If you’re looking into a marketing strategy, most experts will tell you your business simply must be on social media. They’ll say it is the most important tool for growing and engaging with your audience.
With this advice being industry standard, it may surprise you to hear that I recommend to many of my clients that they don’t bother creating a profile on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Why? Because, for whatever reason, using social will be a waste of time for their business.
Social media is not a one-size fits all solution. If you can relate to any of the following five statements, give yourself a break and shut down your accounts:
Your social media posts are sporadic and inconsistent
Businesses which draw in leads and boost sales using social media have a dedicated team member who is able to focus on regularly creating eye catching and engaging content. This person will have a schedule planned out and will strategically post content based on when the highest number of your target customers are online.
To create effective campaigns on these platforms, you need to employ or outsource to someone who understands the ins and outs of social media marketing. They will be able to optimise the performance and results of every post. They will also track results to identify which strategies work best for your brand and will use social media to interact with your customers.
[Letterfolk is a small brand which posts frequently and has a following of over 250 thousand]
If you or someone else in your business posts on social media as an afterthought every couple of weeks you are not going to gain traction, let alone grow your audience and sales. You are better off spending your time and energy focusing on other areas of your business.
You don’t have the budget to promote your posts (or create decent ones to begin with)
To win at social media, you have to pay to play. In 2018 this rings true more than ever, especially as Facebook has now restricted the organic exposure of business posts in news feeds.
A budget of $5 per post, per day, is not going to cut it unless you are testing 20 different options.
The amount you should spend for every business differs and it can take some experimenting to find your sweet spot, however if you are serious about getting results from a social media campaign you can expect to set aside a budget of at least $100 a day. This may sound like a lot but you should be able to see how this has a positive influence on your sales or customer enquiries.
Your business also needs the budget to create great content. This can be in the form of images, articles, videos or infographics but they must be click-worthy and attractive to your target audience.
[This beer brand regularly posts video content for its followers]
For some businesses, in particular retail and fashion, spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars a day creating and promoting social media advertising can result in serious returns. It is a matter of trial and error to find the images, text and messages which work best.
If you don’t have enough funds to allocate to experimenting with social media to the tune of hundreds of dollars per post, don’t stress! There are plenty of other strategies out there.
Your following is miniscule
Mark Zuckerberg announced in January 2018 that Facebook feeds will prioritise posts which encourage “meaningful interactions”. This means likes, shares and comments.
If your following on Facebook or Instagram is diminutive to begin with, your posts will only be seen by a handful of people. Even fewer will engage with it, meaning social media algorithms will identify it as yawn-inducing and bury it out of sight.
[You don’t have to be a huge brand to have a lot of followers, but it takes time to build them up]
It is possible to have few followers but to expose your brand to thousands of potential customers based on their interests. But again, this requires budget and incredible content so if you don’t have the funds to promote what you’ve got, take social media off your to-do list.
You’re not where your users are
All social media platforms are not created equal. If you’re a lawyer targeting high profile business clients, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are not the place for you.
Instead, you may have success on LinkedIn, where you can reach the corporate clients you are after. While viewed by many as the dull cousin of the social media world, this platform still has incredible reach and presents the opportunity to share creative content with potential customers.
[Telstra gets strategic by targeting job seekers on LinkedIn]
Alternatively, your brand may be aimed at millennial buyers. This demographic is less likely to be on Facebook and can instead be found in greater numbers on Instagram, Snapchat and Tumblr. Focus your efforts here and you stand to reap better rewards.
You don’t have a clear strategy
Are you only on social media because you think you should be?
As with every marketing strategy, you need to being with a goal and a plan. Perhaps you want a simple way for your audience to reach you. Perhaps you need more traffic on your website. It may be that you simply want to raise local brand recognition and awareness.
[Tell Me Baby draws customers to its website by sharing informative content]
If you are posting a lot but don’t really know why, there is little point. Again, your efforts are better spent elsewhere.
You’re not getting results from social
You can have the best social media campaign in the world with amazing videos, thousands of comments and millions of shares, however if your sales figures aren’t budging, you are wasting your time.
Social media results, like anything, must be tracked and measured. If you’re not getting new business or better conversions, rethink your strategy or redirect the funds elsewhere.
Having said all that, there are some businesses which use social media with fantastic results. Generally speaking, for social media to be an effective part of your strategy, you need to have all or most of the following:
- Appeal to a wide, consumer based audience
- Able to promote yourself effectively to a hyper-local audience
- Constantly be promoting new products, features or customer deals
- Access to beautiful, engaging images or video
- Information people are truly seeking
- The ability to share great stories
Here are a couple of examples of businesses which can use social media to their advantage, and some that have had great success.
A florist or wedding photographer
This type of business doesn’t have to pay for great content as they generate it themselves. They can easily target local social media users who are known to be interested in weddings and they can offer ‘Book Now’ deals to draw customers to their website.
[You don’t have to have thousands of followers but can strategically use hashtags and paid advertising to attract potential clients]
Regular stock updates, sales and great imagery all make a clothing or accessories brand easier to promote using social media. Brands which succeed in this area share great images, tell their story and interact with their audience.
[With over 950k followers and regular sales, BONDS has great success on social media. Their simple photography approach reflects their brand]
As shared on Facebook, RSPCA Queensland was able to increase the adoption of ‘bull’ dog breeds by 44 percent after a clever Facebook ad campaign. They reached a statewide audience and likely targeted users with an interest in dogs and pets.
Restaurants, bars and cafes
Who wouldn’t want a cupcake after seeing this shot?
As shared by Facebook, this US based business increased foot traffic by 25 percent after sharing this advertisement with people aged 18 – 55 who lived within five miles of their location.
Other food-based businesses can kick-start cravings with great photography and tempting copy. They can also respond to feedback on social media in order to stay on top of their online reputation.
There’s no denying that social media has the potential to be effective. However, if you can’t commit to posting regularly and creating content which informs and delights your audience, you’re doing it wrong.
Instead of bashing your head against the social media brick wall, there are a wealth of other strategies you can try. Google AdWords, Email Marketing, physical brochures and even good old fashioned ads in the paper may be a better tactic for improving your business.
Don’t know where to start? Get in touch with Win More Clients and we’ll work on a strategy that works for your business.