Is Social Media a Priority for Your Small Business or Nonprofit?

Is Social Media a Priority for Your Small Business or Nonprofit? image 8335233141 a5f828209f 300x225Is Social Media a Priority?This whole thing of digital marketing, how much of a priority is it for you and your business and organization? And when I talk about digital marketing, I’m talking about everything related to social media, blogging, and more. I’m talking about your entire online presence and how it connects to your offline presence.

The other day I had a discussion with a friend who is struggling with blogging and managing social media for his small business. He understands why blogging is important. He understands the benefits of a strong online social and digital strategy. He sees the benefits of doing all of this first hand.

But there’s one problem: he’s only one man. He is a small business owner with only a few employees. He already works long hours, and has a family. Finding time to do his social media and blogging isn’t easy when he has to work with customers on a regular basis, and take care of all other aspects of the business. It’s a lot of work to keep a small business going. Both time and money come at a premium.

I get it. I really do. I’m a small business owner myself. But it all comes down to what level of importance you assign to your overall online presence and strategy. If you think it’s important; if you know it has value, you will find time. This particular individual has spent a lot of time on social media lately, but for more personal reasons. He has been very active on Facebook lately as a result of his involvement in a local situation. It’s a political hot button issue in which he has invested a lot of time as an activist, both in meetings and online. Why? Because it’s something about which he is passionate.

So, if your passionate about something, you’ll find the time for it. Right? I know people who work 12 or 14 hour days and when they get home they go for a run, or a bike ride. Perhaps they’ll work on some sort of craft or attend a sporting event or concert. Why? Because they are passionate about those things.

Need I say more?

And how about your employees? One of the toughest things that any of my clients has to do is get buy-in from all the folks who work for them. I think this is typical of many small businesses or nonprofits. The business or organization jumps into a social media program with a full strategy in place, but only one thing is missing: the employees. In some cases, the employees might not even use social media. In other cases, they aren’t even aware of what you are doing.

Recently over on Spin Sucks, Gini Dietrich wrote a post about How Communicators Should Work with Difficult Executives. In the comments, one reader said that Gini should broach the subject of getting buy in from difficult employees, i.e. getting sales staff to buy into using social tools as a way of increasing the bottom line. While I’m pretty sure Gini will follow up and tackle that subject on her own blog, it was something I’d been thinking about as well.

Social media has changed. We’ve moved from social media as some sort of add on that we do when we have the time, to being more of a necessity. Having a strong, fully integrated online presence which consists of a website, blog, and various social properties is becoming increasingly important in a world where most people are conducting business online, and smartphone adoption is increasing.

So is social media a priority?

If it is, it shouldn’t just be a matter of suggesting to your employees that they be active on social channels in hopes that they jump on board. Why not make it a requirement?

If you get some sort of new software solution in house, don’t you bring in someone to train your employees and require them all to get on board? If you work in a business where certain types of training are either suggested or required, don’t you pay for your employees to get the proper training and certification?

My daughter is a preschool teacher. Throughout the year her school pays for her to go to a number of different training workshops and seminars in order to keep up with the latest trends in education, as well as for various types of certification. I teach several classes that are part of a certificate program in social media marketing at a local college. It’s a continuing education program and a number of the students in my class are there because their employers are paying their way, and have asked them to attend these classes.

Is social media a priority for your business? Are we not at a point where we can go beyond suggesting to perhaps requiring some of our employees to get on board? Why not send some of them to get training, or hire a consultant to come in and work with your staff to make sure they are on board and are aware of what you are doing online? That’s the kind of service that I offer my clients, and I’m sure there are consultants or colleges in most areas that offer that type of thing.

You can require your employees to have different types of training if you make it a part of their job. And remember, once you get into social media, it IS a part of your job. It’s not just an extracurricular activity. That kind of thinking needs to stop.

If you believe in social media, and you understand how important a strong online presence can be for your small business or nonprofit organization, then by all means, do whatever you have to in order to make it successful.

If you think it will work for you, make it a priority. For yourself and for your employees.

Photo credit: Some rights reserved by Robert S. Donovan

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