There’s no arguing that social media is a popular marketing tool. Everyone can use social media, but not everyone is using it well. Before you go social, there are few things every business owner should know about social media.
It takes strategy
Social media marketing is not going to work for you without a comprehensive content strategy. If you’re doing social media yourself or hiring it out, you need to start with a strategy (and we’re not just talking about how many times to post on Twitter each day). Your strategy should have a direct correlation to your business objectives and a full content strategy includes everything–not just your social media channels. If you’re hiring out, do your research because not all content marketing firms provide marketing strategy.
There are a lot of pieces in a comprehensive marketing plan and it takes strategy to hold them all together; you need to be sure your social media is working with the other pieces of your marketing plan and filling a role in an effective way. Without a strategy, it will be difficult to know if it’s working or if you need to reevaluate how you’re using your content tools. Strategy needs to be the first step of your social media marketing; it will drive which platforms you use and what type of content you post and provide a road-map to keep you on track.
Social media takes time
Social media takes time to work. It’s like building a friendship. First you have to get someone to notice you are there, then you have to find out what they want to talk about and from there you start developing a relationship based on mutual interests and understanding.
There are a lot of businesses out there on social media platforms; if you’re just getting started, getting attention in all the noise won’t happen overnight. However, if you stick with it, use a strategy, post consistently, interact in a meaningful way, you will build a meaningful following. It just won’t happen in two weeks, probably not even in two months. Think long-term. It’s a marathon not a sprint.
Social media is not free
It might be free for your business to sign up for an account with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Flickr, Google+, Instagram, etc., but that doesn’t mean that social media marketing is free. Not only does developing a strategy and keeping up with creating and posting content take time and energy, but if you want to know if your social media marketing is working, you need to track and analyze metrics.
Using social media as part of your overall content marketing plan is an investment in time, resources and possibly some outside services. Stick with it. Just as you pay for traditional marketing pieces such as brochures, sell sheets, billboards or ad copy, social media is another form of marketing that requires an investment.
Social media works
Recent research from Social Media Examiner on how social media marketing has fared over the last couple years shows that 89% of marketers report social media leading to more brand exposure with 75% reporting an increase in website traffic from social media, and 50% of marketers who have used social media for three years have seen an increase in sales because of it .
Even without a study from Social Media Examiner, we know social media works because we track stats for our clients and have seen them increase brand awareness, social media following, and website traffic as a direct result from using social media. We also see the results increase the longer they use social media.
Although it might feel different because of its accessibility and the way it’s commonly used by the general public, social media is a marketing tool that takes strategy, time and money. Social media is like any other marketing tool, the better you understand it, the more effective it will be for your business.