Q&A: Exploring Small Business Social Media

It’s a bad word in some offices. In others, it’s a saving grace. But no matter which boat your business is in, it’s a word that’s inescapable in today’s business climate: social media. 

Technically, those are two words, but you get the drift. The days of ignoring social media as a business tool are long gone. Somewhere between the family-fication of Facebook and the rise of Periscope, social media grew its foothold in the business sector into a burgeoning base camp of revenue, marketing strategy and engagement rates.

From Fortune 500 companies to family tackle stores, it seems like every business is active on some form of social media. It’s a game that everyone is playing, and the game has one huge caveat—the rules change at will, almost at random. So how do you keep track of it all?

To find out, FTR caught up Noel Vick, head of one of the tackle industry’s most successful public relations companies, Traditions Media, to explore the impact of social media on the fishing industry.

Q: What are the pros and cons for social media in business?

Social media is low hanging fruit. To look at it otherwise is foolhardy. These are your fans. Your loyalists. Your influencers. They need to be engaged and rewarded. Build it, and they will come…so long as you have a strategy in place, provide rich content and then have the resources to manage it.

Build a Facebook page or open a Twitter account just because you think you need one and it’s a waste of time, sometimes even detrimental to your brand.

Q: What are some tips for creating engagement?

Now the Colonel would tell you there are spices in his Secret Recipe, but not tell you if it was cumin or tarragon that made the difference. Effective social media is much the same. We’ve developed an overarching strategy that blends our traditional PR and media communications with social media to achieve the same goal: sell more stuff.

Having said that, there are key principles anyone managing their company’s social media should acknowledge.

First and foremost – listen. Don’t just shout automated messages hoping to engage your followers. And then respond, react and adjust. Social media participants want to be recognized…and matter. Employing user-generated content is one way to make them feel like part of the family.

Q: How have you changed your own business to reflect social’s growing role in the marketplace?

We recognized the trend and embraced it right out of the box. Instead of saying, “Dang! Just another mouth to feed,” we treated social media as another opportunity to share our partners’ messages.

Outdoors-focused social media services are part of Traditions Media’s core competencies – right there on the menu. To that, we’ve harnessed the brightest minds in social media, including people with roots in fishing and hunting.

We offer tip-to-tail social media strategy and management for some of our partners. We also contract high-level consulting, which include services like coaching pro staff through webinars, writing custom best practices guides for staff and ideating and managing social media promotions. So yes, social media has certainly caused our business to evolve.

Q: In other words, social media forced you to expand?

No, it presented an opportunity to expand our bandwidth.

Q: Where do you see the future of social media in the next 24 months? 5 Years?

Truthfully, you have to address changes in social media by the week, even the day. Trends happen that fast. Algorithms can change while you sleep. New platforms pop-up like mushrooms, and like funguses, some are delicious morels and others will make you sick.

Managing social media is like trying to hold on to the reins and steer the horse while he’s racing round the track. The speed is there. The power is there. But is there a skilled jockey in control?