Archive for November, 2016

Small Business Social Media Marketing In the Age of Trump

November 12, 2016

Donald Trump’s presidential victory can be a new road map for small business marketers in regards to social media.

In particular, more traditional marketing channels appear to be more important than some social media gurus would have marketers believe prior to the election campaign.

While social media as a cost-effective information channel is well-proven, doubts about its effectiveness as a deal closer are seeping into the marketers’ consciousness.

The presidential election seemed to demonstrate the validity of this hypothesis.  Hillary R. Clinton used social media and other mass communication channels to inform its visitors of Trump’s unsuitability.  Her efforts in this media could not convince voters to cast their ballots for her.

While many reasons are being given for her defeat, Clinton’s heavy reliance on social media and television advertising may have been a factor in her falling short.

Prior to the vote and because experts and her campaign leaders talked so much about the vaunted Clinton social media campaign, its failure eases the pressure on smaller companies to embrace social media as their major or primary marketing force.

Rather, Trump’s ground game of locally focused turn-out-the-vote policies seem to have won the day.  It is an important lesson for small businesses with limited budgets and defined marketing areas.

Never particularly happy with social media as the driving force of their small business marketing, company leaders can now have justification for once again considering other opportunities and channels.

That other heavy marketers have been questioning their heavy reliance on social media can be shown in some recent events involving social media providers.  For instance:

  • Facebook has confirmed its trending algorithms are at times flawed and not reflective of real events.
  • National advertisers are demanding more transparent data reporting from providers as doubts of true effectiveness surface.
  • Many of the variables allowed in shaping campaigns are being tweaked or eliminated, i.e. race.

While there is no doubt social media has a place in today’s marketing mix, small businesses are now being encouraged to re-examine other channels.

For instance, increasingly some experts are comparing location-based messages designed to be sent to a mobile device when a potential customer is in a store against already in-place signage that promotes purchases.

Another important point to ponder is the message itself.  What is said also needs to be considered in the light of how it is communicated.

Equally as important, where items or messages are placed in a retail establishment, website page, or outdoor space are still important motivator to additional sales.

Clinton did not put money in residential, commercial or roadside signs.  Trump’s people often tried to tie local candidates to their front-runners name on physical signs.  Because Trump was on the ground, he had more local visibility than Clinton.  While not a deciding factor, it was still an important harbinger of victory for the upstart.  So too, a small business needs to stay local where possible.

Since most small businesses in today’s world are upstarts, it is important to get their message in the hands of their customers at nearby locations.  Social media can’t be the only media used.

Social media helps but other media, especially in-person and local advertising, seals the deal.