When we talk about social media, our first thought that comes to mind is the platforms we use daily to communicate with friends and family. We also think of how we use Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to talk about ourselves, our accomplishments, taking pictures of the places we go, and sometimes the people we meet. It’s this initial reaction we get when we hear the words “social media” that distorts many social media managers who are using corporate and small business social media accounts incorrectly. As a result the company’s, and even the person who is branding himself, gets drowned out by the noise around them.
Social media is a public forum with millions of voices and conversations, with some dominating the entire platform if world or market trends are affecting a wide swath of people. It’s within this forum that you must become a contributor to a conversation, or gain a voice that influences many in your market or the topic that is most being talked about. In business related terms, there are plenty of competitors fighting to have their voices heard, and they’ll commit money to ad campaigns, spend hours on platforms engaging with potential customers, or put forth a lot of effort to post compelling content that grabs people’s attentions.
Right now, few are crushing the competition while others are having difficulty in finding an identity on social media, and for a large group, even quitting social media altogether because the manager behind these accounts, is ill-prepared to take on the challenge of growing a following. In some cases, small business owners who run their own social media accounts, fare much better than those who have an employee who clearly isn’t used to using social media professionally. This is because a solo entrepreneur has the passion and hunger for knowledge, not only of their business, but of their local market. But for bigger businesses that were either established before the social media era, or have multiple employees, a breakdown in marketing occurs, which results in abandoned or poorly managed Facebook pages and Twitter and Instagram accounts.
The lack of effort that is put forth by these social media managers, whether that be caused from that role not being the primary role of the employee within the company, or lack of knowledge on how social media marketing works, is detrimental to the company and a complete waste of money for the business.
Effective social media marketing goes beyond spending money on ad campaigns or simply posting content every week. You must dive in and engage with your target market and become part of the conversation. This can be achieved multiple ways. Instagram allows companies to like and comment on any person’s photos. If that person is in your market, like and follow them, and if you want to go the extra mile, comment on their photo with a personal message without hard selling your products or services to them. Twitter, much like Instagram is another open forum, but you can retweet their posts and photos, along with following and liking their content. Your ability to strike up a conversation with your target market is effortless, but you have to be willing to search for these conversations and people who would benefit from your products or services.
Facebook is by far the more difficult of major social media platforms to engage in a conversation. You must invest in ads, whether that be campaigns or boosting posts you’ve shared. The content must be compelling, and any lack of effort will make your ads ineffective. Once you start acquiring followers on Facebook, you must keep them coming back for more. If you’re not willing to put in effort to continue posting great content, they’ll leave.
While we live in a time where people have short attention spans, social media does bring a unique opportunity to attract customers or followers to come back for more. Almost like feeding pigeons in a park, when you run out of bread, they’ll fly to a new location where someone else is feeding them exactly what they want. Never run out of bread, or you’ll be all alone with absolutely no attention. Your social media marketing effort not only reflects upon you, but your company, and if your effort disappears, so will your sales.
Social media is so important, and if you, or your employee managing your pages is having the company’s voice drowned out by competitors, it will be time for a change in strategy and possibly personal. Put forth the effort, and you’ll reap what you sow.