Doing social media is easy, right?
- Step 1: Visit Pinterest, search for 'inspirational landscape images' and repost the one that makes you feel the most warm and fuzzy inside to Facebook.
- Step 2: Find nearest animal, point camera and wait until said animal does something worthy of at least five favourites and two retweets on Twitter.
- Step 3: Share latest press mention of your company to LinkedIn and wait for business to roll in.
After all, if your 12 year old niece has over a thousand Instagram followers, how hard can it be, really?
Actually, doing social media is easy, but doing social media effectively is not. If we had a Twitter follower for every time a someone drastically underestimated the time and effort that goes into a successful social media campaign, Katy Perry would be eating our digital dust.
When it comes to social media content, there isn't some secret recipe that is reserved only for those willing to fork out £997 for some revalatory PDF 'How to' guide. In fact, the recipe isn't a secret at all. Here, we'll share it with you right now, for free:
- Take one or more pieces of valuable content.
- Glaze with a relevant and intriguing message.
- Leave to bake in the newsfeed for as long as possible.
- Serve when ready.
Not so hard, is it?
Well, actually the key to making social media content pie taste great is more about the quality of the ingredients (your message and offering), serving it to the right table (knowing your audience) and at the right time (when they're hungry).
Now, let's go a little deeper. Here are three things to consider when planning your social media strategy.
1. Forget Yourself and be Remembered
See that impossibly vast and chaotic digital space out there? It's not owned by the Coca-Cola Corporation or Starbucks Inc.; but rather the @evilkitten's and @jellypigs of this world (yes, they're real). In other words, the digital space belongs to people not brands. When you get a new follower or fan on social, all it means is that somebody is giving you a chance to win them over. What you do or say next, every time, is the deciding factor in whether they keep listening or not. The power is truly in their hands; they decide to opt out of receiving your content with the mere click of a button. The key is to tell the audience something they want to hear, not what you think they should want to hear.
Social media proliferated because it allowed us to do what we naturally do - express ourselves, connect with others and be educated, inspired and entertained - with infinitely increasing ease. Brands who choose to interrupt someone's surf time better be bringing something good to the party. What you don't want to be is 'that guy' who turns up to the party looking for a good time but doesn't bring their own booze. Instead, be the guy who brings snacks and booze for everyone, even though they're driving home and on a diet. Those guys get our attention. They forget about themselves and get remembered.
2. The 'Magic Wand' Myth
"Social media doesn’t fix anything. It just amplifies things. If your restaurant sucks, it just sucks harder in social media. It doesn’t make your chicken fingers taste better or your beer taste bolder. Social media is not a good place to go if you’re terrible at what you do”. — Scott Stratten, @Unmarketing
First things first; if you think a few Facebook posts are going to fill your restaurant, you're dead wrong. It's not that social media leads to sales, it's just that using social media as a sales tool isn't the winning strategy. So, before you invest anything further in social media, it's time to be honest about your expectations. When done right, social media is an amazing tool to build real relationships with your customers, engage a bigger and more relevant audience and give something back to the community. It will not turn your failing business around or double your turnover in six weeks. If you're lucky enough to have an irresistable product that people are clambering to get a piece of, it's time to accept that you're going to need to commit both time and effort to do this thing right (or hire someone to do it for you). As they say, Rome wasn't built in a day, and the same is true of a winning social media presence.
3. Don't Market the Product, Market Around the Product
For the average brand, the sad truth is that, most of the time, people just aren't interested (cue sad violin). Even if someone follows you on your social media, the chances that your new promotion will solve a problem or provide enough value to them to act in that moment is undoubtebly low. If, on the other hand, you wrote a blog article which addressed a common problem your target audience was facing, offered them a range of both free and affordable solutions - one may or may not be your product/service - then, not only have you demonstrated that you're putting the audience first, but that you're an authority on this subject. To put this into a bitesize nugget to takeaway: don't market the product, market around the product.
If the mere thought of tackling the above is keeping you awake at night, then drink some more chamomile tea. If that doesn't help, check out our services page to find out what we can do to help.