Social media marketing has grown exponentially in the last few years as more and more businesses have discovered the potential of this medium. But many businesses – even those who do post on social media regularly – are still confused by it.
When asked: “Why are you on social?” my hunch is that many people wouldn’t be able to provide a straight answer. Perhaps, you yourself are a little unsure how you’d answer that question.
There are many good reasons why your business should be active on social media, which I’m not going enumerate here. But what follows is 5 bad reasons to be on social media:
1. Everyone else is doing it.
I was once in a meeting with a lead who was in the business of selling watches online. The CEO explained to me that while he doesn’t understand social media marketing, he knows he should be doing more of it, “since everyone else is doing it and if you don’t do it, you’ll look like a fool.”
My advice is: Spend less time worrying about being a ‘fool’ and you won’t wind up being a ‘tool.’ Let me explain.
It is true that all smart businesses are using social media productively. However, that is not the reason YOU should be on social. Social media is not an end in itself. It is simply a tool. Many people get caught up on all the shiny new technologies and tools that are out there. Don’t be one of them.
Tried and true business principles such as setting goals and objectives matter today just as they did before the advent of social networks. First, figure out what are your business goals and objectives. And then figure out how social media will help you achieve them.
2. You want it to be separate from the rest of your business.
Many businesses consciously or unconsciously relegate the social media marketing to only one person or group within their company or organization. And therefore, some business owners try not to be involved in it at all.
It’s a mistake to silo social media marketing off from the rest of your business. In order to truly reap the benefits of what social media has to offer, make sure all of your departments and even all of your employees play a role in it.
Social media is valuable as a tool for customer service, sales, branding, and more. Consumers don’t care who is in what department. When they interact with your brand, they want the experience to be as seamless and as smooth as possible.
In order for that to happen, people from all levels of your organization need to be involved. Interview your engineers for blog posts that you post on Facebook. Consult your customer service team before answering that dissatisfied customer on Twitter. Make sure your staff at the front desk knows about the recent contest on Instagram so they aren’t caught off-guard when a customer mentions it.
A team effort will go a long way toward building credibility, trust, and authenticity.
3. You don’t have clear metrics.
As stated earlier, you shouldn’t do anything on social media without first asking yourself what are your business goals and objectives. Everything follows from there. Once you set your goals and objectives, you must then identify concrete metrics or benchmarks to measure whether or not you’ve successfully reached your goals.
And these metrics must be as specific and measurable as possible. For example, if you say your goal is awareness, figure out how that can be measured. Perhaps, greater awareness translates to more likes on Facebook and Instagram. Maybe it’s more ad impressions on Google. Or perhaps it’s more mentions on Twitter or on review sites. Try to quantify wherever possible what success looks like. Otherwise, you’ll never know if your efforts are bearing fruit.
Every business is different. Don’t pick vague or ambiguous metrics. Pick specific ones that make sense for you and accurately demonstrate progress toward your goals. I strongly recommend spending the extra time it takes to ascertain your metrics. Consider it part of dong your due diligence. It may take time, but it will pay off later. If you don’t do this important step, there’s really no point in engaging on social media.
4. You think you can post the same kind of content across all social networks.
It’s crucially important that you respect the medium or the platform on which you market. This is part of respecting your audience and it is a major component of what it means to come across as human on social media. Spend some time hanging out on Twitter or Instagram or LinkedIn or Pinterest. Soak up the vibe. Get a feel for the local culture. There’s nothing more obnoxious than a tourist who doesn’t respect the societal norms and sensibilities of the place where he visits.
Experiment and test to see what content resonates with your audience on each network. Don’t just scan headlines or read articles by the marketing experts. Experiment on your own and learn what is effective.
If you think you can just plaster the same content across all of your social networks, you’re sorely mistaken. This is a common error and it’s a lazy way of doing social. Learn how to understand your audience and what frame of mind they are in on each network. This will inform how you communicate with them and show you are authentic.
5. You Need Results Fast and You’re Not Willing to Spend.
Social media success does not happen overnight. Patience is key. It often takes months of consistently posting good quality content, networking with influencers, providing solutions, and nurturing relationships to start seeing significant results from your marketing efforts. Social media isn’t a quick fix.
Relationships on social media – just as in real life – take time to develop. It’s not something that can be hurried or rushed. You don’t want to come across as pushy and self-centered. Beware of jumping the gun and being too forward too quickly. Remember to do a lot of listening. Think of the other person’s wants and needs when you engage with them. Be helpful and responsive. If you follow this advice, you’ll find that more people will want to engage with you.
In case you haven’t already figured it out, understanding people and human nature is a big part of social media. All social media has done is digitize the human interactions that we’ve always had.
Many people are under the impression that social media is free. It isn’t. It costs a money as well as time. While social media marketing is far cheaper than other forms of marketing and advertising (TV, radio, billboards, magazine ads etc.), it still costs money. Not only does it cost money to create good, professional-grade content – copywriting, video, graphics etc., but you need to pay in order to use the tools and programs needed to track your progress.
Facebook has largely become a ‘pay-to-play’ medium. It is now almost impossible to succeed on Facebook without utilizing its paid advertising and many other social networks are in the process of following suit. The good news is that Facebook allows you to create ads that are highly targeted to precise demographics. Compared to other more expensive advertising platforms that focus primarily on reach, Facebook’s advertising service makes it easier to get more value for your spend.
So, if you’ve been doing social media for all the wrong reasons until now, don’t worry. You can now start approaching it differently and reaping the benefits.