Few careers are as fun and frustrating as social media marketing.
Despite how fast technology is changing, social media marketing is still young and misunderstood. Some people think that Facebook and Twitter are magical marketing worlds where everything goes viral. This is definitely not true.
Here are five truths about social media marketing that may not be warm and fuzzy, but you need to hear.
1. It's Not Magic
There's this weird misconception that with social media you can just share a few posts and the business will magically start rolling in. This often leads to frustration - brands know they need to be active on social media, but many can't crack the code to success.
The truth is, crushing your business goals with social media takes time, strategy and budget. I challenge you to find any brand that has a huge, successful case study based on simply winging it with a few tweets. It doesn't happen.
If you're going to leverage social media to drive business results, you have to understand that success takes commitment, consistency and adaptation.
2. It's Not Free
While social media marketing is the most cost effective way to get your content in front of a highly-targeted audience, it's not free, or even necessarily cheap.
When thinking about the cost of social media, you need to take time into consideration. How much time does it take to create content? How much time does it take to publish and monitor content? How much time does it take to execute advertising promoting your content? This all comes into play.
From experience, brands put a lot of time and money into their SEO strategies (which is important), and seem to leave social media to a junior level staff member. Would you leave sales calls to an intern? Probably not, right?
Treat your social media presence like any other marketing channel and carve out an appropriate budget. With the right employee (or agency partner), you'll find that investing in social media will boost major brand marketing KPIs across all marketing channels.
3. It's the Future
Social media has forever changed the way we communicate and it isn't going away.
Considering the amount of usage and impressions social sites get, they might as well be considered on the same level as major news networks - would you scoff at the opportunity to get your brand a primetime placement on FOX, NBC or ABC?
Even if you're semi-resistant to social, you're doing your brand a huge disservice by not jumping in and giving it a shot. Even if you or your direct target audience don't currently consider themselves "social power users", there's a crop of people growing up who always had these platforms and businesses are already courting them for future business.
Where will your brand be in five years without a social presence.
4. Strategy Matters More Than Tactics
The fun part of social media marketing for most people is the actual Tweeting, Instagramming or posting on Facebook, however, tactics without strategy are a waste of time and money.
Many businesses fail to define why they're Tweeting and skip right to talking about what they'll be tweeting instead.
Do you know the difference between strategy and tactics? Strategy is the overall campaign plan while tactics are the actions uses to achieve said plan.
Tactics without strategy will always fail.
In thinking about strategy, it's also important to consider which tactics are important and which are nice to have. Start with your goals, define your strategy and THEN figure out how to get there.
5. You Need to Re-Think Relationships
Social media marketers generally fall into 2 different categories: idealists and realists.
Idealists will preach that brands need to build relationships directly with users on social media to have success marketing to them. Realists know that relationships are important, however no individual person turns to a brand for emotional support.
We need to re-think relationships when it comes to social media. If we work towards providing value to social users, more than trying to unrealistically be their best friends, we truly see social media drive results.
Now, don't get me wrong, it's entirely possible for brands to have marketing messages that emotionally connect with social users. However, when you scale that out over how many brands and social users there currently are, we see that it's simply unrealistic.
Consumers don't look to logos for relationships, they look to logos for value. Brands should stop trying to squeeze in as a best friend and start offering lasting value.