Social media is an umbrella term that consists of multiple channels intended to display different types of content. While the content per channel differs (video, infographics, text) the channels offer users the means to leverage each’s strengths to maximize reach. The ease of repurposing content used for one channel to employ within the other channels is another benefit, one need not create multiple unique messages or inputs to engage in social media marketing. I think this is likely well understood by most.
Social media can be a tool for announcement, awareness or engagement. It affords users an opportunity to establish and grow a network of persons or entities with whom a person shares some common subject or business interests. The more someone feeds it with interesting, informative and well-considered content the better the chances are of reaping some benefit.
But, it is not a replacement for marketing and sales activities and nor is it a fast track to results.
I see providers posting content or announcements on social media and expecting sales of expensive reports and services to happen. Social is an organic concept and that requires time and effort to develop. Most people and companies have to invest a fair amount of time and effort into cultivating channels that produce the results they crave. Good brands and influencers get that.
The firms and providers that excel at leveraging social media share some common traits; frequency, quality, narrative, consideration for the brand, intention, offer, listening and care. Also, a strategy. Their graphics are on point, their messages are consistent and there is some effort at providing value to their audience. Good firms take pains to support their analysts’ efforts at social media by amping the posts via likes and reshares or talk them up with additional commentary. It also doesn’t hurt that content marketing via social channels is handled via a dedicated person or group and or considered part of the marketing strategy for the firm.
Do it yourself or use an outsider?
Effective social media activity doesn’t require a dedicated marketing person or expensive agency. In fact, I would strongly advise against using a 3rd party that offers to run the program but has no experience in analyst or expertise based marketing as the role is highly nuanced and industry or subject specific. If you want to engage an outsider consider what experience they have and what results you expect them to produce. Note that the results will depend on the extent to which you own it, are willing to collaborate and listen to their suggestions and strategic inputs.
But for DIY or even if you want to use an outsider, I find it wise for people to start with or revisit their intentions for using social media as a marketing channel. Do you want to build awareness? Spur some type of engagement? Are you looking to build the funnel or promote the brand? Promote a product or event? Are you thinking that posting a lot is going to drive traffic and convert into sales? You can choose more than one pathway but each has unique requirements and considerations.
Aside from the intentions
Does your following have adequate scale and does the following represent the constituencies you are looking to engage? You don’t need several thousands of followers if you have the right people you want to reach. Larger numbers don’t hurt but don’t confuse large following with an effective audience.
Does the audience respond to you when you push content? Do they reshare, comment or engage what you post? Good audience participation should get your content an extension into their networks but it should also promote discussion, debate or some other conversation. If the postings aren’t generating then the content is ineffective and or your following is weak.
For content, what type? How often? Messaging within it? Quality? Appearance? This is a really important consideration and really easy to trip over. Posting infrequently is self-defeating as is broadcasting content vs promoting discussion, putting out cloudy graphics (or clown show stuff), hashtag SPAM, posting obvious items and being inauthentic.
Social can be a great enhancement to marketing plan but it should be treated as a unique and highly nuanced channel.