It is easy to become obsessed and overwhelmed with all aspects of marketing when we are building businesses, but never more than with social media.
Even the most consummate professionals would struggle to keep up being on all of them, regularly and to any quality. But they know that isn’t the right way to approach it. Just as an easy trap to fall into in the early days of business is to sell anything to anyone, so is trying to market to everyone and to market everywhere. Instead, it is a question of refining where, what and why.
This is, literally, a question of go where your audience is. You have to be very clear on your market personae – who are the people you are trying to reach. Are they local, what ages are they, what sex, what interests do they have, are they individuals or a business.
As a rough guide, Facebook and Twitter tend to attract millennials, whereas TikTok and Snapchat attract Gen Z. Pinterest has more female users. In other words, they all vary. You should be on the social media platforms, but proportionally so. One may be irrelevant, only a slight presence may be necessary on another, and most of your hard work might need to go on a third.
But before you make that decision, look at how the people are using that platform. You might have a massive audience on instagram for example, but they all use it to post about their babies and enjoying the social aspect, whereas you are selling office equipment to corporates.
The platforms are also continually evolving. Facebook used to be fantastic for organic growth whereas now it focusses on advertising revenue and prioritizes the companies that pay. However, it is good for community building, both in the sense of groups on the platform and also local or specialist groups with common reasons to interact. It tends to be much more effective for B2C companies than the B2B market.
LinkedIn is still unbeatable in the B2B market. The ability to target your audience and interaction with the right people is superb and a Sales Navigator account is a must. Twitter used to be great for interaction and has tools to help you identify potential customers. And Threads is the new kid on the block, threatening to take its place. All are evolving fast at the moment however so still a bit of an unknown. And for visual content, Instagram takes a lot of beating. Then there are YouTube which is growing faster and faster, TikTok, Snapchat (both excellent for brand affinity), and, of course, Google +.
Branding matters when it comes to social media. Your success relies on the clarity of your brand and how that aligns to your audience. A big part of that comes from your brand values which you can read more about here.
But why does clarity of branding matter so much on social media? When people look at social media, they hear a voice, form a picture, and relate to it – or not. Unless you are consistant in your brand message, they will not have a clear idea of who you are.
Consistent messages make a clear image and facilitate a relationship and they need to be engaging, informative, eye catching. Merely announcing, “here is my business” is never going to get attention. A story with a passing mention of your business that is of real value to the reader might work. People want to read about what is current now, so be on-trend. Aim for a reaction, a smile, and a laugh or an “oh wow, that is interesting.” Emotional connections make customers.
But it has to be true to you. Never post something because you think you “should say it”. You will attract the wrong type of people to align to your brand. What you say has to be authentic. Lazy posts don’t cut it either. While it is tempting to post about National Hedgehog Day, unless you regularly post about wildlife conservation, it is going to appeal to only a small section of your office sundry buyers.
Try asking yourself two questions before you post: is it consistent to my brand and above all my brand “why”: will it bring my customers value and or provoke an emotional reaction. People connect with emotions.
Social media is a pointless exercise unless you have a clear strategy and understand what you are hoping to achieve by it. Too many people are thinking “I must do it; it means I get sales”. Social media isn’t that simple.
One example is to decide if you are trying to build your brand and develop followers and fans, or if you are aiming at instant sales. The approach is very different. Only when you are clear on what you are trying to achieve can you develop the right strategy and judge the results accurately.
People also tend to measure success in quantity of followers. But you can have 10k followers, none of whom are ever going to buy your products. Waste of time and effort. Far better to develop 100 who are and are also going to shout about your brand to others. It is quality not quantity that counts with social media.
Measure the results against your goals (not for quantity of followers). Find out if what you are doing is delivering, which bits succeed and fails to make a ripple. Measure each different platform, because one piece of content, one image, may work on one social media platform but fail to produce any results on another.
Good strategies deliver the right people, the right markets. Define your customer personae, decide which social platforms those target markets use and concentrate on them. Be clear on what you are aiming to achieve. And develop a clear, consistent voice.