Social Media Won’t Help You…

Photo by Andrew Furlan

In October of 2016 I began working with a client here in Denver on strategic overload of their marketing program. I’ll never forget the first couple of times I made contact with the client, every other word out of his mouth was “social media.” Here I am thinking to myself, why?

So I asked exactly that. “Why is social media so important to you?”

His response was, “it’s how we can get new customers.”

And I immediately responded with, “you don’t know that.” Certain that he was going to kick me out of his office and fire me, I sat their with sweaty palms waiting for his response. After what seemed like a 20 minute pause he looked at me and said “how am I going to get new customers?”

Bam, the question I had been waiting for!

Before you decide to go post a bunch of irrelevant content on every social media outlet known to man, you need to have a strategy. Social media isn’t always the answer for new customer acquisition. Especially when you don’t have loyal customers.

Consultants, marketers, etc. are going to tell you that being on every social media outlet 3–4 times a day is vital if you want to scale your business because they profit from it. Especially if they focus solely on developing social media content and strategies.

The truth however is that your business may not need social media at all. And if it does there are only specific social media outlets that are going to be relevant to you.

For instance, with my client above the only social media outlet we needed to focus on was Youtube. After months of deliberating on strategic direction for marketing activities we decided that building credibility in the brand was the number one goal. How were we going to do that exactly? By getting other professionals in the industry to talk about the companies expertise. So we produced educational videos for the grower community (this is a cannabis company) to see what they had to say. And guess what? It worked. In six months there were 458 followers, 21,138 views, 150 shares & 49 comments. While that may not seem like a lot, every bit of that traffic is organic. None of the videos were ever promoted. And most importantly we achieved our goal. We built credibility in the brand by bringing together a community of experts.

There was no point of us putting these videos on Facebook, Instagram, etc. because the audience only lived on Youtube.

Social media can be a great tool, yes! However I don’t want to hear that you’re using social media just because everyone else is. Or that you’re posting a certain way just because everyone else is.

Allen Gannett the CEO and Founder of TrackMaven made a very valid point over on LinkedIn last week…

“We don’t talk enough about survivorship and success bias when giving advice. How many times have you heard someone say, “Well, Google does this…” or “Facebook interviews like this…” Google has a natural monopoly. They could be TERRIBLE at specific parts of HR, or finance, or engineering and still be wildly successful. In fact, the odds that ALL of their processes and practices are good ideas is ZERO. Remember, just because someone or a company is successful, it does not mean that all their ideas are good ones. They should just be one data point and ultimately, you need to make the decisions that are best for you and your business.”

As Allen puts it “you need to make the decisions that are best for you and your business.”

The same point applies to your utilization of social media.

Here’s what you need to do before you even think about posting on social media…

  1. Develop a strategy. Either internally or with a consultant (that’s me!). Marketing strategy is all about developing and executing a plan to get people to buy into your company for the long term. You want to build a community of loyal customers who will keep coming back over time and bring new customers with them. Simply posting photos of your dog Charlie because you think they’re funny isn’t going to work.
  2. Define you audience. You need to know who you’re talking to and what about. When developing strategy you’ll uncover what it is you need to talk about. Now define your audience. Who are they? Why would they engage with you? Why do I care about what your telling me? Put yourself in their shoes.
  3. Find where those people live. You have a strategy and an audience, now you need to know where they live and what content they are looking for. In all honesty you may come to find that social media isn’t the right fit for you content. Then again, maybe it is. You need to be honest with yourself. Are people looking for the content I’m thinking about putting on this particular channel? Don’t rely entirely on your own input. Get outside input from existing customers. “Hey Mr. customer I’m thinking about producing this video, what do you think?”

Developing strategy isn’t easy. There are times when you won’t get it right. Other times you will. Strategy is important because it provides guidance and gives you direction. Without strategy you’ll end up aimlessly posting irrelevant content to social media outlets where your audience doesn’t live. Worse, you’ll create content that no one is interested in.

Do your homework. Really ask yourself is social media for me. Or better yet have a conversation with me!

Social media won’t help you grow your business in every case.You need to find what works for you. Not everyone is the same. Believing that social media works for everyone is a joke. It may not work for you at all. And it definitely won’t work for you if you don’t plan accordingly.

Matt Mattson