Let’s just start with the bad news: there’s no magic bullet for social media marketing success.
There, we’ve said it. Now let’s talk about one of the biggest reasons so many marketers are dissatisfied with the results they’re seeing from their social media marketing efforts today. We’re dedicating more resources, time, and attention to social channels than ever before, but we’re not getting the same results we used to. That’s largely because the social media landscape has evolved, but our strategy hasn’t.
In this article, we’re going to explore three strategic best practices to help you get more value from the time, energy, and budget you’re dedicating to growing your business in today’s social media environment.
Leverage the Social Media Algorithms
Do you understand how the various social media platforms determine what content gets shown to which people? There are some similarities, but each does it a bit differently. You don’t have to comprehend it on a data science level, but it’s valuable to have some understanding of the algorithm for any social platform you’re operating on.
LinkedIn is a great example. LinkedIn only shows organic content from your company’s profile to a small subset of the people who follow you. But LinkedIn shows content from personal profiles to a much higher percentage of followers. LinkedIn also is the only social platform that will show content you post to people you’re not connected with, just because a mutual connection engaged with that content. So on LinkedIn, you have a greater opportunity for visibility if company leaders and employees are actively sharing the company’s message than if it’s only being shared on the brand page.
That’s just one example, but every social platform has its quirks. Whatever platforms you’re operating in, the algorithm is the unwritten set of rules you need to abide by to ensure maximum visibility and engagement. It’s important that you’re aware of how it operates today and prepared to pivot when it changes in the future.
Free Social is Out, Targeted Social is In
There was a time when social media platforms were viewed largely as a free channel for promotion. For the most part, that time is done. You can still publish content there at no cost. But platforms limit the reach of brand accounts by showing your content to a tiny percentage of your followers.
But many of these platforms also have sophisticated advertising platforms that give you unrivaled ability to help you speak specifically to a targeted audience of people, more affordably than you probably think.
To get the best results from targeted advertising in social platforms, it’s imperative to remember why your audience is using social media in the first place. They’re there to engage with friends, be entertained, and get information. They’re not there to buy your product. So find ways to add value to their experience. Link to a valuable resource tailored to them. Provide information they need but don’t know where to find. Become the antidote to traditional advertising and use this opportunity to introduce your brand as a value add to their life.
Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin
It seems like there’s always a new “next best channel” in social media. The ongoing expansion of tools and functionality can leave marketers feeling behind if they don’t hop on every new channel, while also keeping up experiences in the others.
If you’re floundering a bit to grow an audience in a wide variety of social media platforms, you’re not alone. Give yourself permission to focus your attention on creating great content in one or two places, even if that means ignoring other platforms. Give yourself permission to exit social media platforms that you’re not performing well in today and are unlikely to ever perform well in. You don’t need to be everywhere, but you need to be great wherever you are.
So where do you start? We suggest conducting an analysis of the social landscape today. Look at all the social media platforms your company is active on, as well as any of the platforms you’re considering joining, and ask yourself the following intentional questions:
- Where do we have the biggest following?
- Where do our followers respond best to our content?
- Which of these platforms is the largest segment of our untapped audience most likely using?
- Which platforms is the content I am creating (or want to create) best suited for?
- What do I want to accomplish with social media, and which platforms are best aligned with those goals?
- In which platforms are our efforts going unrewarded with traffic or valuable engagement?
The questions above will help you clearly understand where to focus your attention, and which social media platforms are more of a distraction than an asset.
Take Control of Your Social Media Marketing
It’s easy to become overwhelmed when trying to develop and execute on a social media strategy today. We say “social media” like it’s one channel, but every social media platform is its own channel with unique functionality. You shouldn’t expect to be fluent and effective in all of them. Hopefully our advice will help you calmly and decisively make some big decisions about what platforms to use and how to use them as you move forward with social media planning and execution.
Kolbeco’s 490 Factor approach to marketing is the lens we use to take a people-first, channel-last look at our clients’ marketing efforts and ensure time and energy are spent in pursuit of their goals. If you’re struggling to figure out how to evolve social media’s role in your larger marketing strategy, we’d love to talk with you! Reach out to introduce yourself and schedule a discussion.