A successful and effective social media presence isn’t voodoo, or another one of the black arts. It’s simply tried-and-tested marketing process applied to other channels.
Perhaps, like many business owners, you’re looking at this year as being an opportune time to pin your business on the social media map. A social media presence is no longer the bleeding-edge of a company’s communication, awareness-building, and engagement strategy.
If you are about to venture into building a social media presence for your business, may I give you a few words of warning.
Many businesses spread themselves too thinly when it comes to social media. There are so many sites to choose from. Where should one start?
Which Social Media Channel?
It’s tempting to think that you need to be on all of them. After all, you may be missing out on attracting possible customers, right?
Technically you’re correct. But surely your business should already know where your customers are, when they are there, and what your organization should be communicating when they are listening?
Social media doesn’t abdicate your responsibility in finding and directing relevant messaging to new and existing customers. If anything, the potential it gives you allows better, more timely, and more effective communication across the channels your customers expect to see you.
Channels such as Snapchat, Instagram, or Pinterest aren’t going to magically make your business more attractive. Social media isn’t voodoo, it’s simply marketing – albeit via channels you’re not as familiar with.
Social media vehicles are simply other ways of getting in front of potential – and existing – customers. The process of finding, attracting, engaging, selling to and following-up with them is the same: you’re just using different tools.
Being (Only) Where Your Customers Expect You To Be
Thinking you need to be on every social media channel is the same as thinking that you need to put an ad on every TV channel, radio station, billboard, or newspaper. After all, there may be a customer out there who’ll see it, right?
The problem with such thinking is that customers don’t expect to see you everywhere. If you sell million-dollar database software to Fortune 500 companies, there’s not a lot of point advertising your product at your local cinema. In the same way you don’t tend to see many single malt scotch distilleries taking out full page ads in “Mother and Baby” magazine, do you?
The second point: Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that because being on a channel is free, social media marketing is somehow cheap.
If you’re serious about using a particular social channel for your business, you need to create and distribute content on a regular basis. You need a content strategy so you have a plan on what you say, where you say, how often, and at what time. You should be optimizing content and messaging for each social media channel on an individual basis. You need to monitor reach, and engage accordingly. You should be participating in your audience’s online conversations by contributing relevant and useful information along the way.
All of that takes planning, forethought, and effort. Which costs you time and money.
As social media strategy consultant Jay Baer is fond of saying: “Social media isn’t inexpensive, it’s different expensive.”