Social Media’s Point of Diminishing Returns – A Small Business Conundrum

Social Media’s Point of Diminishing Returns – A Small Business Conundrum

By Chad PollittJul 12 /2011

At Kuno we frequently run into many different kinds of companies with varying degrees of challenges regarding inbound marketing, social media marketing, SEO, etc.  We don't work one on one with every business we encounter, but we certainly like to help when we can.  The below is a guest post by Judd Helms, General Manager of Doctor Feelgood's Inc., detailing their challenges regarding social media marketing followed by some recommendations to overcome those challenges.

A Small Business's Social Media Campaign

Fort Wayne DJ Social Media MarketingI manage a successful DJ/Entertainment company named Doctor Feelgood's Inc. in Fort Wayne, IN.  We’re considered a small business and social media has proven to be beneficial in our marketing efforts.  Facebook updates allow us to easily stay in touch with people who are interested in our work and to stay in touch with past customers.

What's Working. . .

The integration of Foursquare, Twitter and Facebook in our marketing campaign has proven to be beneficial.  On any given Saturday, we can be DJing 12 or more different venues.  Checking into these venues frequently allows us to let thousands of people know how much work we are doing in one night.  Geosocial media seems almost tailored for our business.  We check in or create a venue, it posts to our twitter account with the hashtag “#fortwayne” and boom - everyone that follows us or the Fort Wayne hashtag can see where Doctor Feelgood's is.  These tactics have proven to provide real tangible results for the company while allowing the Doctor Feelgood's brand to stay top of mind.

Inbound Marketing TweetThe Social Media Conundrum

How much should we actually be doing this? When does it become a spammy detriment?  This is the part of social media marketing we struggle with. Personally, I decided that I wanted to really “Like” the things that I like in real life on Facebook.  I watched the 60 minutes Mark Zuckerberg special and really enjoyed how he spoke about Facebook working hand in hand with your personal life.  Soon though, my newsfeed became completely clogged with all kinds of worthless content that I don’t care about from the companies and brands I do care about.  

We struggle with wanting to post as much as we can on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare because we don’t want our followers to hide our feed.  People don’t need an update every day from Abercrombie and Fitch telling them about a sale on shirts.  People who like Abercrombie will find what they need when they want to.  Today’s wired world provides almost unlimited resources to obtain this content.  

What people want is interesting information from companies like happenings, history, and stories - not just sales.  Companies which do social media right educate their audience not spam them.  What small businesses like ours need are some guidelines to know if we’re doing too little or too much.  

The Question. . .

Social media is such a valuable tool to get your message out there, but we are very concerned with turning people off.  Our fear is that our social media posts will become just another ad lost in a pile of junk.  Due to our business model, we post more on Saturdays because that is our busy day.  Is this good or bad?  When people “like” something on Facebook which they truly like in real life they shouldn’t have to hide it in their newsfeed.  When is enough enough?  Where’s the line which separate companies who do it right from ones that are abusive?

Some Small Business Social Media Advice

The challenges laid out by Judd above represent a real conundrum for small business owners and managers.  Ultimately, the true solution reveals itself after months of careful testing and vigilance.  This could include online polls asking followers or fans what content they would like to see and how often would they like to see it.  There’s a reason someone followed or liked the brand and there’s nothing wrong with asking them why.  

If you’re just starting off and have no friends or followers to ask a good rule of thumb to follow is to make sure the content being shared is educational, entertaining, provides value (i.e. coupons, discounts, etc.), and/or would position the author/brand as an industry thought leader.  A good formula to follow when posting content is to make sure that 1/3rd is your original content, 1/3rd is other people’s content, and 1/3rd is conversational.  This maximizes the business's chances of converting, building relationships, and creating brand advocates.

Concerning frequency and timing of posts on social media, Dan Zarrella of HubSpot has been studying raw social media data for over two years and recommends weekend posts for both Twitter and Facebook.  This makes sense because people’s walls and streams aren’t cluttered with everyone else’s Tweets and status updates.  Weekends are a time for people to consume and respond to content.  For a thorough analysis of when you should post on Twitter check out TwitterWhen.  Dan also recommends Tweeting an average of 22 times per day while Mari Smith recommends posting to Facebook no more than three times per day.

For additional help with Facebook and Twitter feel free to download our Facebook Marketing Cheat Sheet and our Twitter Marketing Cheat Sheet.

Judd Helms Judd Helms is the General Manager at Doctor Feelgood's Inc., a Fort Wayne DJ company and national lighting and sound installation contractor celebrating 33 years in business.  For over 10 years he has headed up the marketing and sales efforts of Doctor Feelgood's while helping thousands of couples plan their weddings and businesses design their events.