Back when Facebook first became widespread, we all enjoyed sharing what was on our minds and having cordial conversations. We kept in touch with old high school friends as well as family from out of town. Thanks to a boring job in college with a lot of downtime, Facebook became a welcoming way to pass the time for me.
Today, the way the platform is used hasn’t changed much. Many people still use it to stay in touch with friends and family. Now they can share photos and videos, like, love, or hate a status, and create groups with common interests. The biggest difference is that businesses can join the platform thanks to the creation of business pages. The problem with that is too many businesses don’t join the conversation and forget the biggest piece of social media is that it was made to be SOCIAL.
People no longer want to be advertised to - they want to ask questions, learn more, and feel as though they matter. Brand loyalty is a thing of the past, especially with upcoming generations like Gen Z. People are no longer won over by a catchy jingle or punny magazine ads, at least not on its own.
If you take a step back, how is your business or organization using social media?
Keep It Social
There’s a reason marketing is a separate term from advertising. Marketing is more about interacting with your customers and building relationship than solely promoting your organization. Social media can be a great way to stay connected with your current customers while gaining exposure in ways traditional advertising can’t do. Think of social media marketing like dating - no one likes someone who only talks about themselves. Encourage interactions on your posts by asking questions or taking polls, either related to your business or just something relevant like a national holiday. Likes, hearts, and other reactions are ok, but you want people to comment and share your posts so it reaches a bigger audience (and the platforms "reward" you for it as well with more placements on feeds). Create content that people would want to share with their friends and family.
Know Your Audience
One question that’s always brought to the table is “which platform should we be on?” The answer is never all of them and truly not even two. You need to be where your audience is but it’s always best to start in one place. Facebook is great for most demographics, but if you’re looking to reach the under 25 crowd, consider Instagram or Twitter. Don't just jump on TikTok unless you can show off something that connects with your audience (and I don't mean the lastest dance or craze). Get to know and be comfortable with one platform well before adding another to your plate. Also know how your audience likes to engage with you on that platform. Some people use Twitter or Facebook Messenger as an alternative type of customer service. Make sure they know what to expect when it comes to interacting with you on each platform.
The Best Practices
I’m not saying you can’t promote your products or services, but you don’t want every post to be about you (remember it’s like dating!). The best way to use social media for marketing is to follow the 4-1-1 Rule. For every promotional or “salesy” post you publish, you’ll want to have four others that educate, entertain, or give your audience a reason to interact. Finally, share or engage with one other person’s or organization’s posts. Did a customer mention you? Make sure you like it and maybe leave a simple thank you. Even if they don’t mention you, an occasional comment on their posts can help humanize your organization. Don’t forget to add hashtags but make sure to know what’s the appropriate amount to have.
Social media is just that - SOCIAL. Either you’re engaging with your customers or you’re left talking to yourself about yourself. If you were to look at your social media from your followers’ perspective, would you want to share and comment with your organization or want to unfollow? It’s never to late to change or start over with your social media strategy. Looking for some help? See how I can come alongside to help you create great conversations in your social media!
Thoughts from Me
Tips, advice, and more from my experience as a copywriter, marketer, and small business owner.