Flourishing Beyond Followers: Social Media Marketing Truths
Social media can be confusing, even from a user perspective. It wasn’t that long ago that we were sharing photos of cats that “Can haz cheezburger!” But when you take a look at social media from a marketing perspective, especially as a small business owner, things are more complicated. There are so many different strategies out there, and with them come myths and misconceptions. Today, we’re going to bust some of those myths! From platforms to followers, and from viral posts to AI, let’s kick some marketing myths to the curb.
Myth #1: You Have to Have a Presence on Every Social Media Platform
It was surprisingly difficult to find a list of all the social media platforms in existence to make this point! But according to Wikipedia, there are 35 social media sites with over 100 million monthly active users worldwide. But to take this point a little bit less literally, there are 8 platforms that we would consider a legitimate part of anyone’s social media strategy: Facebook, Instagram, Google My Business, LinkedIn, X (formerly Twitter), Pinterest, TikTok, and YouTube. Unless you’re a giant business like Coca Cola, we don’t recommend posting on all of them! Each platform serves a completely different purpose and audience. Here’s where we can address another myth: social media isn’t just for young people. TikTok may be the place for those rowdy little youngsters dancing in their living rooms and pranking their families, but you definitely won’t find those same youngsters anywhere on Facebook. Splitting your attention between platforms requires a lot of time and effort. Wouldn’t you rather spend that energy on a platform or two that targets the audience you actually want to work with? We agree with Forbes on this: “by focusing your efforts, you can build strong followings and communities more efficiently without wasting resources on channels where there are fewer of your targets.”
Myth #2: You Should Focus on Your Follower Count
We’ve heard this myth go two ways: Followers are the Most Important thing, and Follower Count Doesn’t Matter. The important thing to take away is this: the number of followers you have isn’t necessarily an indicator of your success. The larger the number, the more credibility you have. But having a ton of followers who aren’t engaging with your content looks just as bad as a small following. However, that larger number shouldn’t be ignored. According to SproutSocial, “68% of consumers primarily follow brands on social to discover new products and services, followed by having access to exclusive promotions (46%) and entertaining content (45%). Just because they’re not liking or commenting doesn’t mean they’re not gathering information that can eventually drive buying decisions.”
When it comes to where you put your focus, make sure it’s split between follower count and engagement rate. Engagement makes your followers more likely to see your content, but the followers who aren’t engaging can still lead to sales in the end!
Myth #3: Social Media is One-Way Communication
You can certainly use your platform as a one-way communication channel where you broadcast your messages and promotions without responding to your audience. You do you. But the people who use this strategy are the same ones who believe the misconception that social media doesn’t drive leads. If you’re not engaging with your followers, of course they won’t engage with you or your business! Build trust with your audience by listening to their opinions and feedback, answer questions and complaints, and make your platform a fun place to be. You should also encourage user-generated content, reviews, testimonials, and referrals. These will boost your visibility and your credibility. A Two-Way social media strategy is one that will lead to more leads and may even have a post or two go viral.
Communicating and interacting with your audience is why we add content to our clients’ social media profiles that might be dismissed as “fluff.” Posts like hashtag holidays (#NationalHaikuDay), motivational quotes, and jokes or memes all encourage your followers to engage with your content. And the more they engage with those posts, the more likely they are to see your sales posts and turn into a lead.
Myth #4: Social Media is a One-Size-Fits-All Marketing Strategy
Just because social media platforms are algorithm-based doesn’t mean the same strategy will work for every company. As a small business owner, we hope you already know this! You know your business is unique, and your social media strategy should be too. More importantly, each social media platform has its own unique features, strengths and weaknesses, and algorithms. And even more importantly, your audience is unique. Some people are going to get a kick out of sharing your weekly Dad-Joke to their own page. Some people would prefer to see more informative content out of you. A good social media strategy will be unique to you, your business, and your audience.
This is also how we know even the best AI will never replace a human’s strategy. No robot can interact with humans the way humans can. This is a good thing to remember when writing your own content, too. AI can be a useful tool to help you get started, but it will never be a good replacement.
Myth #5: Social Media is a Standalone Marketing Strategy
Seeing social media as a standalone strategy is shortsighted at best. How many times, for example, have you met someone at a networking event, handed them your business card, and gotten a sale from that person? Even if you have had that happen, it’s rare. Most people need an attention-grabber and then a follow-up or two to remind them they want to work with you.
We’re human. We forget things! Just like it’s best for you to send someone a follow-up email after meeting them at a networking event (yes, you should be doing this), send someone a follow-up email newsletter after they’ve seen your posts on Facebook. Of course there are some steps to set this up, including your followers opting-in to your other content, but make sure to integrate other marketing channels and activities into your social media content! If nothing else, use your social media to promote your website, email, blog, podcast, events, etc. Using LinkedIn’s wise words, “You should use social media marketing as a tool to support and enhance your marketing and business objectives, not as an end in itself.”
So what have we learned? With so many tips and tricks out there for social media marketing, it’s important to remember to focus. The more focused you are with your strategy, the more quality results you get. You may have access to more people on more platforms, but you’ll get better results by using your energy on a few relevant platforms. Follower count isn’t everything, but you’ll increase that number faster and in a more quality way if you use your social media for two-way communication. Create a personalized community, and you’ll increase your engagement, create leads, and potentially have a post go viral. And make sure to integrate your other marketing channels into your social media, too. Social media is important, but not the only factor your potential customers will take into account when making a purchase!
If any of this seems overwhelming to you, Flourish is here to help! We customize our social media marketing strategies to our customers, because no marketing is one-size-fits all. We’ll work with you to find a plan that fits your goals and your budget. We can even help you optimize the plan you already have! Or if you’re wanting to create the content yourself and just need help with the strategy, our Roadmap sessions will be perfect for you. Reach out to book a consultation and we’ll help you get started!
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