3 Tips I wish someone had given me before I started Marketing on Social Media
20 Dec 2017
We all assume that we understand social media really well.
After all, most of us are connected for most part of our day on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. Over the years social media has drastically matured as a communication channel and has blended into our lives to an extent that we find it impossible to live without it.
Businesses understand this.
Which is why brands today are constantly racing to gain their target audience’s attention on social media, understanding well that without this focus they will lose out on major business.
The biggest generalization, however, which most of us make is that we can do nothing wrong on social media which is why when some of us are faced with the option of hiring a professional social media marketing strategist and doing it ourselves, we opt for doing it ourselves. I am not implying that there is anything wrong with working on social media yourself. But if you are a startup on a limited budget, hoping to captivate some potential customers – this isn’t exactly the time to experiment and run the naïve show.
Been there, done that.
So I know what I am talking about when I say that most businesses assume social media marketing to be pretty simple. When you are less experienced, however, creating a social media strategy can be quite challenging which is why many companies prefer hiring experienced marketers who have a good understanding of this fickle marketing tool called ‘social media’.
A presence on social media is crucial for businesses today but it isn’t enough.
With some difference between age and income levels, the regular buyer on social media is using it to interact with friends, follow brands and absorb content. The reason most businesses fail at marketing on social media is because they miss out on some key points when devising a social media strategy. So how do you create a social media strategy while cutting out all the distracting noise?
Here are 3 thing I learnt about marketing on social media:
Absence of a well-defined process and direction
If you think posting on your brand’s Facebook page every couple of days is a well-defined strategy which gives your business a good direction on that channel, you are in for a shocker. Gone are the days when people posted on Facebook because they ‘felt like it’. Even the most ‘felt like it’ posts have a definite agenda behind it as do the selfies many of us post. Duh.
Most social media strategies fail because brands have no clear sense of direction. You cannot expect to understand your audience or expect to go anywhere without this step. Those of us who avoid social media analytical tools like a plague and overlook demographics will never really understand their audience and lack the sense of direction. They will continue to throw out well thought out information into a black hole without interacting with any real audience or capturing their interest. Using data and metrics from analytical tools and all your social media channels should be your first priority. Sadly, though this is what most businesses avoid even when marketing on social media. They think, it’s a hassle to log into so many platforms to analyze data.
Well, there are solutions for that too if you look hard enough. There are tools like online dashboards which allow you to compare and review all your metrics in one place. Once you start analyzing data you will understand your audience better and have a proper direction for marketing on social media.
Every social media channel has a difference social culture
Most of us assume that all social media channels can be used the same way and all we need to do is make sense of one channel to cover them all. That’s what I thought. And I was wrong. Marketing on social media can be extremely effective but only if used right which most of us are not doing. We think that we just need some good content which can be thrown a couple of times around on various social media channel to generate traction.
What we fail to understand is that each channel has its own social culture and your audience (depending on their demographics and interests) might not be on all the channels you opted for. Demographics, interest and time is of essence when opting to create a social media strategy that works.
Instead of focusing on the audience and spending time understanding them, crafting a message that sounds personal to the audience and then choosing the correct outlet, most of us are just saving our time and energies by creating content and throwing it around without much thought. And then we wonder why there isn’t enough traction. Identifying your target audience and the social media outlets they use is the first step to driving potential audience in.
Lacking ample resources to support and distribute content
An effective social media strategy requires time, energy and consistency. Marketing on social media is a full-time job which requires creativity and strategy. This is a resource intensive marketing tool which enables businesses and consumers to connect. If you are running a one-man-show, like I tried for a while, you are signing up for probable failure because you will fail to give proper attention to everything. This is why companies prefer hiring experts for marketing on social media because they take the time to understand your audience, organization, goals, objectives and your audience before creating a proper social media strategy.
There is no way that you can create content, make visually appealing posts, design videos and images and then find time for marketing on social media. Even if you do get the content done right, the next thing you need to worry about is distribution. Many times even the best content and the well-designed posts can land in the failed pit because it did not receive the distribution it deserved. Lacking ample of support and distribution can be a downfall for your social media marketing strategy. Sometimes you need to integrate other marketing modes like email marketing, magazine ads, paid ads with social media if marketing on social media isn’t getting you the organic traffic you were hoping for.
Educating Yourself about Marketing on Social Media is a Must
Whether you are a lazy business owner who is trying out marketing on social media for the first time or a company who wants to opt for in-house social media strategies – educate yourself and your employees. Social media is a great tool for connecting your potential audience and gaining brand loyalty with your current consumers. Customers these days prefer leaving feedback on social media, be it positive or negative, and since almost everyone is on social media channel these days, not leveraging them will be a huge mistake.
When I started off using social media, I made sure the content was awesome and it connected the audience with our website and its products. But what I have learned overtime is that it’s not enough to have just good content. There is definitely more to social media than meets the eye. Because let’s admit it, there is an over-saturation of competing content everywhere online and no social media channel is safe. You will also need a budget to go with the ideas and strategies for marketing on social media many times because your content is fighting for place with other interactive content in your audience’s social media news feed.
So how far did you go before you realized what your strategies for marketing on social media lacked? Share your story with us.
Sana is the communications director and content specialist at Bevo Media. When she isn't working, she loves to read and paint.