yes to achieve quick results you must ‘pay to play’ through advertising, but there are many ways to win the race with penny’s on the dollar. Invest in a good camera; utilize your current smart phone plan and rock your digital digest! Instagram is a quick and free way to showcase your photos. Services like Canva offer powerful graphic creation for free, while Hootsuite can keep you on top with the basics for nothing more than your email. It’s important to have realistic expectations as well. If you’re a brand going from zero to sixty on the news feed, you won’t see physical dollars come to your mailbox. Brand awareness takes time in a world full of digital competition. Define your ROI on what you want to accomplish with each social media post, and take it one at a time. Brand awareness? Ecommerce? More foot traffic to a brick and mortar? Without clear goals from day one, you will be sitting months later unsure of your next direction.
Not having social media in 2016 raises more eyebrow’s than having even the poorest of social media channels. Potential clients expect a human factor behind every brand, concrete examples of work performed, and an adequate array of contact information. Whether a consumer or sales director, your brand won’t be given a chance if it cannot be found. Less than a year ago, PRO Expo Exhibits was nearly invisible across the digital landscape. Today they are a thought leader across the trade show industry, but only due to consistency, thrift, and a willingness to try new things.
Where will your brand be twelve months from now?