So you’re a business looking to dive into social media. What does that even mean? Back in the day when social was just beginning to become the massive snowball it is today, getting involved as a business was messy. It was imperfect. You had to watch and listen to how people were using various platforms. You had to try things and make mistakes. You had to learn in real time as things were changing and growing and evolving.
Nowadays it seems like you can just decide “I want to be on social media”.
And you probably should be. Creating a community and actively engaging with that community has become the new marketing model. Storytelling and relationship building are more important than ever, overtaking “brand-building” or “reach and frequency” as key outcomes for your marketing budget. That being said, businesses seem to be pivoting to social as a silver bullet for their online marketing while fundamentally forgetting basic marketing concepts. Before you even think about creating a page or an account be it SnapChat, Facebook, LinkIn, or the like, check yourself against these basics when it comes to social media
Not all platforms are created equal.
Gone are the days when you could just set up a Facebook and Twitter page, link them to auto-post and call it a day. There is a buffet of options to choose from when it comes to social platforms. It can be overwhelming, which makes it so surprising that most company’s first instinct is to jump into everything at once. Specific, methodic targeting is becoming a lost art. Less is more. Get really good at one thing, not mediocre at five. Take stock of your core function as an organization, the type of content you’ll be posting, and your audience and be selective with the platforms you choose. Which brings us to rule number two…
Focus on where your people are (and where they want to see you).
“We need to be on Snapchat”. Why? Is that really where your target audience is? Is that going to be the best use of your time? Is that where you’re going to make the highest number of meaningful connections? More importantly, is that where your people even want to connect with you? You may have the best concrete company in the world, but I don’t necessarily want to look at concrete on Instagram. Founder of the Social Fresh Conference Jason Keath speaks regularly about the importance of focus when it comes to social media and his message is simple: if you really want to convert you don’t need to be (and probably shouldn’t be) everywhere. Respect your audience, view your business through their eyes, and act accordingly.
Have a freaking purpose.
This is possibly the most bizarrely broken rule in the book. Organizations and companies seem to think that the equation goes “IF I’m active on social media AND I get lots of likes THEN my business will do better”. What the heck does that mean?! There are so many other steps involved in that equation. I recently caught an episode of the Jelly Marketing Podcast (would highly recommend) featuring writer and speaker Tod Maffin where he hammers the idea of true purpose home and slays the concept of vanity metrics. What are you specifically trying to achieve with the tools you’re using? Are you trying to keep your membership up to date with new information? Are you trying to show how easy your product is to use? Are you trying to showcase the genuine personalities of your team? Have a purpose beyond getting likes and followers. Those will come and arguably don’t matter as long at your working towards a clear goal.
Advertising and selling without value creation does not work. Period. Full stop. I don’t care about your car dealership. I don’t care that you can broker my mortgage. I DO NOT CARE. Do something that makes my life better, even a little. Tell me something interesting I didn’t know before. Better yet, show me it in a cool way. Make me smile, make me laugh, make me think, solve my problem. Do something that goes beyond the basic transaction. It’s not just a nice touch anymore, it’s expected.
Well there you go. None of this is particularly ground-breaking. They’re things we as internet marketers have been shouting about for years, but as the social media space becomes more and more crowded and confusing it’s important to remember the basics. They’ll save you time, money, and a whole lot of headaches.