There are too many articles and blog posts about how to master social media marketing. Countless gurus and experts that have a ton of advice for you - and a social media marketing package to sell you to go along with that advice. Their advice is intentionally vague and make social media marketing out to be this difficult to master marketing channel that’s ultra complicated. Sometimes I wish people would stop writing about it. But instead, I’m adding to the pile.
To be fair, the gurus and experts are not completely wrong, because there’s certainly some intricacies and best practices that go along with correctly marketing your business via social media. But I can tell you, with complete certainty, that it’s not rocket science. You knew that, though.
It also isn’t this new thing or fad. It’s not going away. Social media has been around since the mid 90s and marketing on the various early social media platforms has always existed in some form. Let’s face it, though, Facebook is really where social media marketing began: and even that is over a decade old.
Let that sink in: social media marketing is over a decade old.
What that means for you is this: if you’re not doing it for your business then you’re further behind than you may think. Your customers are on social media, regardless of your vertical. This maybe excludes anyone selling solely to Tibetan Monks or the Amish. Everyone else needs to get on board, quickly. The ship began boarding years ago.
I know that you haven’t come here to be scolded. You want to know the key to effectively marketing your brand on social media.
It all comes down to two really simple factors: consistency and having reasonable expectations.
What you can (and can’t) expect from social media marketing
You can expect it to take some time to build a follower base. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter all sell ads that help you build a larger following for you company page, so it makes sense that they’d design their algorithm to make it at least a little bit difficult to build a large following.
You’re going to have to create a lot of content. It’s going to be difficult for some and easier for others. This will depend on the type of product or service you’re selling, how strong of a writer you are, and how much free time you have.
In the first few months it’ll feel like you’re hounding your friends and family because they’ll be a bulk of the likes, shares and comments you receive. That’s OK. This is helping you build some engagement and the more engagement you get the more likely the platform is to show your posts to other people.
Depending on your business or service, you may never be able to “close the loop” and attribute any sales to your efforts. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t driven any sales. Think about how you interact with brands on social media. You probably don’t make purchases the first, second, third, or even tenth time you see the brand name. Just like how you don’t see a billboard, tv commercial, or radio ad and immediately make a purchase. Life is happening, people get distracted and have things to do. But the impressions are being made. That’s how you should be measuring social media marketing success.
You can expect to realize that you are one tiny fish in an ocean. There were something like 65 million businesses with a Facebook page in 2017. It’s my guess that number hasn’t gone down. There’s also, unsurprisingly, billions of people (over 2 billion) on Facebook, with whom you will be competing for attention in the newsfeed.
You’ll realize that social media is only part of the battle. Digital Marketing is a fluid landscape and your channels (email, advertising, social media, influencers, SEO, etc) all depend on one another for the whole machine to really work well.
You’re going to want to consistently post on social media. Which can be tough, especially if all you post are self serving, “hey buy this”. People are going to ignore you and the platforms will bury your posts.
You need to give your target audience something they’re interested in - and I don’t mean giving away stuff.
I mean giving away knowledge.
Show them how to solve a problem that they have. If you’re a plumber, give them a tip on how to clean out a smelly garbage disposal. If you’re a real estate agent, maybe you give them some tips on first time home buying and include a list of grants and important resources that are available. You can do this right in your feed, but it’s even better to write a blog article and link to it in a post. This will get them onto your website, where you can cross promote your services. This is brand awareness via social media in a nutshell. Once they've purchased something or became a client, ask them to review you on social after an appropriate amount of time. This will create your cycle:
Social Media Post > Blog Post > Call to Action promoting goods or services > Sale/Client Acquisition > Review on Facebook
Consistency is so important because if you’re not, the platforms view as less of a contributor to the experience of their platform. They need us to continuously create content so that it stays interesting for all of their users. They reward you for frequent, consistent posts.
Here’s an example of a Twitter feed that we manage. In April 2018, we transitioned managers of this account and the consistency was lost. We posted only a handful of times and the results reflected the infrequent posts.
By July we were back on track and, well, the results speak for themselves.
The only thing that’s changed here is that we got back to our normal frequency of roughly 4 posts per week. April yielded 800 impressions and July yielded 18k. That’s reason enough to get consistent with your posting. We’ll never get April 2018 back, but it’s a lesson to stay consistent.
Once you’re consistent, you can look at the analytics provided by each platform and tweak your posting schedule. If you notice posting during the evening is better for your target audience, make sure you’re always posting then. If it’s Saturday morning, don’t miss a Saturday morning post. You can schedule content ahead of time, too. Apps like Buffer, Social Pilot, HootSuite etc all allow you to plan and schedule posts.
So get out there and get consistent. You’ll be glad that you did.
If you’d like help getting consistent, rounding out your content, or planning and managing your other marketing channels, we can help.