I have been busy. I haven’t posted for a long time. I need a shot in the arm to make me post, and I got it today when I read Julie Brooks' post on StreetFight titled “Why Mom-and-Pops will no longer pay for “Social Media Management” .
In the article, Julie advises that Very Small Businesses (VSBs) should not waste their time on Social Media Management. She says: "My blanket recommendation is that they spend one to two hours a week on social media and use an application such as HootSuite to schedule posts to multiple channels. If they have a reasonably tech savvy employee who they’re already paying to do other offline communications, it certainly makes sense to handle social media this way."
She also says that hiring out social does not work because it's too hard to get content from small businesses.
I agree that it is a very difficult proposition to “sell social services” to VSBs and be authentic, timely and engaging. This is why some companies cannot offer a DIFM (Do It For Me) type service. On the other hand, I think we can all agree that most VSBs, at least initially, can’t and won’t be able to effectively use a DIY (Do it Yourself) solution like Hootsuite. They have neither the time, nor inclination nor knowledge.
This is why, as a commenter stated, you need to provide a service that teaches them how to use social over time. Social channels are just like any other media channel. People will not engage a TV or Radio station that plays only commercials – yet this is exactly what many VSBs do when they attempt social. The solution advertisers need to provide must be DIWM (Do It With Me).
Lastly, I'd like to remind people that social media has many forms. It is not just “Facebook and Twitter”. There are many things that make up a business' social footprint, including their website (mobile and/or responsive), blog, review sites like Yelp and Google+, listing sites, directory sites, local sites, mobile apps, Instagram, consumer complaint sites, etc.. All of these places allow consumers to voice an opinion of the VSB; how will they fare if they do not monitor, manage and build their online reputation?
The key is for a VSB is to start monitoring and understanding what folks are saying about them. Their brand is no longer what they say it is – it is what their customers say it is.