Unless you live in a cave, you are tapped into some form of social media whether you like it or not. It’s now encroaching everyday broadcasts with Twitter feeds being pushed during shows, and Facebook stories becoming national news.
Social media as a channel for digital marketing and advertising is here to stay, and it’s viable for any business to consider as an option for promoting, engaging, and even converting based on business needs. What isn’t as clear, is how to use social media to your advantage, and some ground level strategy to go with such an understanding.
Social media channels aren’t baseball cards, you don’t need to collect them all, you just need to find your T206 Honus Wagner.
Social Media is Cheap but Infinitely Powerful
First; consider this, the average 30 second commercial spot during prime-time television costs $110,000 just for the media placement. With technologies such as the DVR, Netflix, and Hulu emerging, the reach of that $110,000 is not worth nearly what it was just a few years ago.
Now look at social media, it’s organic, viral, and most importantly, connected to your consumer. In an age of unprecedented brand loyalty, it doesn’t take much effort to get an individual to like your brand and become looped into your message. It’s that connection that’s your Honus Wagner. Your brand now has someone that will receive every message, video, and promotion that you push through your connected channel.
If they interact with your brand, that’s even better, you now have their entire network receiving that message, and now your advertising spend is working for itself through self appointed brand ambassadors. For reference the average person has 303 Facebook friends, which gets to a ridiculous 510 friends when you get to the 17-24 age range. You are working with a multiplier of 300+ for each person you get engaging with your brand.
Getting an audience isn’t the easiest for brands that aren’t named Apple or Nike, but it’s possible through the right campaign, targeted advertising, and engaging / pertinent content.
Sustained Growth Isn’t Focused On ROI Surges
The second you focus your efforts based on how an investment is going to come back to you, you already lose within social media. Social media is primarily about your existing consumer base, and if you focus all your efforts on pushing products that they already use and interact with, you will begin to alienate the base that you rely on consistently. Acquiring new consumers through your brand loyalists should happen organically, not by fitting square pegs through round holes.
Promotions, contests, and engagements need to feel seamless and comfortable, instead of like a used car salesman with free coupons screaming on a soap box. That works too, but as fast as that surge comes, it will go. It’s just as easy to unlike/unfollow a brand as it is to like them in the first place.
This isn’t to say that if you aren’t smart about your efforts that you won’t see a surge in your returns, but you need to be smart about it to sustain them and grow them. One important key to that success is understanding who it is you need to interact with, and to be honest about that.
Fish Where the Fish are Swimming
As a concept, that seems pretty simple to understand, but isn’t necessarily the approach that everyone takes to social media. Social media is still a pretty object of desire, and every brand wants some of it. But instead of taking the time to understand a channels audience and interactions, many brands just slap their logo on the newest trend and deliver content that is completely missing the mark.
Take the time to understand your audience, and when you understand your audience understand how they are or aren’t using a particular channel. Each audience we work with has a channel they gravitate to, and there are multiple reasons for which they do. If you don’t understand these simple behaviors and reasons, you can’t possibly accurately reach your audience and deliver them something they would want to engage with.
Let’s take a quick look at the differentiators of the big three, and what the audiences in each
Facebook is easily the most personal of social media channels. It’s where we share what we ate last night, when we got engaged, and how to creatively tell your friends and family you are pregnant. It’s also where we get to be the most intimate with the brands we love, we have to give permission to them to be accepted into our networks, and when they do, they become a part of the dialog that we have with our closest friends and family. The audience here is interested in taking some time to catch up with what’s important to their personal life, and engage with people and brands on a personal level.
People enjoy sharing, and being asked their opinions in this forum, they even welcome it if the brand is delivering the proper messages.
If Facebook is a relaxing escape on the porch of an old farmhouse, Twitter is Times Square during rush hour. It’s a hustle and bustle of messages, thoughts, ideas, and advertisements, all just 140 characters long. It’s much more temporary, and is about taking than sharing. While you can run a successful campaign through twitter, the bulk of the load should be to use it as a temporary space where you can share news and quick snippets about your brand.
The audience here may also use other social media channels frequently, but when they are on LinkedIn they have specific needs and wants. They want to interact with businesses they may want to do business with, they can find jobs, post jobs, and even find professionals they may need. While having the nice “in” icon your site makes the trifecta, ensure that your company belongs in this space, and if it does that it is catering to the needs of professionals and professional lifestyles.
So while it may seem simple enough to say “I WANT THIS!” it’s much more important to understand why you want it, and how it can work best for you.
When All Else Fails…Cats (or Otters)
Seriously, there can never be too many cats. And if you think there are, then look up otters rafting. That’s good for a few hundred likes.