Social media is a big deal.
You’ve heard it somewhere and, whether you believe it or not (you should, by the way), the idea is picking up traction. More than ever, consumers are constantly plugged in to their platform of choice.
That translates to more opportunities to reach them with your business content (advertising and branded content and public relations, oh my!). That has to be a good thing, right?
We’ll give it a qualified, “Mostly”.
Now, before you start investing in the social media machine, there are a few questions you need to consider for your business:
- Do I have a defined brand?
- Do I fully understand the needs and desires of my audience?
- What does my business have to offer that others don’t?
If you answered “I don’t know,” or “huh?” to any of the questions above, your business probably isn’t ready for social media. Yet.
And that’s okay.
Plenty of social media horror stories begin with a business that wasn’t ready (and thought it was). To be successful in the world of social media, you have to know what unparalleled value you can offer your audience.
Think of it this way: if you can’t communicate your brand, the driving force behind your business, in 140 characters or less, how can you expect your customers to?
Did you answer all the questions? Congratulations, you’re ready to take the next step.
The Next Step: Making Valuable Connections With Social Media
70% of the U.S. population has at least one social networking profile. (Statista)70% of the U.S. population has at least one social networking profile.
If that seems like a lot of people, it is. The good news is that you’re not trying to connect with everyone on social media. The bad news is that now you have to figure out which ones you need to reach with your social media advertising.
Remember the questions from earlier? This is where your answers come in handy. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to keep those answers on hand all the time so you can refer back to them when you’re constructing a social media message.
Know Thy Brand
If you know what you have to offer, you’re that much closer to knowing who will pay money for it. This is the basis of your brand.
Of course, if it was that simple, everyone would be doing it.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: pick 2-5 words that you want your average consumer to associate with your brand. Write those down. Look at them every time you want to interact with your audience.
Does what you’re about to say, do, or share fit with what you’ve chosen?
45% of a brand’s image can be attributed to what it says and how it says it. (Landor) So the answer should be “Yes.” Otherwise, whatever message you’re trying to communicate to your followers could be doing more harm than good.
This is where companies get in trouble more often than not on social media — they speak for the sake of speaking, and they end up compromising their brand. When it comes to your brand, an ounce of prevention is worth a whole lot more than a pound of cure.
If You Build It, They Will Come
Okay, that’s not completely true. If you build it well, and keep the place looking nice, they will visit once and decide within the first minute if what you’ve built is worth their time.
63% of consumers say they have engaged with disappointing brand content and 23% said they wouldn’t read that brand’s content again after that. (Pardot)
That’s 1 out of every 4 potential consumers that you stand to lose on one piece of disappointing content. Not trying to scare you, but it drives home a very important point:
Every post matters.
Worry not. For you social media advertising greenhorns out there, there is a bright side.
If you’ve been smart, done your homework, and stuck to your branding guns, you will naturally and organically attract consumers with shared values. That is what you’re building, and they will come.
Say just four people like and share one piece of your branded content to their four friends, you’ve made 16 impressions. Those 16 then share it with their friends and so on, so forth.
The short of it being, you’ve reinforced your relationship with those original four and earned, at the very least, the attention of any of their connections who were interested in what you have to offer. Your job isn’t over, though.
With each of those newcomers, your business is responsible for living up to your first impression (exceeding it, preferably). That’s why you should be posting a variety of content —a combination of advertisements and other content. Don’t just focus on one or the other.
Remember, the goal of your social media is to make your followers do something, and eventually, you want that something to be buying.
The Bigger Picture
So now you’re asking, “What does this mean for me?”
I get it; marketing (especially advertising) is about return on investment. What is the most practical method that will earn my company the most value? Wouldn’t it be great if that answer was simple?
Well, it is. You get out of social media what you put in.
If you work to create quality content and forge genuine connections, you get authentic, quality exposure in return. That exposure means a higher conversion rate and more customers.
That’s the unique strength of a well-structured social media strategy—it can serve as everything from the foot in the door to the final handshake.
Give consumers a consistent and recognizable brand with relatable values, and you’ve already won half the battle. The rest requires work (and, yeah, a little bit of trial and error is par for the course), but in return, you can reach your customers in a way that no other kind of marketing can provide.
This article was written by Meagan Stanfield, social media intern at Titan Web Marketing Solutions.