When done right, Social Media can level the playing field in business—it’s the equalizer between small and large companies. Even the smallest business can reap big rewards from Social Media. So if that’s true, why do so many businesses fail while others succeed?
Most businesses and marketers are active on at least one form of Social Media—the problem is that not all of them are marketing to their audience on these platforms. Often when we are creating a new website for a client, usually during the initial Information Architecture planning phase we hear, “We need a link to our Facebook page from our new website” or whatever the Social Media platform of the day happens to be.
The chart to the right shows that in 2014, Social Media shares became an important traffic factor, taking market share from traditional search marketing.
I think it’s great when clients want to link up all of their connections and make the audience aware of the various platforms where they have content, the problem is that I can’t tell you how many times I have clicked through to the page only to see stale old content that has been sitting there without any updates for a while. This often leads us to hearing clients complain that their Social Media efforts are failing. It’s a shame because when there is a good plan in place, Social Media can be as effective or even better than a good SEO program is in driving traffic.
It’s not for a lack of trying on our part—with every new website we build we discuss Social Media and its benefits, but often times clients think it’s something that isn’t for them. Or worse, they feel they can get away with having an intern or someone’s sister’s friend’s neighbor’s cousin handle it. Sadly it makes me think back to the early days of the web when everyone was developing their own websites—many people figured out how to write HTML or use visual editors, but that didn’t make them professionals. The same thing is happening today—it’s so easy to set up Social Media accounts, start a business page and get going, but the problem is that not enough businesses are taking it as seriously as they should, so they end up neglecting their pages and complaining that it doesn’t work.
We Are All Using It
Consumers spend 1 hour and 7 minutes per day with Social Media in the US according to eMarketer. This means your business needs to be on the Social Media outlet where your target audience spends their time. This is good old fashioned Mad Men logic. The difference is that today you can’t be promotional or shout ME, ME, ME the way it was when marketers were able to simply push messages across three major TV stations. Today you need to engage with your audience, cultivate the relationship and provide value.
90% of small businesses are actively using Social Media and 74% say Social Networking is more valuable than face-to-face, yet only 35% of small businesses are achieving the results they want. This is due to a lack of a planning, goals, and clear objectives. These businesses have no strategy! It’s no surprise…after all they left it up to the interns.
- You must define what success looks like for your business
- Know your customer and understand what challenges you help them solve
- Pay attention to your competition
Businesses that fail at Social Media lack purpose, passion, planning, and execution. It is important to commit to a strategy that pushes your business forward or the time you spend working on Social Media will be a waste. Follow these tips to get started:
Determine Your Strategy
- Who is your target market?
- Why are they spending time online?
- What need does your product or service fill?
- What problems do you solve?
- How can you clearly articulate that?
Be A Resource
- Share valuable content…consistently
- Be visually appealing to create brand awareness
Listen and Respond
- Share and respond in real-time
Join The Conversation
- Make your presence known
Measure your efforts instead of wishing for results
- Analyze and adjust accordingly—identify what’s working and what isn’t
One thing in the coming year is certain, Social Media platforms will continue to evolve and provide new opportunities for marketers and businesses. This will make it more important than ever to have a solid strategy, use a mix of different Social Media networks, and to tailor your content and interactions to each network’s specific qualities and audience.
We help clients translate what success looks like for their business. We dive deep into who their customer is and identify and translate what challenges they help them solve. Following our simple process we build strategies for our clients that help build their brand, drive engagement, increase traffic, and ultimately bring in more customers. We don’t recommend our clients jump into Social Media because everyone else is there, we do it because it is effective and can help grow businesses.
Interested in Learning More?
If you’re struggling to put together a solid and effective Social Media strategy, I’d be happy to talk to you and help you succeed in Social Media and keep it from being an afterthought.