I have been spending a great deal of time lately trying to figure out how Simplified Technology Services can leverage the tools of social media to promote and build business. I may be missing something but I am struggling to get traction to find my target audience.
I have a personal Facebook and Twitter account and am a member of LinkedIn. I have spent many afternoons surfing around to different small business pages on Facebook and looked at several people's LinkedIn accounts. I am amazed at the amount of time people spend connected to these sites. However, these people seem to be my colleagues, not necessarily the farmers who I am targeting.
Don't misunderstand me; I think Facebook is great when you are trying to find your friends from college who you have not talked to in several years. I think LinkedIn is how you can find a job with your friend's company. Twitter is excellent for someone like Arlan Suderman who has his finger on the pulse of the grain markets and is looking for a way to communicate what he is seeing. So in some ways media sites are an excellent fit. I am just not sure how they help a company like STS without being a huge time sink. Would it be advantageous for me to do a brief condensed test market to see how I can best fit into different avenues of social media?
I am not crazy enough to think that social media is going away. When it is given credit for events like the Arab Spring there is no doubt it has become engrained in human development no differently than the steam engine. However, the steam engine was just a tool and not every business required its use. There is no arguing that it changed many businesses for the better but I can't help wonder how many people went out of business trying to make it work for them. Until I have an adequate investment of time which produces an adequate measure of return, I'm hesitant to toss my slightly staffed small business solely into the Twitter ring.
I also wonder how many people would find my posts and tweets interesting. On a daily basis what do I do that is really noteworthy? Initially I may gain some followers but if I'm not relevant on a regular basis, would I be doing my readership a service? I know I'd have to be extremely careful with regards to specific industries I may refer to and in what fashion I refer to them. Additionally, the goal would be to direct people to my business without giving away information or techniques I've invested a lot of time in developing.
Could it be a challenge to us to not only search for opportunistic measures in social media, but also to weigh the time investment vs. potential gains as it's relevant to our individual businesses?