This is a question we are asked often at Fruitful MarketingⓇ from businesses who are finding that social media is not generating business for them. There are a few common issues we tend to see. Firstly, businesses appear on many social media platforms for the sake of it. Everyone else is using them so why shouldn’t we? Secondly, a lack of strategy regarding what social media is trying to achieve for a business and how it fits within the marketing mix. Thirdly, social media being outsourced or designated to someone who doesn’t understand the company objectives and therefore doesn’t portray your brand or message correctly.
Regarding the third point, anyone posting on behalf of your company is portraying your brand, how important it is therefore that they fully understand your strategy and have been given appropriate time, training and guidelines. If not they may be sharing inappropriate and irrelevant content that is portraying your business negatively or creating ‘noise’. Social media is an element of your brand and a touch point in your prospects’ buying journey (the average journey now takes 13 to 17 touch points).
This comes back to the question of…
Should your businesses bother with social media?
Well, 44 million people in the UK use social media and on average they spend 1 hour 54 minutes per day on it. Social media, therefore, is an excellent way to keep in front of a large audience out of standard business hours (during breakfast, commuting, lunch, evenings, weekends), reach new customers, build relationships and brand awareness. All of this without the concerns of GDPR!
Carried out correctly, social media is a perfect opportunity to begin distributing content relevant to your brand and develop stronger relationships with your customers. Research suggests that the buying process now has an average of between 13 to 17 touch points before someone converts from a lead/prospect to a customer, so while social media may not always be the reason someone buys from you, it may be making up some of those touch points as you nurture leads into customers. This highlights the importance of maintaining your brand in everything you are distributing on social media, whether posting, sharing, commenting or liking.
Tailor your content – Hootsuite is dead!
At Fruitful MarketingⓇ we emphasise the importance of tailoring your content specific to each social media platform. For example, LinkedIn is a fantastic platform for sales and reaching out to the business community (over 20 million UK users) and the audience expects content to be professional or business focussed. Twitter may be very different and content involving many hashtags, a theme of the day or in keeping with trends will likely be welcomed.
Social media platforms are extremely different in the way they should be used, as they tend to have different audiences and a different style or voice. Only a few years ago most companies on social media seemed to use tools, such as Hootsuite to schedule the exact same post to go out on multiple social media platforms. In our eyes now, this is a big no go. Whilst we embrace productivity wherever we can, audiences of each platform have become savvy and expect tailored content appropriate to their platform. The scheduling element of Hootsuite is still helpful but repeating the exact same content is not good practice any longer and will result in less engagement and success. Posting every piece of content you create in the same format, on each platform, means you are not considering the requirements of your audience and how you want your brand to be perceived.
How can I become more productive with my time on social media?
If you feel you don’t have the time to appear and be active on all of your social media platforms then consider reducing the number of platforms you use. Having a successful social media strategy involves doing less but better. Creating high-quality content, that is distributed less frequently, is seen as more beneficial than posting whenever possible with irrelevant content (how often do you see companies just retweeting on twitter and not creating or sharing their own content. This just creates noise and as we see 4000 new marketing messages every single day, there is no room or benefit from creating more noise!).
Take full advantage of when you are appearing on social media, think about times when your audience are eating their breakfast, lunch or relaxing in the evening, on the way to work, on the way home from work or weekends. With the vast number of people active on social media (44 million in the UK alone), get in front of your audience at a time when you know they will be the most receptive and you couldn’t otherwise reach them.
Scheduling platforms such as Buffer or Hootsuite are ideal for pre-scheduling your posts so you can plan and schedule rather than having to physically do them each time. This is ideal for out of office hours but remember to still tailor the content per platform.
Create a Social Media Strategy
Our constant methodology of strategy → implementation → analysis = success works perfectly when applied to social media, as you should always be starting with what it is you are trying to achieve. Are you using social media to reach a new audience? Are you using social media to build on current customer relationships? Are you promoting your company brand?
From this, implement targeted content to reach your customers in order to achieve these goals. Social media can be a strong part of your marketing toolbox, working with your other marketing channels to convert customers, as you increase brand awareness, create trust and drive more traffic to your website, exposing them to your product or service further.
So, if you ask yourself the question again now ‘should our business bother with social media?’, the answer will hopefully be yes! Utilising social media effectively is a fantastic opportunity to generate more leads and therefore sales. Call our strategic marketing consultant, James Wright, on 01256806333 to discuss your social media strategy and ways in which you can make it stronger.