Social media is huge - and hugely misunderstood.
Regardless of how widespread and popular social media is nowadays, doing it for a profession is still a very new concept.
Most people don't fully understand social media and what makes it such a valuable tool for marketing. Even people that claim to be experts are honestly just scratching the surface.
One of the biggest challenges for many of the brands we work with is finding that initial audience. No matter how good your content is, if no one's heard of you and you haven't yet established yourself as a thought leader, no one cares - and no one is going to know of your expertise. And the strategy of targeting people that are already established thought leaders is a tricky proposition too - I mean, they aren't listening to you, either!
My elevator speech:
When I was in school, my professors often spoke about how important it is to have a prepared elevator speech. In under a minute, they said, I should be able to explain who I am as a person, what makes me unique, and what my career objectives are.
That was always a challenge for me. I never knew where to start, or how to communicate - very quickly - what makes me special and worth hiring.
I think in a lot of ways that's still very difficult for me. Being home over the holidays, I saw family and friends that I don't get to see all that often. Explaining what exactly a Social Media Manager at an Inbound Marketing agency does isn't that easy. Because every single person just says, Wait, so you just tweet all day?
Some of us are just throwing stuff against the wall - and hoping something sticks.
Social media has to be both social and scientific. Yes, everything you do should be creative - but it should also be done for a reason.
The trouble is, everyone is trying to do this. Helping people and answering their questions should ALWAYS be the first step of any business relationship.
But if everyone is screaming at everyone, no one gets heard, and people become more and more resistant to these kinds of messages. They only have enough time to read so many blog posts and articles during the day, even if they contain valuable information.
So what makes us think our content is going to get read...
If we haven't done the work to figure out who our audience is and what they're really looking for, then why do we expect results?
It's like that with all kinds of content - blogs, articles, books, movies, TV, music, you name it. I recently introduced a friend of mine to the show Friday Night Lights, one of my favorite shows ever. When it was on, it got awful ratings. It was a great show that was marketed wrong. The show's not about football - it's about relationships and the American experience in a small town. But it was marketed as a show about high school sports, so it never found an audience.
Hello? Anyone there? Anyone?
It happens with all different types of content - a movie like Office Space or Fight Club that does poorly at the box office before finding a large audience later, or even a book like Moby Dick - Melville died before the book received the widespread critical acclaim that it deserved.
Social media is supposed to be a way for that audience to give content its due - for people to spread something that they found helpful. But they can't do that if you neglect to think tactically and logically about what your audience wants, or where to find these people online.
Maybe you're experiencing the same thing with your company's content strategy and social media implementation. If you're struggling to find an audience, you're looking in the wrong place. If you sell machine tools, your base of prospects is probably not looking on Facebook. Take the time to figure out what the buyer journey is like, what those prospects are looking for, and determine the best way to reach them.