By Michael Stahl
Today’s business owners have to ask themselves the social media question. It’s a question, like all those they have to ask regarding their business, of investment. “Where do I put my money and how much do I spend?” Surely, there are plenty of entrepreneurs who understand the importance, creative possibilities, and potential scope of a quality social media marketing initiative. However, there are many who do not, especially if they are already overseeing an established business, or have experienced plenty of prior success and are embarking on a new venture. These folks have been there and done that, and didn’t feel so inclined to tweet about it.
And, no, I don’t just mean old people.
The social media question is, thus, an even larger moat to cross for the social media managers than it is for the business owners themselves, for we have the burden of proof. We have to provide the answer. They just have to fill out the check…or not.
In many cases, providing numbers, graphs, and analytics to the prospective client could be called for. It all depends on their background. This is something you need to feel out. Try and understand what will impress them most. If they’re tech-savvy and have been around the Facebook block before, then have some charts prepared. Present your evidence.
My general impression is that the majority of people getting into the social media game as managers and strategists shoot first with analytics. I get that. Our work is incredibly difficult to quantify. How many hours do we put in? How many possible patrons are we reaching really? So why not have some raw statistics to back you up?
With all that said, if you’re in a pitch meeting with a prospective client who doesn’t know a tweet from a twerk, you might only overwhelm them with information they won’t understand anyway, their checkbook no closer to being unveiled. In such instances, take a stripped down, simple approach. Old school business owners might be more inclined to go with their gut. So, establish trust. Get to know their business and find out what aspects of it they might be most proud of. Then, try to explain to them how easy it is for a social media manager to instantly present those great things about their business to a massive audience. Discuss what you the social media manager can control, like your own creative tidings, or the potential tone of your posts on behalf of the business, so crucial in establishing a brand. In the process, you’ll be developing a professional bond with them that analytics could never cultivate.
There’s no established, general right or wrong answer to the social media question. It varies from potential client to potential client. You have to find the fitting formula, a concoction of the correct measurements of statistics and personality. This demands that you be savvy, far beyond your ability to use Twitter shorthand, optimizing the 140-character space in which we all work. Fortunately, I predict, we won’t have to try so hard in the future, as more and more business owners familiarize themselves with the significance, concepts, and costs of a social media presence.
Michael Stahl is a journalist, social media manager & strategist. Hailing from Astoria, New York, his articles and essays have appeared in several online and print publications. He is currently accepting new social media clients, so if you’d like to procure his services, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter too @MichaelRStahl.