Here’s the skinny — unless you’re running the marketing for Pepsi, Ford, or Rolex, you’re going to need to be on social media. Yes, not many of us are thrilled with the way the parent companies handle, well, just about everything, but adding your business to the social media landscape is vital.
Here’s the BIG WHY: 55% of consumers learn about new brands on social media (especially Gen Z and Millenials), according to Sprout Social.
Just as importantly, adds those fine folks at Sprout, a whopping 68% of consumers, agree that social allows them to interact and communicate with brands seamlessly and at their convenience. In case you hadn’t noticed over the past two years, convenience is pretty, pretty important.
In the “But Wait, There’s More” department — according to Single Grain, there are approximately 3.5 billion (that’s HALF THE WORLD) on social media, and the average person has eight social media accounts (often nine or more if you’re 24 or under). Those folks encounter 5,000 branded messages a day.
Welcome to the opportunity versus challenge portion of our conversation.
The audience — one of the most challenging things for marketers to attract — is right at your fingertips (literally). Yay.
That audience — 3.5 billion of them — sees 5,000 branded messages a day. Ugh.
Now is the time to ask the right questions. How do you stand out from the crowd? Where do you focus? Is it even worth it?
Last question first: Yes. No question. Let’s move on.
Standing Out in a Busy Social Media Landscape
You must (not should, not could, must) continually develop fresh content and deliver it consistently.
The first thing we do for any client that comes into the agency is develop a social strategy that defines our client’s audience, where those folks engage with the brand, and what the audience likes to see.
The next thing we do is build a calendar based on social listening and our client’s specific industry to determine the best possible time to engage with our audience. Then, we go backward, scheduling the writing, designing, and client approval of posts.
Yes, this is a time-consuming process for a small business. It’s also the most important. The good news is that your social posts don’t have to be crazy fancy. Find what you’re people want to see from you and deliver it — authenticity rules.
One other thing: yes, you can reuse past content, but be careful. Your audience will catch on and lose interest.
What to Focus On
If you’ve got a team that can churn out content at a moment’s notice, then you should focus on being everywhere at all times. Those with budgets and labor constraints need to be a bit smarter.
So, choose a couple of channels where your audience lives. Maybe it’s Instagram or LinkedIn. Perhaps it’s TikTok and Pinterest. Keep in mind that the content you create for TikTok will not work for LinkedIn. Make sure to be thoughtful when making your choice.
FYI: Instagram continues to be a growth monster in social media, adding users and tools for marketers consistently. But, TikTok grew 12.5x between Jan 2018 and June 2020, and it hasn’t shown any signs of slowing.
The key (and we can’t say this enough) is to meet your audience where they are rather than having them try to find you.
Is an Influencer Right for You?
Influencers — yes, you’re right to think of the Kardashians — can be one of the fastest ways to grow your audience and get lots of eyeballs on your product. After all, the influencer’s influence is that their followers trust them to give honest feedback about the brands they’re repping.
Start by watching the posts within your industry. If you see someone popping up as a leading voice — Scott Galloway is an influencer of sorts for our agency because we read/listen/watch what he does across his social media — and check out the level of engagement that person receives. Remember, it’s not the number of posts that matter; it’s the engagement that counts.
Just in case you think that “social media influencer” is a fad, check this number out: Influencer Marketing was a $10.24b (that’s right, billion) industry in 2021. That number could reach $84b by 2028. Yikes.
Make an educated decision about who you want to rep your company, determine a cost per acquisition budget, and look for help. We had been skeptical about this tool but are coming around to seeing its value for our clients.
Social is Now a Pay-to-be-Seen Ecosystem
Once upon a time, music business managers would pay radio stations (call David, he can explain what those things are) to play their band’s music. It was a thing called payola. The government squashed it.
We’re patiently waiting for that to happen to social media companies.
Until then, money makes the algorithm happy. Sure organic growth is possible — we bust our buns to engage with audiences to draw attention to our clients’ accounts — but buying space takes you to the front of the line.
The good news — unless you’re attempting to buy during a holiday — spending money to boost posts or purchase advertising space is relatively inexpensive in relation to reach. Realistically, you’ll need to go for a minimum of 14 days to see traction with your ad.
Success with paid social advertising comes with smart audience definition, good creative, and healthy budgets. The more you set aside in your budget, the more people you’ll be able to reach. Plain and simple. Remember, you’re competing with 4,999 other branded messages.
The Last Word
There’s never a last word with social media! It’s one of the most essential, ever-changing tools that a marketer can use right now. There’s a lot to consider and a lot to get right, but it’s absolutely worthwhile.
Need help? We’re here.