"Social media doesn’t work…"
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve overheard this sitting in a coffee shop or restaurant - well, I’d probably have an extra $100 dollars in my bank account or more.
We once sat with a business owner who told us that social media wasn’t worth it, and when we checked out his accounts, the images uploaded weren’t great, the posting was inconsistent, and let’s not even go into the captions. A few months later, that business was gone.
I’ve also had the privilege of sitting in the restaurants that my agency handles social media for, and there I've witnessed, first-hand, people marching up to the counter to order, phone in hand, Instagram open, pointing to a photo we’ve posted and saying “I want this”.
So what’s the difference between the people in the first scenario and my client?
For the most part, it's simple - there are some basic mistakes that entrepreneurs and businesses repeatedly make in social media marketing which are limiting their capacity to grow an engaged audience.
Here are some of the most common missteps that I see:
1. They don’t know their audience
This is crucial, because not having this part figured out means that you’re trying to talk to everyone, which means you’re really just shouting into the void and hoping that somebody might hear.
If you’re unable to make a connection with people, then don’t count on being able to sell them anything. Understanding who your target audience is - what they want, what they need, where you fit in, etc. - is critical to maximizing your social media marketing performance.
2. They are not consistent
In this new world of social media algorithms - and really, all along - being consistent is key to growing an audience.
But to clarify, this doesn’t mean that you need to publish every single day. Being consistent means coming up with a schedule that works for you - then most importantly, sticking to it. Even if it doesn't feel like you're getting immediate results, posting regularly gives your audience a reason to keep coming back to your profiles, while it also helps to have fresh, relevant content when someone looks you up or comes across your business.
The key to maximizing your social presence is strong messaging, and content that’s aligned with what your audience needs to see.
Post regularly, keep your audience informed, and over time, you will gain more trust and credibility.
3. They are just trying to build a following
I'll say this time and time again - the days of just accumulating followers like baseball cards are over.
Without being intentional, and thinking about whether you’re building an audience that’s right for your business, you’ll just have a room full of bodies. Numbers might look pretty, and make you feel good, but unless those people are likely to become paying customers, they're not helping your cause.
Building numbers also ruins your data - a major benefit of social media marketing. If you have 1000 Page followers, but 900 are, realistically, never going to spend money with your business, that means that all your analytics and audience insights are useless, making it even harder to establish a clear understanding of what your audience needs.
Yes, it takes time to establish brand awareness and build a following, but a following of people who are actually engaged in your message is far more valuable than chasing numbers in an effort to maybe, hopefully, impress somebody that comes across your profile.
Audience numbers can be faked, which most consumers are now widely aware of. It's the content and quality of your business that's far more important, and will deliver better results in the long-run.
The Key Differentiator
Here's the thing: The difference between people who say that social media doesn’t work and the ones who are gaining clients, making sales, and consistently growing their audience with quality leads from their social media profiles is simple. They have a process that works.
They’ve figured out what their audience wants to see, they deliver it on a consistent basis, and they are constantly observing and tweaking.
Although this may sound like a ton to do, it’s not.
In reality if you’re spending more than an hour on social media a day, you’re probably just wasting time with “busy work”… and that's not beneficial for anyone. Break down the key tasks you need to complete each day, map out a schedule, formulate a plan based on your audience data. Then deliver, according to that.
The key differentiator for those that are seeing social media marketing success lies in planning, and establishing a clear understanding of what your audience needs.
A version of this post was first published on the Dhariana Lozano's blog.