There aren’t many counter arguments when we talk about social media tactics being part of a business strategy. Of course, you would say. Yet it’s wise to think about what social media platforms can be profitable and why.
Brand awareness vs. Conversion
In order to do that, you first have to define why you use social media as a tactic. Do you want more brand awareness or is conversion more important? Big businesses with giant marketing budgets can afford to go for both goals. Improving awareness is absolutely possible with the use of advertisements. Same for conversion. But only with the right budgets. That is the problem that smaller businesses have to deal with with hardly a team of social media experts or available budget.
So what is your goal? In this blog there’s a focus on what is possible with social media with smaller budgets for smaller businesses.
An urgent question
Which social media should be used? In order to find out the answer on that question you can research your target audience. It’s indeed necessary and helpful to get an insight in what channels they use, but more important is to find out what channels and tools they use to find an answer on their urgent question or need. The urgent question for which they need to end up at your business for the solution.
The purpose of most social media
Most social media platforms will hardly ever lead a user to you to answer his/her question simply because most social media aren’t designed that way. Social media have an entertainment function and, not completely surprising, a social function. Of course, throughout past years many opportunities have been created for businesses (and people) to become (more) visible and many have leveraged that. It shouldn’t be a surprise that to achieve that you mostly have to pay. After all, Facebook is a business and wants to make money. But just as a TV commercial interrupts a viewer, so does a – whether paid or not – corporate post. Question this: is your target audience waiting for your business ad at that moment?
Why social media often has little effect
The lifespan of social media posts is relatively short. Twitter is the fastest changing platform. A tweet has a lifespan of approximately 15 minutes. It’s one of the reasons some users post the same tweet twice a day. There’s a bigger chance it’ll reach a different audience the second time.
Facebook is next. Before a post dies 6 hours have past. Posting more often might perhaps give more results, but creating content that actually has value for the reader three times a day… is quite the challenge.
Then there’s Instagram and Linkedin. Post have a lifespan of 21 to 24 hours.
The volatility of social media can’t be denied. We can imagine that content has to be super interesting or relevant for someone not to scroll further. Try to place yourself in the user’s shoes – not hard if you use social media too. Does the user want to see your post? If so, what content will resonate and grabs their attention?
It must to be said that this does not necessarily indicate that volatile social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin can’t have any effect, but there is a greater risk that it will. A successful social media strategy is about reaching your audience. What I mean with that is that all your energy needs to be focused on grabbing the attention of your ideal audience. When are they online? What content do they respond best on? A thorough daily analysis can give you insights in these numbers. But remember most importantly: don’t post for the sake of posting. Create engaging content that your reader truly wants to read and will help. Because that’s what marketing is about: empathy and providing service – according to Seth Godin in his book This is Marketing.
Which social media perform best and why
Let’s place ourselves again in the shoes of a person with a problem. Let’s say Jan is looking to solve an ants problem in his kitchen. What is the first thing he’ll do when he uses the internet? Exactly! Open a search engine and type in his question. The results will help him find a solution.
Unlike previous mentioned social media there are platforms with a longer lifespan and simultaneously have sort of a search engine function. YouTube for instance. It’s being seen as social media. A definition of social media is: a site that provides a network for people to connect. The advantage to YouTube is that not only the lifespan of a video does exceed twenty days, videos also appear in Google search results. That’s the reason many companies invest in video content and post it on YouTube, because it’ll significantly increases their presence on the internet and the chance of being found on specific keywords. In addition, YouTube is also regularly used to look up information, in addition to the other function it has, namely a source of entertainment.
The same applies to Pinterest. This is an interesting medium especially for retail, photography and visual products and services. Pinterest pins appear in Google image results, which again gives an extra chance to be found. A Pinterest post has a lifespan of four months.
Nowadays it is also easier to find content on Linkedin if you enter a subject in the search bar and click on the “content” filter. However, this does not mean that the lifespan of an average post doesn’t disappear. What LinkedIn can be a nice extension for is the real long-tail content: blogs. If you can use the content over and over, blogs will last at least two years. With the right content in blogs you can use marketing with the most effect. As Seth Godin said, the best marketers are the ones who offer solutions and opportunities to people to solve their problems and help them keep going. The right social media can support a blog and increase its reach.
Let’s think about Jan again. He has just read a blog about measures to prevent an ant infestation. That blog was on a website where he could also order products to solve the problem now.
About 64% of companies spend 6 or more hours a week creating social media content. 37% spend 11 hours or more. This does not include the time for creating blogs, newsletters, videos, podcasts, etc. Ask yourself: are these hours spent wisely? Does it return the investment? Does it reach your set goals?
Taking a critical attitude towards all forms of marketing within a company can never be wrong. Certainly in the field of platforms that change regularly. More than 2 years ago, young people indicated that they no longer look at advertisements on their feeds and simply scroll over them. Will they develop a sense that older generations do not have?
However it may be; keep focusing on marketing strategies and tactics that really make a difference in business results. The amount of likes or followers on a page says nothing at all, they only flatter your ego.
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