I was reading a wonderful post by Danny Brown this morning which had several great points concerning social media but the one that inpired me to think, and thus write this post was what he said about measuring your return on investment (ROI) from social media.
It made me think about just what social media has done for my business. Then I remembered all of those struggling virtual assistants who seem to be so reluctant to use it.
I know how difficult it can sometimes be to embrace new technology and new ideas. Especially when you yourself can’t see the point or the wisdom in using that technology for your business. It wasn’t until I read those ROI questions that I realized maybe those of us benefiting from social media were using the wrong words and phrases when explaining why and how to use social media.
The following is my attempt to list some benefits of adopting social media for your business in a way that not only is easy to understand, but might allow the reader to see how it could fit into their business plan.
- The first benefit is of course making connections. For every virtual assistant (or other small business) that is located in a bustling urban area, there is another that is located in a rural setting. Traditionally, normal networking avenues were harder for those in rural areas because small towns might not have a chamber of commerce or business networking groups. Not to mention that your target market possibly doesn’t even exist there. For those rural business owners, using social networking is priceless allowing them to connect not only with their target market, but with other business owners like themselves.
And for someone like me, who has lived in three states over the past 12 months, its been a way to not only continue to connect with people online, but to meet new people locally.
- The second benefit is learning. What I’ve learned by following links and reading the blog posts of those that I follow would have cost me thousands of dollars. I would have had to purchase books, classes and seminars on a wide range of subjects. From the technical things like creating a video class to learning more effective ways to market myself, just about anything I might want or need to know can be found through someone on my social networks. People that you might otherwise not have access to like Laura Roeder, Chris Brogan and Michael Martine are on social networks giving their followers valuable advice all the time. And they usually offer special deals or early bird specials to their followers should we decide we need their paid services and products too.
- The third benefit is the money savings. As I mentioned in the above benefit, you can save on education expenses via use of social media. You can also save on marketing. In fact, for the first time ever I’m going to tell my readers here at Home Office Warrior a little secret. In the two years that my business has been around I’ve spent exactly $75 directly* on marketing. And $50 of that was spent my first month in business for a failed direct mailing campaign. The other $25? Business cards. That doesn’t mean I don’t market my business. I do. I attend a women’s networking meeting as often as I can, and I have a beautiful print ad running in a local magazine that I bartered for. But the majority of my marketing efforts are done through blogging ,Twitter and other social media avenues. Do I anticipate spending more money on marketing in the future? Yes, definitely. But the good news for start ups and struggling virtual assistants is that you don’t have to spend a ton of money on marketing to begin with.
I’m sure others could give even more benefits, but these were the three that I felt compelled to share today. If you’re one of those people who still isn’t quite sure how social media can help you, I hope that this post allows you to visualize how you might possibly make it work for you.
One thing is for sure, social media isn’t going away.
It may evolve and change, but it’s not going to just disappear. It’s not a fad. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you can find ways to make it work for your business.
*I say directly because of course my blogsite cost money to set up and maintain and my internet connection costs money. But both of these were items I would have to have for my business anyway.
Is social media working for your business? Still not sure how to use it? Questions about this post. Take advantage of the comments section and let’s talk about it!