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The Wednesday Social: How Important is Social Media Marketing to Local Charlotte Businesses?

Well hello, Wednesday!

Welcome to this week’s social! This week we’re pulling in some outside small business owners and/or social media operators for a discussion of: how important is social media to the success of local business in Charlotte?
 
We sent out a survey to some locally owned businesses doing awesome social media work to get their take on how the integration of social media into their marketing program has affected them. In sum: of those we surveyed, social media has been integral to each brand’s success…
 
8 out of 11 said that Instagram is their platform of choice, 3 of 11 said Facebook is where it’s at for them. Where is YOUR audience? This is something not often considered when writing and designing content for social media. Who are you even talking to? AND, who is actually listening/buying/giving you their money? Hopefully your audience is one and the same here, but do you know?
 
One thing they’ve learned about social media?
 
“…the importance of syncing content to each channel,” says Blair Primis, VP of Marketing at OrthoCarolina.
 
“…that different demographics live on each platform,” says Aaron Dodge, Social Media Manager of Major League Triathlon.
 
” Meet your audience where they are,” says Katie Levans, CoFounder and Creative Director of Charlotte Agenda.
 
“Through process of elimination, I figured out what our customers respond best to. Tailoring that content has helped drive sales and recognition of our brand. It took us a while to sift through each platform to find the right combination. We have the right content mix now – have mastered instagram and facebook,” says Jill Koskosky, CMO at Brewpublik.
 
So, what about the latest social media updates? 9 of 11 surveyed said Instagram Stories has been their favorite update; 2 of 11 said Facebook LiveStream. Have you tried either? Which do you prefer? Haven’t ventured into the world of video or live streaming yet? Here are some quick tips and statistics from our friends at Hootsuite.
 
Not sure about the newer updates? Here’s a recent blog we wrote about Snapchat/Instagram Stories and here are some other resources worth reading re: integrating video into your social media plan…
 
The Rise of Video Marketing on Social and How it Affects Your Business – via Gary Vee
 
The Most Important Video Marketing Trends For 2016 – via Social Media Today
 
8 Reasons Why Your Business Should Use Video Marketing via Dream Grow
 
When asked “would your business be as successful without social media?” those surveyed responded with…
 
“No, our fast growth is almost entirely attributed to word of mouth and social media,” says Haley Bohon, founder of SkillPop.
 
“…any business is behind if they aren’t using social media. Print ads or radio aren’t enough… Social media has helped the old time word of mouth that truly makes a business successful,” says Andrea Glagow, Marketing, Social Media and Events Manager at The Unknown Brewing.
 
“Yes, but growth potential would be limited. We’re fighting the awareness game. Being on social media is good for awareness,” says Garrett Tichy, Owner of Ready at 7 and Hygge.
 
“No. Social media counts for not just a large portion of our exposure, but also a more engaged segment too,” says Andy Goh, Digital Communications Specialist at Bechtler Modern Museum of Art.
 
11 out of 11 surveyed shared similar sentiments in terms of the key investment factor: TIME.
 
“It’s just a natural thing since it’s where we already spend our time and our audience does too. We are of the generation that already utilizes these channels personally so there was never a question of whether or not we would use it professionally for the brand,” says Levans.
 
The other key investment: MONEY.
 
“We don’t invest a lot of money into social media at this point (startup), but we will as our budget grows… There is a basic process of loading our social posts 3 days at a time for any general promotion we are doing, with the ability to add in anything that comes up. This helps move things along as a good pace, while keeping topics fresh,” says Koskosky.
 
“We understood within the first year that social media was (and still is) such a key player in getting people in the door so staying consistent with our time/money spent in this marketing avenue is crucial to the success pf our business,” says Brandy Newton, Marketing Director of JJ’s Red Hots.
 
Last week’s Wednesday Social talks all about investing in social media. What we say is, what you put IN to social media, you will get OUT of social media. Read last week’s blog here.
 
So, you’re investing all of this time, and money, and it’s still hard. Things are changing every single day. So we asked them, “what’s the hardest part of social media marketing for your business?”
 
“…finding time to manage it all and staying relevant,” says Jordan Dollard, Owner of Elsa Fine Online.
 
“Constantly trying to create new and unique content. There are so many talented people out there creating stellar content, the bar keeps getting higher and higher,” says Andrew Morton of Yellow Cab of Charlotte.
 
“Measuring true ROI. It’s hard to measure when the tail on the efforts is long. Sometime 6-8 months later someone comes around that engages us on social media,” says Tichy.
 
“Tracking: what’s working and what’s not, as it relates directly to daily sales. We’ve always just tried to remain genuine and not take ourselves too seriously…We try to have fun with it and use social media to simply expose our product offerings, specials and passion for our brand. I think people attach just as much to our brand as they do our food – and that’s always been our goal…” says Newton.
 
“The competition. Everyone talks about beer: trends, new releases. In order for some of our topics to be relevant, we have to be first to market, which is tough considering there are a million beer blogs, breweries, etc. talking about the same things,” says Koskosky.
 
At the end of the day, everyone who shared their opinions said that social media has been integral to their success in Charlotte. Here are some tips we pulled from their responses:
 
“Don’t be afraid to get on social, and post about what you’re passionate about. Giving your brand an identity makes it relatable. Be authentic and success will come,” says Morton.
 
“People want to feel a part of your brand and social media makes that a possibility,” says Dollard.
 
“People want to be involved and feel like they are a part of your business too. Interacting with consumers is key to bringing them back as well as including them in posts or images,” says Glagow.
 
“Know your business inside and out and be able to respond 24/7. Social Media Marketing is a two-way street,” says Goh.
 
“I’ve learned a lot about content… tailoring that content has helped drive sales and recognition of our brand,” says Koskosky.
 

Let’s discuss: how has social media played a role in your marketing plan? Have you have success with social media? Please share! Write us a comment below or tweet us @bwsocialco and use #thewedsocial.
 
See ya next week for another installment of The Wednesday Social and if you have any specific requests on what we should talk about, email us!
 
*Stellar skyline photo of our beautiful city by Nick Rend. Do yourself a favor and follow him on instagram!