Guest Post by Mark Elliott
There are literally 1000s of Social Media services ranging from established players like Facebook or LinkedIn to constantly emerging new services like DayCap or Headspace and others falling out of favour (remember MySpace?).
According to research by Social Media Examiner it is not surprising however that Facebook is the largest social network with 1,870 Million active users at the beginning of 2017.
So surely as a business it’s time to hop on to Facebook or Twitter and see all the opportunities that come flying in from all the millions of users out there….not really!
In line with your brand and product/service strategy, your access and engagement with social media users will depend on numerous factors.
There are indeed millions of users on social media but like all customer markets understanding the social media audience (so literally where do certain age groups hang out or serious business discussions happen) is crucial to your social media selection.
So if you are a Law Firm who wishes only to work with businesses (B2B) then LinkedIn may be a suitable social media channel. Whereas Snapchat would be less than useful but may suit a Console Games Company.
There was a time, some may remember when the buzz was all around Friends Reunited where you could catch up with old school friends on an early social media network. This early social media pioneer finally closed in 2016
MySpace was at one point the place to be for musicians online with the ability to code pages and style them, upload videos, promote concerts and stream music tracks on (essentially) a single web page within MySpace.
Then came a mix of youTube, SoundCloud, Instagram and Facebook seeing a massive decline in MySpace usage. Attempts to resurrect MySpace have failed miserably.
So with all its users and data surely Facebook is a safe bet? It would seem not, the early adopters of Facebook back in 2004 were teenagers and some in their early 20’s.
They would now be in their 30s and to the youngmillennialss are ‘old’, as is Facebook in their eyes. The millenials have adopted Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsAp over Facebook and Twitter leaving Facebook gradually behind to the ‘older generation’.
If trading outside of the UK then consideration to regionalised social media channels is key. Particularly in China or the Far East where Facebook and Twitter are for example less prevalent.
So you ‘had to be there’ when the audience were there or geographically be there as users around the world opt for regional Social Media….or they’ll be gone!
To use an analogy if LinkedIn (the business network) was a ‘Yacht’ steady, reliable, not moving too fast and SnapChat was a ‘Formula 1’ car you wouldn’t race one against the other. Nor would you expect to see the same spectator demographics.
It is the same with social media and in my experience, those businesses who get the best results tend to focus on ‘where their audience are’. Starting with one social media channel, ensuring that content is relevant and engaging.
Our Social Media Manager has an expression “social media is a marathon not a sprint”.
What she means is that there is a perception by many people that Social Media is a ‘quick win marketing method’. Certainly, it is quick to post a Tweet on Twitter or a post on Facebook, some people are tempted to ‘Buy’ followers, likes etc.
BUT this view and approach is a fallacy.
Building a social media customer audience, of a quality nature that will engage with your content and your brand takes time. It is worth it as these followers are far more likely to share your content, like your information and in time convert to potential brand advocates.
People who have bought likes find that these ‘followers’ aren’t engaged and this waters down the effectiveness of your social media efforts (and crucially is damaging from a cost-effectiveness perspective to any social media advertising you carry out).
So investment, in terms of your time and skills, to consistently build your audience, curate or create content and develop your audience is essential to social media success.
I recommended that if you or your business is considering investing time, resources or finances into Social Media that a good level of research is carried out.
There are reports online that help with this such as the 2017 Global Social Media Statistics Report by SM Examiner or you could contact a Social Media agency who specialise in this field of marketing.
This will give you and your business the best chance of developing a strategy this is time and cost effective. A strategy that you will find works in line with your overall objectives.
If you would like some further advice or you would like to outsource this skilled area to an expert team then please contact us today. We’d be glad to help you.
Guest blog post by Mark Elliot – Founder/Managing Director of Sparks4Growth