What Do You Do When Social Media Doesn’t Work?

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Wet FloorWhat do you do if you’re active in social media but it’s not helping your small business?

Dear Rich,

I run a commercial cleaning business and I’ve been using social media for almost a year. I have been blogging three times a week, creating videos, and tweeting several times a day. We have a Facebook page that gets updated multiple times a day but has very few fans and only my employees and family members engage with it, and only when I threaten them! Even when we ran a contest with an iPad 2 as a prize we only got a handful of new likers.

We set up a Google+ page for our business, but almost no one has circled us, despite the fact that we’re putting out fresh content daily.

Most importantly, in looking at our traffic reports, almost no traffic comes from our social media activity, and none of our new clients mention social media when we ask how they found us.

What are we doing wrong? I feel like I’m banging my head against the wall.

–Confounded in Cornish

Dear Confounded,

It’s definitely frustrating when you are doing “all the right things” with social media marketing and still not getting any results. For many other small businesses you’d probably be knocking it out of the park.

However, for your audience, which I’m guessing are building owners, controllers, and property management companies, they’re just not using social media, at least not for the purposes of finding and engaging a new commercial cleaner.

As much as “social media” is a game changer, there’s still some important truisms you can’t ignore: you need to go where your audience is.

Now, not being a building owner or property management guy, I’m just guessing, but I’m probably only looking for your service when I take on a new building or I’m dissatisfied with my current vendor. When I do that I might turn to my social networks to ask for recommendations, but I certainly don’t need to engage with vendors on the chance I might need such a service down the road.

I would probably be more likely to wait until I had a need and then do a search at Google (if I didn’t ask a friend.) So, I would recommend cutting way back on your social media marketing, and focusing on your search engine optimization, especially how you rank in local search.

One platform I noticed you didn’t mention was LinkedIn. I would think that LinkedIn would be one of your best platforms to use, because of it’s focus on B2B. You could join local groups and network with other people in the group. This would increase your visibility and should increase your referrals.

Hope this helps!

Rich Brooks
Maine SEO

Photo Credit: Uwe Strasser

  • Jim

    How about getting off the computer, calling those local property owners / management companies and other businesses and setting up appointments to talk to them in person about the services you provide? LinkedIn isn’t going to do much for you at this point. Break in some shoe leather, get your negotiating skills in check and go sell your business up front and personal. The internet can do a lot, but word of mouth recommendations can do a lot more.

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks Rich Brooks

    Jim, I think you’re completely right in this case.

    I would also argue that WOM can carry just as much weight online and move much faster. Personally, for my business, I’ve found that my online activity is a much better use of my time, and I never do “outbound sales” anymore.

    However, I still do a few networking events and do public speaking to generate awareness and interest in our biz.

    Thanks for weighing in.

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    This is a serious problem deserving to be thought about in our modern society.

  • http://seogear.net/ SEOgear

    The point in the product is very simple. It’s corny - if your product - the “bad” - social media, and so will not help you. “The economy of attention” -’d never tolerate, it is simply contrary to the basicprinitsam. So - we have to work on a product - either his or his client.

  • Fran Jurga

    How refreshing to see someone speak realistically about the pros and cons of social media. It is too often prescribed as the answer to everything and everyone. 

    The idea of “build it and they will come” has to be simultaneous with “build it and help them find it”.

    I’d suggest NOT getting OFF the computer but changing expectations. Use the internet to access as much information as possible about events, organizations, projects etc out there that might need your services and monitor them, perhaps using Google News Alerts, Twitter key words, etc so you know everything imaginable about business activity in your target area. Then you can act when there is something that sounds like an opportunity.

    I’d also suggest doing the opposite of the conventional advice and try a test: duplicate some of your social media content from your business under your own name and see if it is possible that you, as a business owner, are better known than your business. (I have this “problem” which has to be looked at as an opportunity, too.) Especially if you have a generic-sounding company name, you might find that YOU are better known than your business is!

    You can also consider a bigger project to establish yourself (outside your business) as a real expert on cleaning–and watch what happens! BTW, do you have advice for getting old stains out of worn but still serviceable office carpeting?

    Good luck!
    Fran Jurga