You and I have heard the numbers. The “hundreds of millions” on social media and therefore we knew we must join in, but why? Simply knowing the people are there does not mean that what you post will create benefits. Clearly, we have seen social media take down the powerful as quickly as it propped them up. As a business, non-profit or simply an individual with something to say we have joined the social media community for different reasons than most of the “hundreds of millions”. It is critical that you understand why you are on social media. What you do on social media affects the most important items you possess, your reputation and your potential. The goal is that others buy into your reputation so strongly that they would actually defend you online and that your potential is so celebrated and vast that what you launch or offer becomes the obvious first choice.
You can reach the previously mentioned goals by luck or happenstance, but it would be so much more beneficial if you intentionally reached the goal and learned how to repeat the process. The process starts with knowing which of the reasons social media is used. I call it “The Big 3” and believe all users fall into one of these categories. Determine which of these uses of social media aligns with you and then prioritize those reasons to suit your situation.
THE BIG 3:
- Producing Revenue: Acquiring customers and money
- Producing Change: Social Awareness, Causes, Knowledge or Advising
- Producing Connections: Creating and maintaining relationships, observing areas of interest.
Knowing which reason aligns with your goals then determines your strategy or behavior not simply via social media but ultimately online. Here is how this applies. We will say you are a grocery chain and there is a debate online over which food is best, organic or non-organic. Your primary reason for engaging in social media is determined as Producing Revenue. Your engagement in the discussion would not be to choose one side over the other, remember you do not wish to lose any potential revenue from either side. You do not wish to stay out of the engagement because of the high number of persons involved in the debate, after all, they are potential customers. So you may be wise to respond with a question/poll that asks “Why do you eat Organic?” & “ Why do you eat Non-Organic”, then follow up with “no matter why & what you eat we have you covered”. If your Primary reason is Producing change then your social media would produce posts supporting your view and you would be willing to sacrifice revenue from the side you disagree with. This demonstrates that simply posting a fixed number of times a week is so 2015. You need to post in a manner that supports your reason for being in social media. You will gain more diligent and raving fans.
The reason for being on social media now being established brings to focus optimization of your online presence. This is the critical ongoing day to day work of your social media profile and it has one goal…avoid irrelevance. You need to matter on the web. This is the phase which requires tools like Ubersuggest and Google Trends to help you determine the best terms to use in your posts. Additionally, you leverage other social media profiles and groups that have a high number of your target audience and yes you determine how many times to post in a week or day. You may choose to be a source of knowledge on your industry. You may share events and news related to your industry but you need to make sure your content is consistently relevant. Remember the work in this phase is not based on feelings or even a professional marketers advice. It is based on one thing and that is data. The data tells you when to post your relevant content for optimum engagement and conversion. It tells you where to post and predicts which posts will do well if boosted. Marketing without data is like driving with your eyes closed. The main reason companies and non-profits feel social media and digital marketing don’t work is because they do it with no interest in data. Results are increased tremendously by the correct use of analytics and data. This allows you to continually optimize your social media and online presence.
Finally, having determined the reason for being online and strategies for optimization you must in monetary terms decide how important this social media platform is to you. I have experienced organizations that bring in millions in profits annually with no budget for online advertising. The idea behind each post is a goal, an expected reaction, the question is can you reach that goal consistently without advertising dollars. The truth is without spending money on social media and without your content “going viral” only 6 to 12 percent of your followers see it. We can improve that number by techniques and data but we can almost guarantee a particular amount of clicks or engagement by adding paid advertising. The days of effective online media by having the talkative or tech savvy person in the office occasionally post and add numerous hashtags is over. Advertising via social media is the most cost friendly and adaptable manner of marketing ever invented. It is agile and can be adjusted easily during campaigns to increase results but it is most effective with a budget.
I do not know why you are on social media. Perhaps someone said you don’t look professional without it, or that it is not a trend. Those statements are true but if those are the only reasons you are there it will not be long before your profiles are irrelevant. Look at “The Big 3” and make a decision on your priority, then act on it. No one should ever be able to say to you or your organization, You’re on social media, but why?