Title of Post: Clicks, Tweets and Likes: What is a Small Business to Measure?
Organisation Name: Augies Gourmet Ice Pops
Industry: Speciality Food
Name of Contact : Janet Dimond, Owner
Web references: Forbes, Inc., The Small Business Expert Academy , Sound Cloud, Wikipedia, Buffer, Investopedia, Social Times, Vimeo, YouTube, The Toronto Star, Hootesuite, Google images, CMO Survey, Wiktionary, Twitter, Business Dictionary,
The reason(s) entrepreneurial individuals create and run their own small business varies. According to an Inc. article reasons include: controlling their own destiny, finding work/life balance, following a passion, giving back to the community and feeling pride in building something they own to name just a few.
However creating and running small business is not for the faint at heart. It is a fact that small business entrepreneurs are spread thin, often doing all tasks within their company and time truly is their most valuable resource. The Small Business Expert Academy recently stated of small business owners:
- 35 percent would like to cut back on their roles and responsibilities.
- 26 percent want to take more time off.
- 20 percent feel they need to improve their work-life balance.
It seems reasonable then, that social media presents a potentially wonderful opportunity to aid these small business owners in their marketing efforts, increasing brand awareness, stimulating interest and conversion to sales.
Forbes likens social media usage for brand awareness to “…virtual flyers or the online equivalent of newspaper ads. They build name recognition and help your small business start to form a brand identity.”
However, social media marketing can come at a cost. The cost is time, both to engage in social media and analyze the return on investment. Many small business owners buckle under the added social-media marketing workload and more often not there is only a blurry vision of social media’s impact.
Spending and time investment on social media is soaring, but measuring its impact remains a challenge. Forbes reported via The CMO Survey how marketers show the impact of social media on their business. The CMO Survey indicated that only 15% cited they have been able to prove the impact quantitatively. Clicks, Likes, tweets, re-tweets, mentions, website visits, shares, and comments. These are all wonderful vanity measures but do they mean anything to the bottom line? Especially in light of the fact that most small business owners report they want to trim back on their roles, take time off and improve their work/life balance, some of the very reasons the entrepreneur decided to go into business in the first place.
Sound Cloud Using Social Media to Build Business:
Can a small business owner effectively utilize social media, determine if their efforts are worth the time, not get pulled in every direction of the growing vast black hole of social media all while effectively managing their business and not burn out ? Yes, they can if they keep social media exactly as what it is intended to be: a tool to complement existing business objectives. That is the first step in any marketing plan and no different when including social media as part of the mix.
The next step is to audit the outcomes of the social media performance and continue to set goals for improvement. If only 15% of professional marketers cite they have been able to prove the impact of social media quantitatively, a small business owner truly needs to have a clear vision of what,why and how they will invest in social media from the get-go. It all sounds so easy but remember it takes commitment of time, resources, and faith that utilizing social media in fact is worth it. Not to mention the learning curve required to understand the new media world that includes social media has developed with it’s own language, measures and completely on line.
Janet Dimond, creator and owner of Augie’s Gourmet Ice Pops has gotten it right when it comes to jumping into the small business social media ocean.
A grassroots entrepreneurial speciality Ice Pop business that developed from humble beginnings in Toronto May 2011. These ice pop’s use all varieties of fresh seasonal Ontario fruit as it comes available; whatever they can pick/buy from local farmers will be what you’ll find in their hand-crafted yummy popsicles.
Sweetened using Organic Cane Sugar, Ontario Honey, Ontario Maple Syrup—just enough to balance the citrus. In Janets words : ” I made a few hundred fresh-juice ice pops in yummy flavours to sell to neighbours and friends on our street corner during a Roncesvalles community yard sale. They were a massive hit!! Everyone asked where they could buy our fruit-bomb pops and I knew we had a sensation on our hands. I began in earnest applying to farmers markets in and around the city–was accepted + began the journey of Augie’s Gourmet Ice Pops.”
Janet’s main social media business objectives for Augie’s Gourmet Ice Pops include: brand awareness and social engagement /feedback from her customers. As most social media pros’s will suggest, Janet started with the right small business social media strategy. Start with a few social media platforms and have specific objectives. Augie’s Ice Pops social media journey began on only a few platforms. Facebook is the main platform for Augie’s social media presence with Augie’s Gourmet Ice Pops FB business page. Twitter’s @augies_gourmet and Instagram account augiesicepops round out the 3 social media platforms currently in use. In my recent interview with Janet, she explains how Facebook has increased brand awareness, connected with customers and provided useful feedback for developing new products.
Video production credit: Jon Blacker
As the Augie’s Ice Pop entrepreneur mentioned during the interview, reviewing metrics such as likes, shares, re-tweets, URL clicks did increase after particular FB and twitter posts. As with many of Augie’s media press, when The Toronto Star showcased Augie’s Gourmet Pride Ice Pops in an online article and on Youtube, Janet saw an immediate increase in FB likes and website visits. Reviewing the platform based analytics Janet was able to determine that likes,shares, re-tweets and comments had indeed provided some of the outcomes she was looking for: Brand awareness, social engagement and feedback from her customers.
The Toronto Star YouTube channel: Pridepop, a cool treat just in time for Pride.
Social Times, part of The Adweek Blog Network, article stated: “Bottom line: used intelligently, social media can generate a significant return at a relatively low financial entry point. Moreover, it can be used in a variety of ways – 84 percent of SMBs use social media to reach customers, 42 percent use these channels for consumer support and 48 percent have generated business directly through Twitter.”
This is exactly what Janet has done with her social media tactics for Augie’s Gourmet Ice Pops. She started out with a grassroots venture, choose only a few platforms to engage, tried various types of post content and calls to action and has reviewed the analytics provided by each platform.
Janet’s social media strategy for 2016 is in the planning. With what she has learned so far in terms of increasing brand awareness, Janet will take the next step a small business owner with limited time and resources should take with social media. She may expand her content, trial different types of posts, perhaps test out a new platform and continue analysis and review of outcome metrics to determine if they are in fact in line with her specific business objective(s).
It needs to be stated that relying solely on the metrics is a contradiction of the actual essence of social media, as social media itself is a tool for communication that inherently is suited to create and strengthen relationships between people. This is where Janet and her social media strategy has quite simply really “gotten it right”. Most importantly because Janet has made her social media time investment and analytics realistic to date, she can can continue to do her passion of the actual business of making delicious Augie’s Gourmet Ice Pops without burning out. This of course allows all of us to enjoy the delicious fruits (no pun intended) of her labor.
While researching this blog post I discovered multitudes of social media metric measurement articles for small businesses. With so many articles and content to read on this topic combined with the constraints of lack of time the small business owner should judicially look for a useful, simple yet thorough reference such as: SMV-E-Marketing Solutions: How to Measure Social Media Marketing Success.
Other resources for small business owners include:
Hootesuite Blog : The Social Media Metrics that Should Matter to Small Businesses
Lessons for Others
- Small business entrepreneurs require a clear, concise social media strategy including metrics that complement their business objectives to be successful and balance the heavy work of small business ownership.
- Small controlled involvement in social media allows for effective and measurable outcomes verses a wide social media jump in without rationale.
- Social media strategy is a moving, real time activity that requires the entrepreneur to monitor outcome metrics and make adjustments based on the business strategy of the company.
- Growing a small business means growing your social media expertise. At some point more sophisticated social media and metrics will become more relevant.
- Augie’s Ice Pops are truly a delicious experience.
Submitted by: LWarburton/ Student /Social Media for Business Performance/University of Waterloo
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