Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Vine, YouTube, SnapChat … there are hundreds of social media sites out there that your business can be on.
But do they really work? Or is it simply a big waste of resources that you can be dedicating somewhere else. Maybe we just need to first define what “work” really means.
1. Start with the goals first or be prepared to get disappointed. Without having clear goals as to what you expect to do on social media it will be very difficult to define what success looks like. If brand awareness is your goal, then measure reach not fans and followers. If conversions on your website is your goal, then measure conversions from social media with your Google Analytics. If building an active and loyal online community is your goal, then measure engagement on your social channels. Once you know what you want to measure on each platform, find the right tool to help you get to the numbers you need. The marketplace is saturated with social media measurement tools for every budget. By the way, when was the last time you set a specific goal like this for your traditional marketing and were able to measure it?
2. Do you have a content strategy or are you just coming up with things to post? Social Media will only work if you do it right. Too many marketing professionals are using it old school way to send out their promotions and latest events. But people don’t care about their ads and promotional messages so they ignore them which means that engagement is low and this in turn drives marketers crazy as they are struggling with how to increase engagement on their social channels. In reality, that’s pretty simple. Come up with ways to provide value to your audience, answer their questions, and give them resources they won’t find anywhere else. In other words, come up with a content strategy before you start sending out posts about your latest promotion.
3. It’s not about you. Social media is a two way dialogue, so keep that in mind before you say it doesn’t work. With the visual aspect of the web, you can really do so much more to show your business online than you can in the traditional marketing way. People like to be entertained while they are on social media, so have a bit of fun with them too. Staying top of mind doesn’t always mean a hard sell, right? Have you seen the $1 shave club Youtube ad? It’s funny but it also gets the point across. Focus on your audience needs and give them what they want. They will remember you and come to you when they need you.
4. You won’t achieve success overnight. Unless of course, you come up with a super viral video that gets million views overnight which can happen, it will take you time to build up your audience. Try to identify where they are and connect with them there. Provide good content on a regular basis and you will build up a good group of advocates that will do the marketing for you. Just be patient and consistent in your efforts and social media will work for you too.
Milena Regos is principal and founder of Out & About Marketing, an Incline Village-based digital marketing and social media consulting firm. She can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.