Social Media, Are You Doing It Wrong?

“Social Media doesn’t work…”
If I had $100 every time I heard a business owner say this, I’d be writing this article from my vacation home in the Maldives. I remember meeting with a client who firmly disliked social media. In addition to “corrupting people’s minds,” they claimed to have “never seen a cent come from social media.” And of course, when I swiped through their social accounts, I found exactly what I expected, uninteresting and inconsistent posts. Discovering that later they had eventually closed their doors.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been managing a company’s social media account for a while, or if you’re in the early stages. Planning & executing a brand’s social marketing efforts can be a full-time job. Sorting through thousands of good and bad advice is just part of the work, and the internet is full of “experts” who claim to hold the secret to going viral.

Social media channels are in a constant state of evolution, and it’s one thing to want to ‘build a social media presence’ and another thing altogether to do it. The competition for attention online is constant and it’s a real challenge to get your company to stand out from the noise and get people to engage. Putting time and effort into your social channels only to gain a few followers each week can sometimes feel pointless.

That’s why we’re cutting through the mess and exposing a few of the most common mistakes companies are making in social media. Let’s identify and share how to avoid the pitfalls that weaken your engagement and overall marketing efforts.

1. You Don’t Need to Be on Every Social Media Platform
Every time a new social media platform arrives, somewhere on the planet, a business owner throws a smartphone at the marketing department with an order to create a new account and start posting! As a marketing agency, we see too many businesses trying to “reach everyone” and wasting valuable time and resources managing too many social accounts.

The key to choosing which platforms to use is in understanding where your audience spends their time online. Discovering where your target audience is, and what they want is crucial to your marketing performance. Don’t make assumptions based on trends or popularity. You can search with hashtags, for groups, with surveys, emails, and even utilize free software to find where your customers are spending their time. This information is necessary to determine the best platforms to focus your social media marketing.

Speaking to everybody is a little like tossing a stone in the ocean and asking someone to find it. Trying to be visible on all networks only waters down your resources and takes time away from the channels that bring successful results. Businesses that “do it all” either have an abundance of labor and money to successfully market on each platform, or their results are flat and disappointing. Identifying your audiences will make better use of your time, money & resources. It’s worth the effort.

2. Long-term Consistency Beats Short-term Intensity
We get it. It’s easy to take some photos and add a cute filter and a hashtag or two. But unless your business was only opening their doors for a few weeks, longevity and consistency (which is hard) is essential. You don’t have to be exceptional with every post, but at a minimum, you need to be at a level that even on a bad day, you get points on the board. You may not like what I’m about to share, but here it is: successful brands post at least 1x a day, and on some channels as much as 15x a day (if using Twitter).

You don’t have to post as much as the big companies, but you can aim for a higher level of frequency and consistency. That’s why many businesses create an editorial calendar, as it helps with big picture thinking, organized messaging, and smarter strategy. By building campaigns for 3 months at a time, you can dedicate a block of time each week or month to creating your social content. Nowadays, software automation is a useful and inexpensive option that frees up more time for real one-on-one engagement. And it’s a much better solution than letting social content take you away from other daily tasks and important activities.

It takes time to build a loyal following, gain trust, and nurture relationships. And sometimes after a single post, it can feel like you’re making a small dent in a massive amount of content generated on the internet. The key to building and growing an audience is being consistent and active for the life of your account. Publishing regularly gives your audience a reason to come back frequently and engage with your brand. In the world of social media algorithms (and all marketing) consistency of performance is essential.

3. Building Followers Doesn’t Equate to Increasing Revenue  
“I have more followers than you” is great for bragging rights, but if you’re unable to make a connection with your audience then don’t count on them buying anything. Collecting fans might seem like the most important goal, but that’s counter-intuitive to the real value of social media. The quantity of your followers is not as important as the quality of the people following your brand.

The unique thing with social media (and in my opinion the best thing) is that when you consider all the advertising channels at your disposal, social media is the only platform to have a 2-way conversation. Talking directly to customers is one of the most powerful ways a business can increase revenue. Think about it, the fastest way to establish rapport, build trust, and make a sale –is through relationships. Stop worrying about the numbers and start having conversations and connecting with consumers. Social Media algorithms favor content that gets engagement. So, if you’re not using social media to help create meaningful connections, then you’re not doing it right.

4. One Message for All Platforms Doesn’t Work Anymore  
Okay, full confession. I’m guilty of doing this in the past, and maybe you have too. Back in the day, it wasn’t so bad when we only had 1 or 2 platforms to post on, but that practice expired a while ago. The emergence of several strong social media apps has accelerated the growth of segmented audiences and created unique channels of communication. Each platform demands a different messaging plan. You only need to search the “groups” section in Facebook and depending on your keywords you’ll find thousands of people in thousands of groups. Each audience has its own unique desires, habits, and goals.

To succeed in today’s social marketing, you need to deeply understand each channel’s audience and tailor your messages for each one. To illustrate, Facebook is a channel where we mostly connect with friends and family. By connecting deeply with the audience and helping them, you can build lasting relationships. On the other hand, Instagram shows you what dreams and passions look like. You can say everything with fewer words by using gorgeous photos and images. When we focus on providing content that is targeted by audience and by platforms, we will communicate and add value to our customers’ social feeds in the way they want and need.

Interestingly, some businesses even use Facebook specifically to nurture lead growth while using Twitter to provide customer service and education. This allows those companies, who understand the different audiences, to take advantage of each platform and achieve different goals.

The difference between people who feel social media doesn’t work and those who make sales, grow their customer base and build genuine trust and credibility with their social media accounts is simple. They found the process that works. They put in the effort to discover where their audiences spend their time and use each platform to accurately communicate what customers want to see and feel. They create that content with consistency, and regularly observe, interact, and adjust to improve.

The average person spends as much as 3 hours per day on multiple social apps. That’s why social media is one of the most popular marketing platforms. It connects you with your followers, notable influencers, and valuable customers. If leveraged right, your business will gain more qualified leads and boost customer loyalty.

If you don’t have the time to dedicate to your social media strategy or are looking for new ideas to turn things around, reach out! We’d love to hear from you.

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