I will never forget that day, as a Student of T.A. Marryshow Community College, around 2005, I saw a friend of a friend posting pictures of herself on the internet. In my naïve self, not knowing what it was….It was on some platform called Facebook. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. To me, this was crazy!! Why would someone want to put their pictures online for the world to see? I couldn’t picture anyone having success on social media.
I told myself I would never do that; clearly, I didn’t listen to myself because today, I am a Social Media Strategist with a master’s degree in digital media and a post-graduate diploma in digital business. Not only that, but I am also out here teaching people how to be successful on social media.
After working in the social media space for several years, I started noticing that there are some things necessary for businesses, entrepreneurs, and anyone using social media to succeed (Whether they are using social media for Marketing or Customer Service), which led me to develop the C.R.A.V.E Framework for social media success. If one wants to be a successful Social Media marketer, one needs to C.R.A.V.E. It is corny, I know, but hey, it’s my concept, and I am sticking with it.
Ok, enough idle talking (or typing); let’s get down to the meat of things. CRAVE is an acronym that I developed, and it represents:
Now let’s break down each concept, starting with C.
The first thing that many of you might think is connect here refers to connecting with your audience — ensuring that people know, like, and trust you before they buy from you. All of this is true; however, the “connect” I am referring to here is “our social media goals.” One might say, “but Kimron, goal, is G, not C” they’re right but let me explain.
One of the biggest problems I encountered while working with businesses on their social media strategies and execution plans is a disconnect between the persons setting the overall goals for the business/organization and the person executing on social media. This disconnect leads to people implementing strategies and plans that do nothing to help accomplish any of the organization’s or business’s goals.
Therefore, our social media goals and execution must CONNECT to our business goals for social media success. If, as a business, you plan to grow by 25% year over year, then your social media execution must support that goal. Whatever you are doing on social media must be geared towards reaching that overall business goal. Whenever there is a disconnect between what’s happening on social media and what’s happening in the business, it doesn’t matter what you do; people will see social media as a failure. For example, a business owner or entrepreneur may say, ok, we got 10K views; how is that translating into business success? That’s the question your boss will be asking when there isn’t a profit. This disconnect leads people to make statements like social media doesn’t work. Therefore, before executing on social media, ensure that the social media execution CONNECTS to the overall business goals.
The next success factor is Respect; sometimes, our downfall on Social Media stems from the fact that we do not respect social media. This lack of Respect is why you find many people not investing the required amount of time and resources needed to make social media work. This lack of Respect and naivety is why one’s social media marketing FAILS because instead of hiring an experienced social media marketer who knows what they are about, one would decide to hand over social media to their intern or somebody’s cousin because they are in high school and is supposed to know about this “social media thing.”
I am sure every business, entrepreneur, and anyone exploring a business venture wants to succeed on social media. In that case, you need to respect social media and treat it like any other medium you use for communicating with your target audience. This means investing the time, the money and other resources needed, starting from hiring the right people to handle the different aspects of your social media, creating content contextual to the platform you are on and not using the different channels solely for distribution without a proper content strategy for each.
Respecting social media will lead businesses to invest in paid media and not just rely on organic social media. It means taking the time to understand storytelling on social media, it means understanding how to create and amplify messages. When we respect social media and invest in it, only then will we begin to see the results and how it makes us succeed.
I believe this one is straightforward; before we can start executing on social media, we must understand who we are targeting. We need to know who we are creating content for; we need to understand what they like, what they do not like, we need to know which platforms they are on, and what type of content they want from us etc.
Truth be told, every business strategy starts with this principle, it’s very cliché, but it’s fundamental. No matter what business strategy you need to execute, you must know your target audience. For example, If I don’t know who my target audience is on social media, it will lead to me creating and posting content that isn’t really targeting anyone or content that might target the wrong people.
Oh, and one more thing, YOU are not necessarily your target audience, so creating content you like or posting on platforms you like or prefer is not a very good strategy period! Your target audience needs to be at the centre of your strategy. This is why its’ at the centre of this Framework.
Providing content for your audience on social media is about understanding what they want and delivering it to them. That is what value is, and value can be determined in different ways: entertainment, escapism, education, practical how-to tips etc. The essence of social media is value.
Overall, marketing is about providing value; people do not buy our products and services because they like us or want our products and services per se. They buy or use our products and services because it solves their problem. Therefore, we need to understand what problems we are solving for our customers and communicate with them accordingly.
On social media, we must understand we are not providing content for ourselves but for our customers and our content must be valuable to them. If we are not providing value, it’s difficult for us to succeed on social media.
In a world where social media changes daily, the strategies and tactics that worked one week may not necessarily work the next; Facebook is constantly changing its algorithm; Twitter is forever making changes, and so too are all the other platforms, and when this happens, experimentation becomes the strategy.
To enjoy social media success, we must be testing and running different experiments on an ongoing basis. We need to be trying different content types and content formats, and we need to be testing posting times. We need to be experimenting with new platforms; we need to be experimenting with new tactics as well as experimenting with the different changes the platforms are making as time goes by.
Note well, what worked last month may not work this month, and holding on to the outdated strategies and tactics without testing new ones is a surefire way to fail on social media. Experimentation must become part of our social media strategy for us to succeed.
That’s a breakdown of my C.R.A.V.E Framework for social media success. I will discuss this Framework over the next couple of weeks and analyze each element deeper. Until then, remember that if you want to succeed on social media, C.R.A.V.E. is the only way to go!