Business: Startup to IPO, Marketing Today

Social Media Debate: Worth it, or better left aside?


social-media-marketing-icons

Opening Statement:

Social media gives us the opportunity to turn our company into a person; an authentic, real person with a voice, and an opinion; a heart, and a conscience. Because of platforms like Facebook and Twitter, we can talk to our customers as people ~ we can learn what they’re interested in, hear what they have to say, and even help them if they’re having problems. Not only that, but by interacting in a public, social space, we can show others what kind of “person” our company is; what we represent and what we stand for.

Today, we have this amazing chance to be able to back up what we say, with actions that can be seen.

Entrepreneurs start their companies for a reason. I started my business, Non-Scents Flowers, because I learned that flowers weren’t allowed in Transplant, Oncology, or Intensive Care Units of hospitals because they’re actually a risk to the patients’ health.

Today, I sell handmade, sustainably made, paper flower bouquets with custom messages held by each flower. However, that’s only the top layer of what we do; the rest of WHAT we do is related to WHY we do it.

Sure, I want to sell my Non-Scents Flowers’ bouquet for people who can’t, or don’t want to, receive traditional live flowers, but I want to do more; I want to make people smile, to uplift people who are struggling through difficult times; I want to spark creativity and innovation, and encourage people to connect more with one another.

Social media allows me to strive towards all of those things, and convey that message to a global audience of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest users.

Instead of simply posting product photos, I can help educate people on the dangers of live-flowers for certain individuals, I can share events that are happening to support children’s cancer and blood disorders research. Not only that, I can give people examples and encourage them to get creative with their own arrangements, I can connect people who benefit from sharing their stories with one another, and I can get the message out, not by shouting at people and disrupting them, but by offering them the ability to be a part of a community, a tribe as Seth Godin calls it, and being a helpful resource.

Through the continuous relationships we’re able to have with our customers on social media, more than 40% of our customers are return customers and choose us for every gift giving occasion.

Because of social media, companies don’t meet their customers at the beginning of the discovery process, we meet them at the end. Many times, consumers have already done their own research and made up their minds about us before even speaking to a company representative ~ statistics show that

– A social media presence more than doubles the probability that a consumer will continue to research your company through your website.

– The average Facebook user has 130 friends. Therefore, every like you receive gives you the opportunity to be seen by an additional 130 people. So, 20 likes = 2,600 eyeballs

Today, social media is a platform that none of us can afford to ignore. While it’s not going to grow you a magic beanstalk to the golden goose, without social media, you’re destined to be left out of the conversation, and forgotten.

Rebuttal to Time & Money Argument:

Consider marketing in theory; an organization’s marketing budget is commonly a percentage of your projected annual sales (with a few additional math equations that we won’t get into today). Ask yourself, as a small business owner, entrepreneur, or aspiring entrepreneur, “What would my annual sales be for year 1, year 2, year 3, even year 4?”. Write that number down and quickly calculate what ten or twelve percent of that number would be.

Now, consider these averages:

The cost of a direct mailing campaign in the U.S. is going to run about $50 per order, not including postage.

To advertise in a magazine, plan to spend between $500 (for local publications) and $20,000 (distributed nationally), and then triple that since you’ll want that to run at least three consecutive months for a decent ROI.

For an Adwords campaign, your cost per click (CPC) will be between $1 and $2 but can inflate to $50 or $60 PER CLICK depending on the words you choose. In general, these campaigns have a 2.7% conversion rate.

These methods are some of today’s ‘traditional’ marketing and advertising outlets that publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Inc. Magazine, support as viable channels that should be part of your marketing strategy.

Look at your number, can you afford about $16,000 a year for advertising purposes in Year 1?

Without outside funding, I’d find it hard to believe that any of us could.

Now, let’s consider some statistics behind social media:

Customers who see a brand on social media are 180% more likely to organically search for the brand online

92% of marketers who work with small businesses agree that social media is crucial to marketing efforts

70% of small businesses see an ROI from social media presence

Source.

The cost for all of this is about 6 hours of your time per week, if you’re keeping up with averages. Is this something you can afford?

Stay tuned for later posts with more in-depth statistics and analysis of the questions asked during the debate. As always, feel free to comment with questions and I’ll do my best to answer all of them!

If you’d like, you can Tweet your questions at me and be sure to follow my personal Twitter handle @BettaBeYou

Cheers!

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