Social Media: The Small Business Approach

In order to be a successful Social Media Manager, it’s important to obtain a thorough client profile before creating content and establishing a social strategy. In order to best represent a client, you need to understand their brand. What are they trying to say, and who are they saying it to? While this tends to be the typical procedure when starting with a new client, we aren’t often thinking about the social needs of non-clients.

What are businesses who manage their own social media accounts doing? What is their strategy? Strengths? Weaknesses?

I interviewed Level 2 Crossfit Certified Coach Matt Martin, owner of Crossfit Rocksteady in St. Louis, MO, to gather more insight into how someone without social media “expertise” is managing their brand, and if a social media agency could compliment his marketing needs.

Q: What social media platforms do you have?

M: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, and a website with a blog.  

Q: How often would you say you post on these platforms?

M: I try to do a minimum of once a week, averaging about twice a week. At the same time I try not to overwhelm - I don’t want people getting on there and saying “oh, here’s another post from them…” The blog gets updated every single day.

Q: Who manages your social pages?

M: I do. My wife Tasha helps me out here and there, but I’m usually the one doing most of it.  

Q: What are your primary goals and/or objectives?

M: Some of it is client retention. I like to have posts of what we’re doing now so they can see it, and they usually share that with their friends which will hopefully turn into a new lead or member. I will try to do some that are just informative or related to the fitness field in some way as well as fun posts.

Q: Are you reevaluating those goals or objectives? How often do those change?

M: Not reevaluating those often, to be honest. I think because I’m the one who does the most of it I just think, what’s something cool I can post or share, put it out there and leave it. Some things change such as the informative posts or the real-time content such as members in the gym hitting personal records.

Q: What is your greatest struggle?

M: Managing time to create content. It takes a ton of time to run the gym, it can take several hours a day just to properly clean all the equipment. Taking time to write engaging content goes on the backburner.

Q: What is your greatest strength?

M:  That we don't overwhelm people with too many posts. Also, the types of posts are more fun and not so salesy or pushy. We're having fun here, but also providing some valuable information and we want to have people come in based on that.

Q: Do you run ads?

M: Yes about $60-$100 a month on Google, and $100 a month on Facebook ads, $100 with the primary objective of getting new members. This would include ads such as specials that are running for new members to join.

Q: How well do you feel these ads perform?

M: It's hard to track. I’ve started asking people on new member sign up forms how they heard of us and a decent amount of people have said they’ve seen us on social. I wish I had a better system for that. Because I don’t spend a lot, even if I get one person I’m happy with the return. At a previous gym, we spent a lot of money monthly on ads and didn’t see a growth in membership so I’m hesitant to repeat that.

Q: Would you ever hire a social media agency? Why or why not?

M: I have in the past, and I would consider doing it again. As of now, my wife does graphic design so she helps a lot with zoning in on what looks good in a post and who to target. The previous agency I worked with required a 6-month minimum contract, and after months we weren’t getting any new members. They set up a landing page for people to sign up and it didn’t work properly so they were never able to accurately provide “click” information. I think if they had just owned up to their mistake and talked about a strategy moving forward I would’ve been more okay with it. For now, I’d rather put that money towards more equipment.  

Q: What would need to change for you to find a social media agency beneficial?

M: Down the road if there was increased budget and time, or getting more staff to alleviate my workload.

By understanding the processes of business owners who manage their social media platforms independently, we gain a lot of insight into what brand holders think is important and successful. This can be beneficial when trying to compete with other brands and/or build your client base. It’s also useful to know what areas these business owners struggle in and how a social media agency may just be the best solution to those problems.