These key takeaways apply to anyone, selling any product or service at any stage of their social media strategy. Businesses big and small, listen up.
1. Be An Audience First
When I attended Social Media Marketing World 2016, one of the things social media keynote speaker, author and consultant Mark Schaefer said that stuck with me was that we should seek “ROE” (return on experience), not ROI.” In other words, results from social are often qualitative, not quantitative. He went on to talk about how some companies fail because they wish to measure everything, yet everything CANNOT be measured. I personally can remember reiterating this point more than several times in my previous role. You must spend weeks, months and sometimes even years building trust and credibility by sharing valuable, relevant content on social media before expecting ANY type of financial return.
Marketers have always faced pressure to prove ROI (return on investment). So when social media, a channel that is hard to tie to revenue, all of a sudden becomes prominent, people get skeptical. What most don’t understand is that social media is not a channel where you should go for the “hard sell.” Do you browse your social media timelines hoping to be sold? I doubt it. You (and I) want to be informed, entertained and educated. Learn what your customer’s challenges and concerns are and tailor your content to be solution-oriented, not product-oriented. As long as you are consistently distributing targeted, relevant content, the business will come to you.
Give the people what they want.
Results from social media marketing are often qualitative, not quantitative.
2. Be Bold
What worked on social media two years ago or even two weeks ago isn’t guaranteed to work today. However, one of the beautiful things about social media is that it is a super-fast-paced environment. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake, whether it be as small as a typo or something with a bit more effort behind it like the epic failure of your first ever Twitter chat. That being said, the pace of social media also makes it a medium that is always searching for the latest and greatest. Keep up with what’s new and be an early adopter. Current popular trends include memes, live streaming, gifs, polls and stories.
Be sure to A/B test your campaign and post results to see what’s working—and what isn’t—for optimal results. Most important, don’t be afraid to fail. It’s imperative that you are willing to take risks and get out of your comfort zone. If you’re not willing to learn what doesn’t work for your business, there’s a good chance you won’t learn what works either.
3. Be Authentic and Be Heard
This falls into the “interact and engage” with your audience category that I talked about in the first part of this series. Remember, people want to buy from people, not brands. They love where there is a “human element” to a brand because it feels less like marketing. Have fun and let your personality shine!
If all you do is post content and never ask for feedback or offer an opinion, your voice will never be heard above the noise. Start seeing what other companies and your peers are doing, and more importantly, what they aren’t doing that could get you ahead and attract more followers. People LOVE authenticity. If someone mentions your brand online, respond to them, whether it’s a good or bad comment. A complaint is always (almost always) an opportunity.
One trap many fall prey to is not having a balance between their live posts and their automated posts. While I do understand that automation is an essential component of social media marketing, it’s more important for you to not be perceived as a robot. Here is when you can do things like thank your new followers, offer insight on a post or reply to a comment. Little things like this will set you apart from your competitors.