Few careers are as fun and frustrating as social media marketing. Despite how fast technology is changing, social media marketing is still young and misunderstood. Some people think that Facebook and Twitter are magical marketing worlds where everything goes viral. None of this is true! My friends, here are 5 truths about social media that may not be warm and fuzzy, but you need to hear!1. It’s Not Magic
There is this weird misconception that with social media you can make a few posts and the business will roll in. Brands of all shapes and sizes that know they need to be active on social media, but just can’t seem to crack the code to success. Crushing your business goals with social media takes time, strategy and budget. I challenge you to find any brand that has a huge, successful case study based on simply winging it with a few tweets. It doesn’t happen. If you are going to leverage social media to drive business results, you have to understand that success takes commitment, consistency and adaptation.
2. It’s Not Free
While social media marketing is the most cost effective way to get your content in front of a highly targeted audience, it’s not free or even cheap. When thinking about the cost of social media, you have to take time into consideration. How much time does it take to create content? How much time does it take to publish and monitor content? How much time does it take to execute advertising promoting your content? This all comes into play. From experience, brands put a lot of time and money into their SEO strategies (which is important), and seem to leave social media to a junior level staff member. Would you leave sales calls to an intern? Probably not, right? Treat your social media presence like any other marketing channel and carve out an appropriate budget. With the right employee (or agency partner), you will find that investing in social media will boost major brand marketing KPIs across all marketing channels.
3. It's the Future
Social media has forever changed the way we communicate and will never go away. Considering the amount of usage and impressions social sites get, they might as well be considered on the same level as major news networks. Would you scoff at the opportunity to get your brand a primetime placement on FOX, NBC or ABC? Even if you are semi-resistant to social, you are doing your brand a huge disservice by not jumping in and giving it a shot. Even if you or your direct target audience don’t currently consider themselves “social power users”, there is a crop of people growing up who always had these platforms and businesses are already courting them for future business. Where will your brand be in 5 years without a social presence?
4. Strategy Matters More Than Tactics
The fun part of social media marketing for most people is the actual Tweeting, Instagramming or posting on Facebook. However, tactics without strategy is a waste of time and money. Many times brands fail to define why they are Tweeting and skip right to talking about what they will be tweeting. Do you know the difference between strategy and tactics? Strategy is the overall campaign plan while tactics are the actions uses to achieve said plan. Tactics without strategy will always fail. In thinking about strategy, it’s also important to consider which tactics are important and which are nice to have. Start with your goals, define your strategy and THEN figure out how to get there.
5. You Need to Re-Think Relationships
Social media marketers generally fall into 2 different categories: idealists and realists. Idealists will preach that brands need to build relationships directly with users on social media to have success marketing to them. Realists know that relationships are important, however no individual person turns to a brand for emotional support. We have to re-think relationships when it comes to social media. If we work towards providing value to social users more than trying to unrealistically be their best friends, we truly see social media drive results. Now, don’t get me wrong. It is entirely possible for brands to have marketing messages that emotionally connect with social users. However, when you scale that out over how many brands and social users there currently are, we see that it is simply unrealistic. Consumers don’t look to logos for relationships. They look to logos for value. Brands have to stop trying to squeeze in as a best friend and start offering lasting value.
So what do you think about these truths? Do you agree or disagree? I’d love to hear from you!