In 2019, if Facebook were a country, it would rank 21st globally in terms of GDP (behind Switzerland and before Poland). Impressive for a ‘free’ site. How did they get so big?
Simple, humans are social animals. As our lives have become more digital, social media has become a fundamental part of how we interact and a major part of every brand’s marketing.
The average American accesses seven social media accounts at least once a month and the social media landscape continues to evolve and expand. As marketers, we must recognize the power and role of social media.
Social media is too large and prevalent to ignore, it’s a huge audience that’s given up rights to most of the data it generates. Social media is a barrel of fish for the savvy marketer.
There are two ways to catch these fish:
- Social media marketing: content published to engage the audience and build the relationship with the brand for a specific business goal (all marketing ties back to the business)
- Social media advertising: paid content (advertising) published to expand the reach of a brand via a specific social channel for a specific purpose
Both types of content are an investment and need to be evaluated for ROI. The key to success with social media is in its name; it is MEDIA. Like ANY other media channel, you need to understand HOW your brand fits with that media.
Back to the Future
In the old days, marketers were taught that a great billboard contained less than seven words and great TV ads mentioned the offer three times every twenty-eight seconds. The marketer’s job was (is) to match their content to the structure of the media and the interests of the audience.
There are many great articles on the best marketing use of each social media channel. I love Pixel’s donut explanation of social media.
Rather than retreading that path, let us assume that you can identify which social media channels works best for you/your brand. Once you’ve identified the channels, you can put your creative expertise as a marketer to work.
Success is a process and it is hard work. If you’re a content marketer, these steps will look very familiar:
- Define the marketing strategy: What are you trying to accomplish and what do you want to say?
- Identify your target audience and which channels they use.
- Create an editorial calendar: Map out the media creation and publication schedule.
- Analyze and Test: With the HUGE amount of data available, use it! Test the results and adjust your strategy.
- Publish, Curate, and Re-publish: Create and publish great content. Most social media channels can use the same content concepts with slight modifications on multiple channels. Best part, you can also republish the same posts / content multiple times (especially on channels like Instagram and Twitter) since only a small portion of your audience will see the content at any one time.
A Few Things to Avoid
Hopefully, as we’ve gone through this “For Everyone Else” content series, you’re beginning to see that digital marketing success requires the same fundamentals as every other marketing effort — great content targeted at the right audience.
Here is a list of social media marketing DON’Ts to help your program succeed:
- Don’t assume that ANY social media channel is the channel. Today’s Facebook could be yesterday’s MySpace (it already is for certain audiences).
- Don’t be afraid to explore. Social media is not just the BIG FOUR (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.) Find your audience and engage with them where they are. You might find them on Pinterest, Telegram or Reddit.
- Don’t fall in love with bigger reach especially when looking at audiences and investing in access. Never forget that the right message to the right audience will outperform a generic message to a big audience. Haven’t we already learned this truth from search marketing?
- Don’t confuse social media marketing with social media advertising. Each has a role, and both should be considered, but never confuse one for the other.
- Don’t be a social media expert. Unless you want to rebuild your career every few years, stick to the fundamentals. Be a marketing expert that studies, understands and uses social media. Clients are attracted to the sizzle, but they buy the steak. If you have great fundamentals, you can effectively apply them to any media channel (social or otherwise). Results pay more than gimmicks and you’ll keep your clients for the long term.
One last thing … social media creates connections. It enables modern word-of-mouth marketing and constructive dialog. Be honest and human with your audience and interact with them in meaningful ways. That will lead to trust which is the foundation for successful relationships.
If the idea of executing on a social media marketing strategy seems overwhelming, know that you don’t need to go it alone. We’re in this with you. If you need a little help, just drop us a line, anytime.
Rainmaker Digital Services