Sure, there are more than 2 billion social media users on the planet right now, and social media offers unprecedented ability for companies of all shapes and sizes to engage current customers while attracting new ones. But if you're investing all of your energy into learning about the latest whiz bang social media trends and tools, you're probably wasting your time.
In working with clients across the U.S. (and internationally), I frequently encounter eager executives who put their proverbial eggs in one basket, going "all in" on social media. Throwing dollars at Facebook ads, Twitter campaigns and sponsored LinkedIn posts.
All of these can be fantastic tools to reach, build and engage your audience. Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't be here if they weren't. But focusing your attention on social media when you've got chronic marketing challenges is throwing your time, money and resources away. Take a look at these three things and consider it your pre-social media checklist. If you can safely say that you've invested the time, energy and (yes) cost into these key areas, then you can start planning and implementing a sound social strategy.
1. You have tons of engaging, valuable original content.
I see this frequently among clients of all sizes and across all industries -- junk content that has been created solely for the purpose of creating content. Google's algorithms have gotten extremely sophisticated and now reward great content while punishing poor content, but that's a good thing. Sure, I may be talking about algorithms, but that's what I do! You shouldn't be worried about algorithms or really even keywords. Instead, you should be worried about what your customers and potential customers want. What problems are they having that you can solve? How you can help solve those problems in a quick blog post, video or infographic? When you start thinking like your customers and creating content FOR them instead of TO them, you'll naturally start to see results. And it will make finding success on social media much easier.
2. Your website is a conversion rockstar.
Have you ever enjoyed engaging with a brand on social media - great graphics, fun content and even some great videos - only to click through to their website and find the equivalent of a Scooby Doo haunted house, complete with cobwebs and spooky bats? Okay, I might be exaggerating ever so slightly; however, there are few worse buzzkills than an outdated or inefficient website. If your website is more than two or three years old, I'm sorry to break this to you, but it's likely too old. A responsive site is essential (meaning your site automatically adjusts to look its best on every device). Going beyond looks, your website must be built to convert. If I click through a piece of incredible content and have no idea where to go next, your website has failed (me AND you). Tell me where to go - what do you want me to read next? If your content provided a solution to a challenging problem my business is facing, your call to action should send me to a worksheet, checklist, downloadable, or even to a contact form - help me take the next step to solve my problem! If you're not sure how to make your website convert, hire a savvy marketing firm or consultant to tell you exactly how and where your website can do its job more effectively.
3. Your employees are active and engaged on your social profiles.
I literally mentioned this on the phone to two separate clients today (at very different ends of the spectrum). One client has a team that comments, likes and/or shares posts from the company profiles every day and on every major social media site. The other has a team that will occasionally like a Facebook post. The results are drastically different. Employees are your number one asset in many areas of business, but on social media they are crucial. Across all major social networks, but especially on Facebook and LinkedIn, your potential reach and impressions rise dramatically when employees are involved. And the people you're reaching are highly targeted to your industry and company. There are larger issues at play besides sending out an email that asks your team to engage on social media. This has to come from the top and be part of a major HR and culture shift. But, once your company buys into it, the results are truly impressive (oh, and your retention and hiring numbers will likely improve as well).
Protect your social media investment and build stronger customer relationships by investing in these three areas. You'll not only save time and money, you'll have more engaged customers.