I’m not a huge social media user. I use LinkedIn for work, but the others have fallen by the wayside. I miss certain things – like the fact that some of my friends know more about what my kids are up to than me – but it’s nice to be out of the addictive loop. I’d sometimes find myself half an hour into watching stupid videos on Instagram before suddenly shouting at myself – WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!
That said, I get involved with social media advertising and posting for clients where it’s relevant, and, as this is a fast-moving arena, I worry about falling behind. I hear certain things, or I see specific adverts, where I feel like the train is leaving the station, and I’m waving it off from a smokey old platform like a confused old man with a furrowed brow muttering, ‘What happened there?’.
I still experiment (not with all platforms), and I still get results where I tend to think they’ll come from. The newer platforms and content ideas I continually hear about, or responses to instructions like, “We need to be on Instagram; it’s where everyone is these days!” still have me wondering if I am missing something, but the truth is, I don’t think I am. The stats never add up, and focus gets lost chasing fads, likes and impressions.
The thing is, I’m not trying to be an influencer. I am a marketer.
We are marketers.
Purpose matters when dealing with a social media audience who are using it (for free) for their own entertainment. So, and I know I won’t sway you, here are some of my brief thoughts about social media marketing:
- Likes and shares do not pay the bills.
- Have purpose and stay on message. You may not be an influencer, but you are still looking to influence a small number of people. Focus on the people that matter and hone your content, whether for brand building or trying to sell people through.
- Understand that the key approach is ‘social’. If people choose to follow you, they don’t want to be advertised ‘at’ – they’ll unfollow with a click. The big consumer brands are probably playing a different game to you, but look at how they use social media successfully and learn from it.
- Your social media presence does not need to encapsulate your entire business. Depending on the platform and audience, you can segment. For instance, I have a B2B client who uses Facebook only for recruitment, using a strategy of overcoming stereotypes about their sector and location-based advertising campaigns.
- Explore, but don’t chase rainbows. I am constantly told Facebook is dead, but it continues to yield the best demographically targeted results for our clients compared to similar consumer platforms.
- If it’s not working. Stop. Your time, effort and money could well be better spent.
There is no silver bullet with social media. I constantly question why some people have so many followers on platforms for their content or why some posts get a lot of likes. The point is that I am not their audience.
In the same vein, by being focused and objective, you may well make useful connections. Just keep in mind that you can only control what you put out (posts and responses), not what happens next.