Many times you here people say that social media doesn’t work, or that it is a waste of time, and in some instances business owners who have spent money out to other companies, have actually said that it is a bad investment. Hopefully by time you finish reading this you will see that not only is the social experience the best investment you can make for your business in regards to time, but this investment, if you do it the way I am going to talk to you about, can financially transform your business forever.
Explain that most people are doing social media wrong
When it comes down to it, most people are just plain doing it wrong. Now when I say people I’m not just talking about the novice business owner, I also mean the marketing agencies that isn’t doing anything but scheduling a few posts out for you, and this is a lot more common than you think. For some reason many people would have you believe that if you just put enough posts up, somehow you will make money. WRONG! There is one mentality that is really stopping you from reaching your true online power. Once you remove this idea from your head, you will be well on your way to become the brand leader that you desire to be, no matter what market you are in. So What am I talking about?
what social media isn’t. Social Media is not a sales tool
Stop trying to sell. Seriously! I know that the concept seems a bit foreign, however if you can stop trying to sell every five seconds, you might have a chance to come up with something unique, something authentic to your company. I mean really a sales pitch is a sales pitch right? So what makes you so different? It is a proven fact that the less you try to sell the more people become interested in what you have to say. However, have you ever actually thought about that? What do you have to say? Who are you online. What is your identity. If you are using these platforms as a sales tool, then your identity is that you will try to sell to anyone anywhere at the most inappropriate times. Congratulations you have just been relegated to slimy used car salesman status. And you really wonder why the sales aren’t flowing in? The truth is that most small businesses, and many large ones, really don’t know who they are. They have no sense of culture or pride in their brand, and because of this it is very hard to convince others to see value in them. Find your identity, and stop trying to sell.
now that you no it’s not sales, what is your goal for social media
Everyone should have a goal for their online identity and another for their social media. If you don’t, you are destined to fail. Identity is everything. Either you are someone or your no one. Every person who knows their identity, also has goals for where they want to go in life, and social engagement is no different. If you are going to use these platforms, you have to determine how you are going to use them, what do you plan to achieve from each social website. To be clear, most people with legitimate businesses do not sell on social media. There are no Facebook stores, or anything like that. Sales happens on your website, or as a result from visiting your website. How are people coming to your site? Now does this mean I have a problem with Facebook stores, and those that use them? Nope! It just means that there is a place for them. When looking at some of the best Facebook business pages online, you will notice that most are just filled with information and media about the brand, or lots, and I mean lots of user engagement, not sales.
what social media actually is…Customer Service!
For business, the one thing social media is above all else is customer service. Now I know to some of you owners and directors, and even middle management who generally treat your customer service department as nothing more than glorified secretaries, let me enlighten you. If you open up your customer service department to the world of social media and allow them to work their magic, you will be amazed at where your business will be in just a few months. Social media is about creating, sharing, and exchanging information. Customer service is about ensuring that a customer/user has a favorable/memorable user experience. Above all social media is the new front face of your business. By seeing these two as one and the same will help you better understand your business, and what consumers are looking for.
why understanding the intricacies of customer service is more important than ever.
Customer service can get a bit intricate, and if you don’t have a solid understanding of what customer service really is, you could be doing your business a great disservice. I first recommend sitting down with your customer service department and listening to their understanding of what they do…not the job description you gave them! If your company doesn’t have a customer service department, then ask some friends and collegues. You will be amazed at the responses. The main thing to understand is that the role is way more in depth then most give credit. More important, if a customer service rep decides to have a bad day and lose their temper, it could cost you lots of money, your reputation, even your business depending on the severity. Before you can really understand social media you have to become aquainted with customer service first. Then you may have a chance at establishing a solid brand. I truly believe that customer service used right is the new way to grow any business. Again, considering how most people treat customer service departments I know this section will fall on deaf ears, however for those of you that are forward thinking, if you really look in depth you will see the true power in your customer service department.
Which platforms should you use/not use
This is a common question, and the easy answer is the one that makes the most sense to you. DON’T join a social platform because your friend/neighbour/brother etc. told you you should. That is the quickest way to fail. While you do have an obligation to be where your users are, you can’t forget that you actually have to manage these platforms and be authentic. The truth is so platforms just don’t work for some businesses, and you have to figure out which will work for you. There are numerous free online websites out there that will tell you what websites users are using, and what information they are talking about. So do a little research, and find out who is talking about your industry and what platform, then create an account and join the conversation. It’s as simple as that.
How often should you post
There is no perfect amount on how often you should post and anyone who says there is is lying. Every industry is different, so you will need to study and experiment in your market to find out what works best for you. Again there are numerous free tools that can help you determine the best time of day to post, however you should know that this is based on your current follower/fan base. This means that if only one person is following you, then the days and times you will be given, will only be for that one person. So it makes sense to have a strong user base before exploring these more advanced tools. Don’t forget what you read above though. In order to have a strong following you have to offergreat information that people want to engage with, not sales.
What type of content should you post
Okay, this is where I may get a bit short with you, but I kind of have to to get the point across. If you are asking this question you should first ask should I actually be in business? You have to be in a business that you actually know something about, and if you want to be a market leader, you have to know more than anyone else about the subject. With that. If you can’t talk about your business or industry in 140 characters (about a sentence long), this line of work may not be for you. Despite what the numerous marketing agencies will have you believe only you know your business and what it’s identity is, and only you can be the true voice of your company. Does that mean you shouldn’t outsource to marketing agencies, not at all, but it does mean that you better know what your outsourcing and have a firm belief that your vision is being portrayed accurately. Hiring a company to help you with your social media can only be done two ways 1)you give them the information to use, or 2)they create their own view of who you are. Which approach do you think is the safest? I know what I would do, but what do I know.
Why you should ignore most social media plans/ people fail because they don’t understand social media, not because they aren’t posting enough.
Now don’t get me wrong I’m not saying all plans are bad, I’m just saying in the beginning they just aren’t necessary. It’s not an arms race to see who can post the most stuff. In fact it’s more an intelligence race to see who can post the most insightful, thought provoking content online. Think about it. What if person (a) posts a thousand “buy one get one free shoes” posts and a link, and person (b) made one post that said “free shoes for the next 24 hours” and a link. Which do you think would get clicked more. Of course “free shoes”, everyone loves a freebie. Even though they say essentially the same thing, one ad tells you to buy, while the other says that they will give you something. It’s not the volume of posting, but how the post is written that adds value. The problem with most social media plans is that they focus on posting at a high consistent rate. However if you are able to keep your audience engaged with high quality content, this just isn’t necessary, and it’s pretty much a waste of your time. Look, many people much smarter than me have been saying the same thing for years, and it will never change, and that is this. Quality relevant content will always engage users more than volume content. Again don’t take my work for it. Look at the brand leaders for whatever industry that you are in, and you will see that they are creating thought provoking content that makes its followers want to join the conversation, or add their own images, or upload videos, tell stories, etc.
So when it comes down to it, your social media marketing strategy should be a lot like your business plan, it should be tailored to you, not a copy of someone else’s. As well understanding proper customer service can be the difference maker in establishing yourself as a market leader, or just being a copycat of the actual market leader. Don’t be afraid to be unique, you’ll probably find that this is the fastest way to sucess. Social media is not the place for sales, and if you must sell use the Pareto principle, which in this instance means that you post 20% self serving ads and 80% conent for your users to engage with. Also make sure that you use the right platforms for you business, find where your audience actually is, and then set goals that make sense. Now these are just my thoughts, you may feel that the way forward is to go crazy selling on as many platforms as possible. You may also believe in cold calling. Either way, the choice is yours.