Search Google for “Social Media Marketing Tools” you will find dozens of articles in the format “10 Best Social Media Marketing Tools”, “5 New Social Media Marketing Tools for 2017” etc… These types of articles are great for the advanced social media users who already have social media accounts setup: FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest etc… and know how it all works and are looking to manage/automate social media campaigns etc…
But, what about the newbie webmaster with a small business website or a simple Blog with limited time and expertise?
Does Your Business Need Social Media?
First step is deciding whether your business requires a significant social media marketing presence and if so which ones?
Most people working in the social media marketing niche will tell you a social media presence is a must have (they are probably trying to sell you a social media marketing service), but for many businesses it won’t have much of an impact and won’t be a good investment in time/money (low ROI). It would be the equivalent of saying ALL business need to advertise on national TV, radio and newspapers, for some businesses they are the perfect marketing media, but for others it’s a waste of time/money.
For example do you really need a FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and other social media presence to promote a charity about stray cats in New York or to promote a kitchen fitting business in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland?
You could argue yes to the stray cats charity (Twitter, Facebook etc.. users love their cat images, could generate a lot of engagement and donations), but not so much for the local kitchen fitters.
Using Twitter to Promote a Business/Blog
Let’s look at Twitter as an example.
Twitter has been inundated with business and website owners trying to promote their products and services, in some respects it’s a marketing paradise. Any idiot can register a Twitter account (even multiple accounts), add a nice Twitter header image (there’s hundreds of free ones online) and profile picture and start Tweeting what are in effect short ads: you only have 280 characters to play with, perfect short ad size.
The problem is for many businesses is Twitter users are not on Twitter to find THAT type of product or service. If you fit bathrooms for example, what sort of person would look on Twitter for a plumber?
The vast majority of potential customers looking for a plumber online will look on Google for a plumber first, therefore in this instance plumbers should target their online marketing to Google. If your business is local, local Google search is where to target your online marketing efforts.
Note: I’m excluding buying ads on social media networks like Facebook in this article, plenty of small businesses use targeted Facebook ads to promote local businesses successfully: Facebook can target ads to local users, so there can be a good ROI.
Example Twitter Account : B&Q
B&Q are a big DIY business in the UK, they have over 300 stores with £967 million in sales last year.
B&Q have multiple Twitter accounts including https://twitter.com/BandQ with over 80,000 followers (that’s a healthy number of Twitter followers). They only follow 600 Twitter accounts, so most of those 80K followers have probably followed B&Q because they are interested in B&Q (DIY) or they are trying to attract followers themselves**.
** Basically Twitter users follow popular Twitter accounts that other Twitter users might follow the followers of (like https://twitter.com/BandQ/followers) to gain more followers :-)
It’s August 23rd as I write this and B&Q have Tweeted/ReTweeted over 26,000 times since 2010 (about 10 Tweets a day).
Without a big well known brand name like B&Q (or a celebrity type name) it is a LOT of work to build a Twitter account to 80,000 followers: B&Q probably doesn’t do much to attract new followers, they have simple social media promotion image links at the bottom of the site: their site will generate millions of visitors a year.
For a small business to achieve this sort of Twitter following will take hundreds of hours following/unfollowing Twitter accounts**: follow 100 accounts, wait a few days, unfollow those who didn’t follow back, rinse and repeat EVERYDAY to build a large follower base.
** There’s plenty of free and premium Twitter tools for automating the process, but it will still takes months/years to build a large following and because many of the followers are using the same technique they won’t be looking to buy your product or use your service.
If a Twitter user can manage to attract 50 new followers a day it will take one year to gain 18,000+ followers. Assuming B&Q have steady Twitter growth they’ve gained around 33 followers a day. Strongly suggests they aren’t actively trying to build the number of followers and they leave it to the general branding: big brands get followers.
OK, so let’s take a look at B&Qs Twitter followers engagement, how they are interacting with what B&Q Tweet.
You can see B&Qs latest Tweets in the previous “B&Q Twitter Account Screenshot”, their last Tweet (a response to another Tweet) has been live for 21 hours and has only generated one ReTweet and 4 Likes. The last Tweet was a comment about a Tweet of a local newspaper article and the author of the article ReTweeted the B&Q Twitter comment. Not a great example, so let’s find something from a week or so ago (plenty of time for engagement) and see what’s going on.
Below is a Tweet from August 17th 2017 (6 days ago).
— B&Q (@BandQ) August 17, 2017
At the time of writing the above Tweet had one ReTweet and one Like.
That’s for a one minute video on how to make an allotment out of a shoe box and other craft resources. Consider the time/money required for B&Q to shoot this video and it’s generated one ReTweet and one Like on a Twitter account with 80,000 followers!
Does that sound like a good ROI?
I’m sure in B&Qs Twitter Analytics it shows thousands of views, but most of those aren’t engaged users, the video Tweet appears on the users Twitter Home page and counts as a view if the Twitter user happens to be logged in when the Tweet scrolls by. This is NOT the equivalent of a person searching on Google for something and visiting a relevant site and viewing a video or reading an article, a lot of the views are ‘accidental’ views.
Add to that the Tweet above links to http://diy.com/help-ideas/how-to-grow-herbs/PROD_npcart_100354.art which is about growing Herbs, (talk about tentative link: you could grow herbs in your mini-allotment I suppose) so even if a Twitter users read the Tweet, watched the video and clicked the link, the article isn’t even about building allotments out of shoe boxes, so they probably won’t convert to a sale.
Even a Tweet to WIN 2 tickets to British MotoGP™ at Silverstone only generated a relatively small engagement and to win the Twitter users had to make a Twitter comment. Of those 69 comments, 7 where BandQ replying to entries: they basically got 60 competition entries from 80,000 followers.
The above is one of their best engaged Tweets over the past few months, not exactly killer stats.
It would appear Twitter users just aren’t that interested in DIY relevant Tweets. Though I must add whoever is controlling the B&Q Twitter account isn’t very good at Twitter marketing, looking through their recent Tweets shows a lack of thought out #HashTags. For example the competition Tweet has this exact text:
WIN 2 tickets to British MotoGP™ at Silverstone! Guess which celeb our @ukstanleytools Fatmax tool is impersonating for your chance to win!
Not a single Twitter HashTag! They could have gained significantly more engagement with minor alterations:
WIN 2 #tickets to British #MotoGP™ at #Silverstone! Guess the #celeb our @ukstanleytools Fatmax #tool is impersonating for a chance to #win!
The above is 140 characters (exactly the same length as the original), includes the same message as the original Tweet, but includes 6 Twitter HashTags. With the above Tweet when users check out the HashTags #tickets, #MotoGP™, #Silverstone, #celeb, #tool and #win they might have seen the B&Q Tweet.
Twitter Marketing Tip: When writing Tweets don’t rush them out, take sometime to add relevant keywords and add them as #HashTags to increase engagement with those NOT already following your account.
Imagine spending tens of thousands of pounds developing marketing social media marketing campaigns and it generates such a low user engagement.
If you currently lack a significant social media presence, before spending time/money on developing your social media accounts consider if your product/service is worth promoting on social media. Some product/services just don’t do well on social media, you’d get a better ROI targeting local search or maybe even newspaper ads.
David Law : Freelance SEO Consultant