Are you a small business owner with a lot of time on your hands? Social media is probably a no-brainer for you – it’s a fun way to connect with customers and potential customers and gather a few new business leads.
For the rest of us, who are working extra hours every day to make our businesses function, the idea of spending more time to write regular blog posts or peruse others’ Twitter accounts and engage in discussion comes across as an unnecessary luxury. And many small business owners see spending time working social media tools as a waste.
But there are people out there who are finding success with blogging and microblogging (Twitter). The key appears to be devoting time regularly to making the tools pay off. Here’s why:
Regular blog posts get your website found. We wrote about our experience with blogging daily then not blogging at all and how it impacted our website statistics. But it’s not just us – all over the country, small business owners who blog are finding that sharing that information gets people to their sites and gives them a boost over their non-blogging competitors.
Hubspot’s Rick Burnes wrote an article last year about how blogging helps small businesses improve their marketing. Burnes sampled more than 1,500 Hubspot customers – about half blogged and half did not. He found that the companies with a regularly updated blog:
- Had 55% more visitors to their sites
- Got 97% more links to their sites
- Had a whopping 434% more indexed pages in search engines
It’s pretty simple math: The more people who visit your website, the more possible leads you can convert to sales. Let’s say your product or service costs $1,000. How much is your time worth? Let’s say it’s worth about $100 an hour. That means if you get one sale for every 10 hours you spend blogging, you’re breaking even. Can you exceed one sale per 10 hours? Likely, you can.
You can write a chunk of blog posts at one time and get all your posts for the week written in two hours. That means you have to get an extra sale every five weeks to break even. Is that possible? Probably so.
And if you hire a freelance blogger or train an employee to do the blogging, you’re paying less per hour than what you, the company owner, is worth. Can this expenditure bring in enough sales to cover what you’re paying? We bet that it will.
Time on Twitter can pay off. About half the business owners who use Twitter, a microblogging tool, say it’s worthwhile in some way or gives them a return on investment. What makes one half of users think it’s a great tool for growing business and the other half unsure or don’t see a payoff? The time they spend.
According to a new study from BtoB Research Reports, about 40 percent of the people who say they have made money (gotten leads or customers) from Twitter use it for more than a half hour a day. Only 17 percent of other Twitter users put that much time in.
Can you make money from Twitter? The way to find out is to make the commitment – not just for a couple of weeks, but for six months or a year. Perhaps you’ve got an employee who would be happy to take on the assignment. Is his or her hourly wage a fair price to pay for attracting leads and landing more customers?
So here’s the lesson: In order to get value from the tool, you have to use it properly. Are you blogging once a month or Tweeting 10 minutes a day and throwing up your hands in frustration because the tools don’t work for you? The lesson here: either make the investment in time or drop it completely. If you don’t have a strategy for the use of these tools and make a commitment, it’s less likely to pay off.
If you want to learn to play golf well, you take lessons and you spend time playing and practicing. Of course you can go out and have fun hacking it around, but you won’t enjoy the same success as someone who puts in the time to lower his handicap.
The same thing is true with social media. Don’t waste your time dabbling – put the proper amount of time in to make it work, or none at all.