In the marketing world, we love to look at social media contributing as a force for good. It offers so many tools and opportunities, we really can't discourage its use in any given situation. But that raises an important question: Does social media ever hurt your marketing activities? Are there times when you may need to focus a little less on social platforms and more on what works for you? To find out, we suggest you ask these questions (all of these questions, not just one or two), then think about your current strategy.
Is Your Target Audience on Social Media?
We can't emphasize this question enough: What do your customers use? If your customers are on social media, you need to be there too – and not just on social media, but using the same platforms that they use. If your customers don't use social media that much, then dumping a huge amount of money and work into social marketing may not see a very good ROI. This is an interesting dilemma for the more staid B2B industries right now, because they are moving from a state of "social media is okay, I guess" to "we need social media as part of our strategy." If you are on the fence, we recommend you jump on early, because the up-and-coming workforce is going to be social media savvy no matter what business they are in.
Are You Converting From Social Media?
How are your social efforts connecting to your sales funnel, and are they producing results? If you aren't seeing many conversions from social media, then it's probably one of two things. The first possibility is that your social content...isn't great. It make be lacking proper calls to action, or proper targeting, or engaging styles, something else entirely, but it's not bringing in the customers it needs to. The second possibility is that your customers just don't use social media to make purchases – which is fine, but it should affect how much time you're currently spending on social platforms. We've written some other pieces on how social media affects the sales funnel, and we suggest you take a look!
How Do You Share Content?
Let's look at two scenarios. In the first, most of your contacts you notice are on LinkedIn (thanks, business cards!) and their business is represented on Twitter. You may not hold many 'real' conversations on these platforms, but it's where you see most of your clients are 'hanging out' and these platforms are the best way to share content so that everyone sees it. In this case, we suggest amping up your social media work and really trying to build your brand socially.
The second scenario is blog-focused. You have a tight-knit community that you interact with primarily through sharing blogs, talking on forums, and engaging in comment sections. If you are already thriving in this space, social media can augment your results, but not replace them, so social strategies should be ancillary.
What Are Your Methods for Immediate Communication?
Do you shoot an email? Send a text? How do your clients seem to prefer to communicate? If they use instant messages and like to ask questions in the comments section, then you need to rely more on social media as your option for direct communication. If they prefer to pick up the phone or use other traditional means, you may not need to have social media apps as close at hand.
How Connected Are You to the Industry?
Do you have a finger on the pulse? Do you hear about news when it happens? Or do you feel out of the loop a little too often (this even applies to your bosses and peers)? If it's the latter, then you need to amp up your social media strategy and get more involved in your world. If you're already well connected, your social position may be good where it is currently at.
How Diverse Are Your Channels?
Do you communicate and share through only a couple channels (email, blogging), or do you have several different channels you schedule content through? These days, a more diverse channel strategy is usually better, since it casts a wider net into today's frenetic digital world. Social media can help with this diversification if you're struggling.
What is Your Social Media Work Ethic?
To be blunt, are your employees and peers goofing off? There comes a time when the advantages of social media can be outweighed by the distractions they cause, and limits need to be placed on using social media in the workplace – which will impact your social strategy. Rethink your workplace guidelines if necessary.
Apply these questions when you think about creating a social media strategy that is right for your brand and you will come away with a winning combination that is unique to your business.