Social Media is still moving fast. There are new networks are popping up all the time. Some are flash-in-the pans. Some stick and others don’t. There are also niche networks like houzz.com that are specific to certain industries. Other sites like meetup.com help get the word out. There are so many options but you must maintain your focus on business outcomes and not on posts. So the short answer is, yes. Social media really does work. What’s better, most of the social media platforms are free or nearly free to.
It’s Not as Simple as it Looks
On second thought, maybe a more accurate statement is, social media can work. I’m here to tell you that effective social media marketing isn’t as simple as just getting “likes”. It truly is about effort. You get out what you put into it. Let’s be very clear, social media marketing is a tactic to achieve a business outcome to support your marketing strategy. It should not be the only tactic!
Social Media Requires Effort to be Effective
Social media requires some effort including research to find your right channel. You need to identify the one that suits your business and industry the best. Facebook, while very popular, is not the be-all end-all social media outlet. Actually, it is one of my least favorites. There is little correlation between likes, fans, and new sales in particular since the changes Facebook has made in the timeline do not always show your posts.
Build it and they will Come
Posts need to be engaging. Truly engaging. And not a sales pitch or ad in the form of a post. Think in terms of what your brand is passionate about. Start to engage there. Build interest, build relationships, build trust, and the sales will come.
Don’t Always Believe the “Likes”
Don’t worry if your competition seems to be killing it with popularity in likes, fans, reviews, connections, shares, views, followers, etc. Have you heard the stories about the free-lance fake reviews and “click farms”? Such “agencies” have become so pervasive that even our local newspaper picked up a compelling article about it. Dishonesty is not the best policy. We believe this kind of deception will catch up to a company sooner or later. In many cases, sooner.
Don’t overlook Landing Pages
In order to make any social media effort work, you have to clearly define your goals and track how they really are working. All trails should lead back to your website, and should not end at any given social media-specific page. As you might’ve heard us say once or twice before, a specific landing page is strongly recommended in order to complete the social media cycle.
Your blog is also one of the simplest social media tools you have at your disposal to get your message out. It promotes you for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and positions you as the industry expert and trusted advisor that you are. Blogging might seem like a time consuming process but it covers more bases and has biggest bang for your time. However, like with all marketing, you don’t want to just go off on tangents. It’s important to have a clear plan – an editorial calendar. Blogging can be fun. Remember it‘s not only about the writing. Blogging is a community effort. Share the love. Seek out, comment on, and link to other relevant blogs. It will expand your reach, along with growing your personal network.
So yes, social media still works. And yes, you still have work to make it work. And yes, it should be a part of your marketing plan not “the” marketing plan.
Driving Point: Social media marketing can be a very effective way to increase your bottom line. But there’s much more to it than likes. Be social with a plan.
Further Reading: Fake Reviews.