Social media can offer businesses a chance to create an audience around their brand and is probably one of the cheapest cost and highest return options available. However, I find that there are only a small percent of those using social media that do it really well.
I think the issue is that very few understand how and why social media can be effective. The default approach seems to be to use it as a pure advertising platform. I see businesses using their page purely to sell their products and then wonder why there is no return on investment. My rule is to always try to add value first; as Gary Vaynerchuk says, you have to give more than you expect in return.
Here are the main mistakes that I see businesses make:
Don’t go straight for the sell
As you probably guessed, I’m going to start with ‘always add value first.’
People on social don’t want to be sold to, they want to become part of the community. So create a community (your likers or followers) and provide them value by creating and posting content that people interested in your business will find valuable and useful. If you’re a winery, that may be by reviewing popular wines — not just the wines that you make, but popular wines in general. Give them an honest review, whether good or bad, and become an authority on that subject. It will boost overall engagement and then when you do want to make a post trying to sell something, you’ll get a much better return from it.
Stop focusing on vanity metrics
I regularly have conversations with people who focus too heavily on the number of likers or followers they have. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a huge achievement to build a Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter page with 100,000 likers. Own that and I’m not taking away from that. However, if you have 100,000 followers and only get 10–15 people engaging with your posts, then you don’t have product-market fit. Your posts aren’t resonating with your followers and because of that, you may as well not have those followers.
Start focusing on post engagement and experiment with a variety of content. Put some money behind it so that more of your audience sees it and see what gets the most engagement. Once you know what your audience is engaging well with, create more content of that type.
Then when they do start engaging with your content, reply to their comments and start a genuine conversation with them and be authentic.
It’s a long-term brand building exercise
If you are approaching social media as a way of instantly getting a huge return and making a lot of money, then get off the train now.
Social media is a long-term strategy to build a brand and trust around your business. If you’re looking for a short-term option, run some paid adverts on any of the platforms. If you want to build your business and invest time and effort now for results and a reduction in your overall marketing expenses later, then social media is for you.
I see a lot of people give up on social media after a few weeks because they haven’t yet got a direct return. You can’t create a relationship with one person in that time, let alone hundreds of them. The “recipe” for success with social media is Valuable Content + Consistency = Results. If you skip one, then you don’t get the results.
The increasing number of social influencers that have used their understanding of social media to build huge followings and are now reaping the rewards prove that there is value in using social media effectively. Start putting in 30 mins a day creating great content, and posting it to your social networks and you will start to grow your audience and eventually build a high level of trust and influence with them.
If you have any questions, want to add to or disagree with the above, then hit me up in the comments below.