social media

There's No Quitting in Social Media

Just like there's no crying in baseball. 

Social media marketing just became more difficult. With articles/blog posts flying around from Forrester, Fast Company and the Wall Street Journal, everyone has an opinion about using social media to market your business/product and why it may be a waste of money and time. Here's my opinion, because hey, it's my blog, the perfect spot for my opinions.

What it all boils down to is that we're circling back to the way things were before social media, when traditional marketing channels were over saturated. We had to get creative with how we broke through the noise & clutter of our competition and consumer interests outside of our own industry. Abandoning social media, cutting out the spend in both time & money, may seem like a great decision, but to me, it's a cop out. It's showing that we are caving in the face of difficult marketing challenges. NOW is the time to rise up and show off our creative chops. Being relevant and timely is what we're striving for in social, understanding our consumer so ridiculously well that they are the ones who want to be a part of our community, without us begging (aka paying) to get them. We must find out about them, our target consumer, so they can spread the word about us to their network.

This all goes back to having a solid marketing mix. If your goal is to build your email list, use every tool you have to do so, and to me, this includes Facebook & Twitter. I agree that we're swinging pay-to-play on an increasing number of channels, but that doesn't mean leave them behind. It means be smart with your marketing budget and leverage what you can on the platforms that make sense for your brand. This is why I'm a huge proponent of marketing managers absorbing social media strategy & execution.

When should you abandon social channels? When your consumer is not there. If you know that the majority of your consumers are, say, females between 30-35, why exactly wouldn't you be on Pinterest? Go where your consumers ARE.

Branded Communities: Something else that comes up in these articles is the mention of and encouragement to starting your OWN community. They reference brands like PlayStation and Red Bull. I can think of a few myself who have done well in this arena. What do brands like that have that a lot of companies don't? MONEY. PEOPLE. VENDORS. UBIQUITOUS BRAND RECOGNITION. If you build it, they will not come. You must build it, advertise it, get press about it, advertise it some more, incentivize consumers, incentivize some more, gameify it, advertise that you're incentivizing it, oh and ensure that the user experience is top notch. This is a lot for the small to medium-sized brand to take on. Probably too much.

What do you have, Mr. & Mrs. Small- to Medium-Sized Business? You have access to platforms where there are millions of people. You can spend limited budget and (wo)man-hours to make the most of these channels where consumers already are. You can understand your consumer so well that regardless of platform, your consumers want to talk to you. THAT is your goal.

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Other great articles on Facebook's algorithm change and taking a step back to look at your social media marketing:




What Are You Going to Talk About in Social?

That seems like an easy enough question, right? What are the first things that pop into your mind? My guess is: "me" "me" "me" but with cool photos and graphics. "People will love it because it has a pretty picture and they love us." I hope I can change your mind.

Your content strategy for social needs to start from the very root of good marketing: knowing your audience. If you do it right, you should be creating a strategy that includes the following:

  • Overall brand marketing strategy/plans 
  • In-store promotions/discounts/offers/programs
  • Your existing audience (make a persona!)
  • Your aspirational audience (make a persona!)
  • Your brand's tone and personality
  • Keywords that are in line with your brand positioning/essence
  • Brands outside of your industry that your audience may be interested in (alignment brands)
  • Lifestyle topics your audience associates themselves with: home, fashion, cars, accessories, family, food, etc.

This list ends up being pretty darn close to the 80/20 rule I have mentioned before. 80% of your content is about THEM - your audience & their lives - and 20% of your content is about YOU - your marketing messages/sales pitches.

Our goal as social media strategists and managers - content creators and community managers - is to find the content that resonates with your audience and talk about it. Over and over again, in all different ways. You will need imagery that supports this content, promotions and programs that bring your content to the next level and the kind of brand personality that actual people want to engage with. You are here, in social media, to connect with your consumer in ways that surprises them.

Do you know, by doing qualitative and quantitative research, that your audience loves horses? Then why aren't you talking about horses in your social media posts? Every post does NOT need to be about your sales message. People see right through that and it annoys them. Think of your own social media feeds. Are you more likely to like/comment/share/heart/retweet/favorite/repin a post from a brand about their products or a post that is about your love of horses? Probably the latter. 

Get creative. You can do this, you just have to think outside of the traditional marketing box. Do your homework, learn about your audience and start testing content. If something does well, analyze why it did well, and do it again. And again. Soon you will have an arsenal of content that you know will be well-received.