In 2012, when I started (what is now) ARCH Digital Agency, social media marketing was completely different.
Back then, I worked hard to convince business owners that social media wasn’t a passing fad and was necessary to the growth of their businesses. I juggled multiple social media channels without tools or fancy apps to make the repetitive actions easier. I learned Facebook ads because it was beginning to take fruition. And I cultivated every account the old-fashioned way – through relationship building, providing value and being consistent.
In 2017, the industry isn’t the same place.
People are automating hellos and introductions instead of taking 3 seconds to personally do it. Folks are requiring followbacks if they give you one. Everyone believes that ads are the answer. And business owners think they know what’s best for their social channels.
Folks – this isn’t the way.
Instead of wondering why your accounts are flatlining, instead of blaming it on ad spend or lackluster content – look at yourself or whoever is managing the social media channels and pinpoint the priority.
Money. Promotion. ROI… and, Money.
Not that making money is a dirty thing – we all need it! But we have forgotten to invest the essence of social media into social media – being social, building relationships, taking the TIME to get to know someone, providing value, investing time, and giving back.
Do you remember what social media used to be like? How much joy did you have unearthing your first old friend on Facebook? Making a new contact on Twitter who shared your interests? In finding a solution to a pain point via LinkedIn?
It was killer. It was glorious. But the necessity to monetize it came in and removed our ability to continue creating the same magic and today we find ourselves in a completely different space.
But guess what – five years after starting my business, the same principles still ring true and continue to cultivate the strongest communities and foundations for businesses.
While ad spend is a legit necessity, gorgeous visual media a commodity, and well-written content a must, even these strategies won’t adhere if a solid foundation isn’t in place to show a brand has integrity, provides its audience and customers with top notch service, and is always around.
Here are your old-fashioned values/priorities:
1. Know your target audience
If you don’t know who your target audience is – and I mean REALLY clearly – then all your marketing efforts are going to fall flat. Numbers might grow, the audience might increase, but the quality of it will be a completely different story.
Marketing to everyone is one of the biggest pitfalls of businesses these days because it generalizes the message and therefore it blends in with everything else out there.
Get nit-picky about the who/what/where/when/how and pain points of your target demo before embarking on marketing of any kind.
And if anyone tells you it doesn’t matter, RUN away. Like immediately! No joke.
2. Be consistent
Consistency has to be one of mankind’s most difficult challenges, but it ensures trust, growth, and loyalty – guaranteed.
Create schedules for all marketing endeavors and stick. to. them. no. matter. what. Yea, I said it.
This is a toughy for most, including myself, but if there was ANYTHING I’d say is necessary to marketing success (and really, ANY kind of success), it’s hands down – consistency.
3. Provide value
I was recently sitting in on a board meeting that was discussing the next major event and how to make it a success. But instead of focusing on what we could do to ensure value to attendees, the focus was on making it pretty, i.e. the fanciful stuff that anyoneeee can pull together.
Whether it’s a Facebook post, an event, a launch party, a newsletter – whatever it is, make sure it provides value to your target audience. Don’t try to please the masses, don’t get lost in being popular – think about your target audience. And again, if you don’t know who they are – go back to number one – you clearly aren’t ready for this point yet. Haha.
Because guess what folks – if you’re doing marketing correctly – you know it’s not about you! It’s your audience, your fans, your customers that make you successful, so their needs/wants/pain points must be taken into account.
4. Give your customers and audience reasons to fall in love with you
Marketing is a song and dance between two lovers: the business and the customer, and both are equally important. If we aren’t consistently providing value and making our folks fall in love with us, then we aren’t investing in the relationships, and the end is in sight.
Take it offline. What happens when you don’t reply to a friend’s email? When you’re saying “no” multiple times to an invitation? When you spend time with someone and make the entire evening about you?
You end up alone.
Same with social media.
We have to stop treating our online relationships any differently than our in-person ones. One of my biggest surprises when reviewing a new account or doing a social media strategy for a brand is seeing how many rarely respond to their audience. It’s crazy!
Bottom line: yes, this may seem like fru-fru stuff to you. But if you aren’t a MASTER of these practices then begin anticipating the expiration date of your marketing efforts. Remember, it’s not about you – it’s about them. And social media is about being social and building relationships FIRST, and then the money will come.
Disagree? Explain why. Would love to hear your thoughts!