Time and time again I hear small business owners say that they must get their social media going, or sometimes their words are “we must create content for our social media”.
It often takes no more than one question of “why” to stop them in their tracks as the most compelling reason they can think of is something along the lines of “because everybody is on social media.” It gets worse when it turns out that ‘everybody’ is not even referring to their target audiences, but to their competitors.
From my experience this doesn’t necessarily mean that these business owners haven’t thought of social media as vehicles to market and sell their products or services. They just haven’t thought about it with intention and strategic focus first. The sheer existence and availability of the tools, blinded their vision.
What are you in the social media game for?
So if you are someone, who has been thinking about this social media game and that your business should be in it, or if you are perhaps already in the game, but things are not quite working as expected, here’s a few questions you may find useful to ask first; before jumping the guns with all the social media tools and channels in the world.
Why do you want to be in the social media game? Is it
- to lead or to follow
- to inspire or to get inspired
- to promote (your own valuable content) or to curate and create (some) content (for the sake of it)
- to create more content or better content
- to chase customers or to attract customers
- to sell or to influence
- to engage with your followers or push content out
- to make an impression or to make an impact
- to focus on output or outcome
- to do (as in just post content) or to be (as in reflect your brand values)
- to appear as something or someone, or to be authentic
Whether your answers are leaning to one side of the argument or include a bit of both, these are what will make or break your social media presence, what keep you inspired or make you bite the dust.
These answers are also what will determine your choices and requirements for the type of social media activities, priorities, KPIs (key performance indicators), frequency, time and even resource needs when it comes to outsourcing your social media. Finally what’s more, your answers will bring to light what the most strategic function and purpose for your social media is. Is it content creator, curator or promoter and transmitter?
“Don’t create content for your social media. Create it for your audience (to educate, inspire and engage) or also for yourself (to learn and better yourself). Then go use social media to spread your content”. ~@BforBirgit
The answers are in your content marketing strategy
When it comes to determining the right social media channels and the content that best meets your objectives, there’s one more vital step that must come first in order to set your social media game up for success.
It is your overall content marketing strategy, which really clarifies your cause, why it matters, what is unique about it and who it is for. In other words, your guiding principles, values and elevator pitch are key to creating content, which is
- aligned with overall business objectives
- on brand and in line with tone of voice
- targeted to your audience/s
- meaningful in support of your cause
- authority and trust building
- well written and optimised for consuming on the web (hint: search engines, keywords, hashtags, etc).
Social media it seems can be a blessing and a curse. Done blindly or out of peer pressure or for self-centred motives it can become a bit of a burden, purely manufactured activity, logistical nightmare and some might argue waste of time.
However, I believe that if you really focus on getting clear on your cause, why it matters and how social media can make a meaningful difference to your business, it can become a wonderful tool to learn, connect and to get your message out into the world.
“The strength of your social media is determined by the strength of your content.” ~Haroon Rashid
Social media is not an essential per se, a compelling vision and purpose for it is, and this is usually a result of being really clear about your cause, uniqueness and difference it makes. In my own words this is what I refer to as the life-force of your business.
“No matter how good the team or how efficient the methodology, if we’re not solving the right problem, the project fails.”–Woody Williams
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One thought on “No, you don’t have to be on social media – unless you know what for!”
I say that regularly to my course delegates (I run a marketing for start-ups course every month). Most of them think all they have to do is put up facebook page and untold riches will be theirs. They look at me like I’ve got horns coming out of my head when I tell them – Give your social media purpose. Once I show them examples of different ‘purposes’ and what it means and what to do, they come round – but it can be a hard sell.
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