Before you jumped into social media marketing, you probably envisioned a Facebook page flooded with beautiful images, compelling posts and a slew of engaged followers. And, how could you not have these expectations? Facebook alone is reaching 2.2 billion monthly active users. 95% of online adults, ages 18-34 years, follow a brand online. 71% of consumers who have a positive social media experience with a brand are more likely to recommend that brand in the future.
Even though the statistics are promising, many businesses struggle to see real engagement on social media. You are certainly not alone. While it makes sense to have some footprint on social media, the question is, is it worth your time? Could you be putting your resources into something more effective such as search engine marketing (SEM)?
Making the Most of Social Media Marketing
This article featured in B2B Marketing Zone brought up some great points about social media, particularly for B2B companies. In fact, it made the bold suggestion that some companies may be able to skip social media altogether. I’m not suggesting that you do this, as social media does help your brand stay relevant. But, it’s an interesting point to think about, especially when considering how much time and money should go into maintaining these channels.
Here are a few things I tell my clients when they ask about social media marketing.
Have Realistic Expectations
Social media is a great avenue for reaching your audience, sharing news and updates and showing a more personal side to your business. But, don’t expect it to transform your business or bring in exorbitant customers and sales.
Find Your Niche…and Do it Well
I always recommend looking at competitor profiles. This gives you a good idea of the types of posts that are most engaging, things you can do better and gaps you can fill. That said, don’t try to top what your competitors are doing. Find your niche and do it well, even if it means connecting with a small but engaged audience. Which brings me to my next point…
Strive for Quality Not Quantity
When one brand has 2k followers on Twitter and another has 550, it definitely looks like the former is more popular. We all judge pages based on followers, but try to focus on the quality of your followers. A page with thousands of followers will still be boring if no one cares.
Have Some Time in Your Schedule
Social media is alive, so you must be willing to give it attention every day – even on the weekends. If you don’t have the time, you can hire a dedicated social media account manager. Small B2B companies may be better off having one channel that they can give attention to and using the rest of their budget for SEM.
Pursue Other Relationships
Social media helps you connect with sales prospects, but it can also be used for other relationships. Social influencers are becoming a popular way to get products and services in front of highly targeted audiences. Investing time into meeting influencers can help you increase visibility and sales.
Use Social Listening Tools
One last piece of advice I give to clients is to engage in social listening. Various social listening tools are available – some free, some paid. Test them out and see which ones work best for your business. A few of my personal favorites include Hootsuite, Klout and Buzzsumo. By monitoring conversations around your brand, you can learn about your audience, gain valuable insight and solve customer challenges.
So, is Social Media a Waste of Time?
The honest answer is, it depends. I believe it’s important to have a presence on social media, because how often you post and engage with customers is an indication of how healthy your business is. Plus, you have the opportunity to connect with brand influencers and be there for customers that have questions or concerns.
At the same time, it’s important to have realistic expectations for what social media marketing will do for your brand. If your expectations are not practical, you’ll end up disappointed, and you could start throwing more time and money into trying to reach your vision.
In addition to having realistic expectations, it’s also important to have a well-defined strategy, a manageable budget and some time to give. As long as you follow the advice above, social media can be an asset and not a waste of time.
If you’re ready to take a fresh approach to your social media marketing strategy, or still deciding if social media is right for you, contact WSI Net Advantage at 510-687-9737. We can discuss your business, your expectations for social media and other important areas of your digital marketing strategy.
Kevin Dean, President of WSI Net Advantage…
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