The social media revolution is well underway. If Facebook were a country, it would be the largest population in the world, with over 1.79 billion monthly active users per month.
Take a look at these social media stats:
- 91 percent of retail brands use two or more social media channels
- Internet users have an average of 5.54 social media accounts
- Social networks earned an estimated $8.3 billion from advertising in 2015
- 83 percent of consumers trust online peer recommendations
- 93 percent of marketers use social media for business
Except, perhaps, yours…?
Where Are You?
Social media is one of the most asked-about marketing subjects by anyone I run into now a days. When I gage the social “temperature” of where small business owners are I can usually count on them falling into one of three categories:
- I don’t care what people had for lunch
- I’m thinking seriously about using social media for my business, but I haven’t started
- I’m using social media tools but not strategically. I don’t really know what I’m doing
Those in categories two and three may still be in business in five years.
The only wrong way to do social media is to not do it. But there are things to consider if you want to make it work well for you.
When people in business say “marketing,” they often really mean “sales.” Given how confused many people are about marketing versus sales, it’s understandable that using social media has been so disappointing for many businesses that have dabbled in it.
Somehow, everyone thinks that social media is supposed to generate sales. That’s not the role of social media.
In her article, “Five Things Your Digital Agency Isn’t Telling You” author Jessica Payne clears it up:
“There exists a misconception that digital campaigns are sales tools. This isn’t the case. They are simply the platforms where content exists, audiences gather, conversations happen and interest is gained.
The right content strategy will leverage social media to communicate messages of value and raise interest in the right areas.
“If done well, audiences will go where more information can be found and ultimately purchases will be made. So it’s not the campaigns themselves that generate the sales.”
Social Media Brand Voice
So what does this mean? There is a different way to “speak” on these social media platforms. The name of the game is value and storytelling. Your content (your message) has to serve, not sell.
Erik Qualman, author of What Happens in Vegas Stays on YouTube nailed it when he said:
“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media. The question is how well we do it.”
Like the person who goes from person to person at a party, handing out cards and reciting his elevator speech, the annoying pop-up ad that intrudes on your experience of a website, or the “but wait, there’s more!” infomercial for a silly kitchen appliance, social media content that sells, …doesn’t sell.
Social media is, well, SOCIAL media. If you’re using social media well, you’re like the person at the party whom everyone agrees is the most interesting person in the room. That’s because you are paying attention to each person, asking questions about them, answering their questions, being engaged in what matters to them, providing useful information and referrals and telling great stories.
Here is how you can tell:
- They want to linger longer in your circle and hang out again with you
- They tell their friends about you
If you are using social media for your business, take an honest look at your last month’s activity. Which “person at the party” are you?
If you’re not using social media, here are some tips for getting started.
HAVE A PLAN Like any good communication plan, you must know and understand your audiences. What are their demographics? Are they women? Men? How many of them are there? Where do their interests intersect with yours? What social media do they actually use? Are your competitors there?
- Here are six quick steps on what to consider when starting out:
- Choose your networks
- Fill out your profiles
- Find your voice and tone
- Pick a posting strategy
- Analyze and test
- Automate and engage
- If you have a marketing professional on your staff, he or she can guide you through a planning process.
Really make a commitment to learn the value that social media can bring to your business. I’d love to keep the conversation going in the comments. If you know someone who could use this article, feel free to pass this along.