social media

My Business Has a Website, But Do I Need a Social Media Presence?

Many small businesses have a website which is a great thing. However, most people don't market their website or buy ads with Google or Bing to help their website get found in search engines. But this is ok and normal. I don't know many small business owners who have a lot of extra time on their hand to learn Google AdWords.

But now with Social Media being so important, everyone is joining everything so that they can say they are on Social Media. The first problem with this is that being on Social Media is a broad term and should not be a static statement. The second is that unless you are creating content on these different Social Media platforms, then it's actually probably hurting you more than helping you.

Establishing your website is extremely important and should be your number one priority for your online presence. But, Social Media is too big to ignore and every small business should be on a Social Media platform. But don't get caught up in trying to be on all of them. For example, if you are a visual media company then you should probably be on Instagram and Pinterest since you want people to see what you do and share it with others. However, a financial focused business might not have as much use with putting up pictures, but they could use Twitter to share compelling stats and figures that might draw a customer in to ask more questions.

The most important thing you can do as a small business, is define the goals you hope to achieve and then make sure that whatever Social Media platform you choose will align with those goals. If you don't know how to set good goals then look up SMART goals. That will get you started. 

If you are still not sure if you should be on Social Media or what platform you should be on, then send me a message and I will be glad to help you out.

David Doughty
Multi-Media Storyteller

Social Media, The Law, & Somewhere In-Between

photography by Steven Lewis

photography by Steven Lewis

Social Media tends to be a place for anyone to voice their opinion on any matter and hardly ever thinks twice about the ramifications.  As a result of this, larger companies often employ their own lawyers to go over any campaign that a company might want to run to make sure that the company can't get sued or worse.

Small businesses don't have the luxury of hiring lawyers whenever they want to produce a marketing campaign, but that shouldn't scare you away either. The nice thing about social media is that if it's an honest mistake there can be grace. For example if you post a picture that you don't have permission to use and the owner finds out, then you'll probably just get a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown notice. This is kind of like a cease and desist order from the FCC in radio or television.

However, it is always better to provide a source of where you find things that you post that aren't your original work. The links that you create can also help you in Search Engine Optimization, so not only are you doing the right thing, you are sort of getting a slight reward out of it. Most of the time, no one will probably ever say a word because let's face it, the Internet is a big place and your small business probably isn't trending on social media. But just because no one may find out about it doesn't make it ok to do it. It's still illegal.

Where things can go really bad for you in the social media realm is when you make comments that are religious, political, racist, sexist, homophobic, and the list goes on. Stating your opinion on matters that probably have nothing to do with your business or what you're selling should just be off limits. These kind of comments can spread like wildfire and ruin your reputation and destroy your business. Just because you may have a freedom of speech doesn't mean you should exercise that right without caution.

A good thing to remember is that Social Media is organic and unpredictable. You can never assume that people will respond a certain way to what you release to the world. For example, McDonalds started a hashtag called #McDstories with the thought that people would tell about the great memories they had going to McDonalds. It ended up being more about the horror stories of McDonalds and the campaign quickly tried to shutdown, but it was already out there and you can't control what others say. Fortunately for McDonalds, they have a lot of money, so they can get through these kinds of fiascos that your small business most likely can't.

Now let me just try to clear this all up and simplify it. Think before you post anything to social media, if you have any doubts, then don't do it. 

Link to sources that you use, whether it is an article, photo, video, chart, etc.. It is always good practice and it shows integrity and validity. 

Lastly, don't be afraid to ask for help. Social Media is an ever changing monster that will never really be tamed. If you can think about it that way, then you generally be ok.


David Doughty
Multi-Media Storyteller

What is the Right Social Media for My Small Business?

Let's face it, most small businesses have little to no presence on the web and others barely have a website put together. The most common question I get with small business owners is, "What social media platforms should I be on?" Most think that they have to be on all of them, but that couldn't be further from the truth.

Here are three questions you need to ask yourself when it come to figuring out which Social Media platforms your company should be on.

1. Who is MY target audience?

The most important social media platforms that you should be on are the one's where your target audience is. What does that mean? Well, if you're target audience is teenagers then SnapChat might be something you look into. If it's creative young do-it yourself mothers, then Pinterest should be on your radar.

It's important to know your target audience as specifically as possible. If they are men, what kind of men. What are their hobbies, interest, etc.. The better you know your audience, the better you can market to them and know where they go.

2. How much time can I devote to Social Media?

30 min to an hour a day is almost minimum for monitoring and managing your Social Media accounts. Ideally, you should staff a digital marketer who can do all of this for you and more, but many small business can't afford that so there are a few tools you can look into that act as a sort of aggregate to social media. HootSuite is a great one that allows you to login to one place and manage and post to any of your social media sites (well almost any of them). It also measures performance and give you some analytics tools as well.

Some have asked,"Why not just schedule a weeks worth of posts in one day then only check it once a week?" The reason is because you need to monitor what others are saying about your brand. If someone complains about you on your social media site and you don't respond within 24 hours at the latest then it can really make your brand look bad. Here are some examples of what can go wrong (6 examples of social media crisis).

3. How will I utilize the Social Media platforms I join?

So now we know who are target audience is, and where they are. We've joined the two or three social media platforms and are excited about getting started. The problem now is what do I post? This is not uncommon for small businesses to feel this way. This is why you need a plan. 

Decide before hand how many times you will post each week to each social media platform. If you are writing a blog, three original posts a week are stronger than daily regurgitation. Twitter and Facebook can be updated at least 4 to 5 times a week, and more if you find yourself in conversations with customers. 

It is very important that you don't just replicate the same material on all of your social media channels. Make sure each social media platform that you are on has a specific purpose that you are utilizing it for that is different than the other platforms you are on. For example if you are using Facebook for news updates about your company, don't just make yourTwitter account an aggregate for your Facebook feed. It's ok to post links for update to Twitter too, but use your Twitter account as another way for potential customers to contact you with questions, or host monthly Q&A sessions with other professionals in your field.

Just remember that you need to know your audience which will in turn help you know which Social Media platforms you need to be on. But have a plan once you decide where you are going to be and be consistent at executing your plan. And lastly, always ask for feedback so you can constantly be improving your methods. 


As always, please ask me any questions on here or on my Twitter account @daviddoughty83