By patrick | Thu, 11/19/2015 - 15:00
I recently gave a talk to the local Chamber of Commerce in which I outlined some general standards for Social Media and how to use it. The talk itself was fine, and I was happy to be asked to do it. But in my experience going to a lot of other talks on digital marketing media, I’ve been shocked to see that the presentations are usually about ten miles ahead of where people actually have questions.
Predominantly, when I listen to the questions asked at these get-togethers, many people (including small business owners, single proprietors, and consultants) have questions about the basics. How do I get started? What should I post? How often do I need to post content?
Until somebody gets the answers to these basic questions, talking in depth about re-marketing strategy, hashtag campaigns, and SEO benefits, can be very confusing to the average small business owner. With this in mind, I kept my presentation to the basics, and took a simple approach to providing hints and direction.
The Biggest Issue
There are a few things to remember when you start to look at Social Media Marketing; but, the biggest issue I’ve found is the misunderstanding of how it works. Simply put, using platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. is not like using radio, print and television.
In more traditional media, you buy time (a whole lot of it) and broadcast advertisements over and over again (repetition) in order to generate some recognition in your target audiences. As people continue to hear, see, and read your ads over a long period of time, their minds make the connection between your company and a potential service they need. This takes a lot of effort, time, and money.
Social media – though the concept of repetition is still relevant – is much different. Those that continue to post ads, commercials and interruptive content are likely to get tuned out of people’s consciousness, and – through the use of the algorithms within the system – find themselves dropped right out of people’s news feeds.
Keep it Social
In Social media, your ad isn’t and shouldn’t be the focus. Rather (and the whole “social” thing should be a big hint) the focus in social media marketing is the audience and individuals. Posting content that invites comments, shares and likes is far more beneficial than posting dry ad copy that people are bound to forget anyways. Don’t believe me? Think about the last ad you saw on Facebook – what did it say? Can’t remember? Don’t worry, neither can I.
But, what if I asked you the last company page you liked or commented on? Most people are more likely to remember a comment they made on a page, and why. Usually, they’ve posted about how much they like something, or potentially, something they didn’t like. The fact of the matter is, they’ve engaged with a company, and created an initial contact point – a situation that will allow the savvy marketer to further engage the potential customer.
Long and short, the most effective way to use social media is to use it in a manner that allows for or invites actual interaction from your audience. Keep the “Social” in social media, and you’re likely to find far better engagement and value out of your marketing. If you can remember that, and continue to post content that makes people want to like, share or comment, you’ll find yourself reaching the next level of Social Media Marketing expertise pretty quickly, and leaving your competition behind.
If that still doesn’t help, here are the standard answers I give to people for their standard questions:
Q: How do I get started?
A: Go online, sign up for a Facebook page, or Twitter account, or YouTube page, or…
Q: What should I post?
A: Ads are ok – but don’t be all about the advertising. Use the 2/3 1/3 rule – for every ad, post 2 things that aren’t ad related.
Find an article about your industry, and post a comment about it. Write an article on the favorite part of your job, and post it. Find anything that relates to your business in some way and post your opinion about it. Then, ask your followers if they agree or disagree.
Q: How often do I need to post?
A: As often as you like. Obviously, the more relevant content you post, the more likely people are to start checking out what you have to say. But don’t for a second believe that you need to be posting every hour. Quality, not quantity, matters more.