“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”—Steve Jobs
A lot of entrepreneurs hear about social media marketing, and their immediate reaction could be something close to “Ugh!” We all know how big its impact is on businesses, and we have seen how effective it is when done right. But it all feels so complicated and like too much work that most of us fail to start because we can’t seem to figure out where to begin.
So, let’s try to make things simple. How can we effectively deliver our brand message using social media marketing?
The first thing I want you to understand is your why. Why are you using social media as a marketing tool? Are you using it to become the next biggest YouTube channel in your industry? Do you want to utilize it to improve brand discovery and recognition? Or are you hoping to use it for lead generation and boosting sales?
Of course, it can be a combination of all of the above, and more, but the why matters, because it helps you narrow down the focus of (1) what your content should be about, (2) who is your target audience, and (3) what analytics to zoom in on so that you can optimize your strategy and achieve your goal on social media.
When you have a general idea of what direction you want to go, you can dive into some specifics.
What platform do you plan on using? There’s a plethora of social media platforms out there, and you can choose to go on everything or focus on a handful of outlets.
According to SproutSocial, “The same way you prepare other aspects of your marketing plan, you need to have a specific and intentional plan for each platform you use. Each platform has nuances and best practices for generating engagement.”
You need to know why you are choosing this specific platform, what types of audiences you are going to be able to reach on the platform, and what content format works best for you and this outlet. Oh, and no matter how you dread it, you need to have at least the most basic knowledge of the algorithm of each platform, or at least understand the socialization landscape in that media. (Pun intended.)
Your brand is a representation of who you are, what you stand for (your values and mission), and what unique things you are bringing to the world. In simple words, your branding is you. This is where authenticity comes in because your branding is tied to the kind of messaging (content) you will be putting out there.
“Be genuine” is easier said than done—after all, we are all afraid that people will end up not liking us. But if you try to create a persona for your brand that is not authentic to who you are and what you stand for, it will show. And it will turn off your audience soon enough.
Remember, the foundation of all business success is trust: and people can’t trust an inconsistent and inauthentic business/brand.
Your content, or your messaging, should reflect your brand (who you are), and cater to your audience. That applies to what topics you discuss that are relevant to you and/or your business, and industry, and what formats you use (preferably a mix of audio, video, graphics, and text).
The aesthetic, presentation, tone, and delivery of your message matter too! Try to involve as much of the three F’s: Facts, Feelings, and Fun; as you can, and make sure to deliver your message in an engaging way to your audience.
Social media platforms have their own unique demographics, i.e., millennials. LinkedIn is more of a professional audience, but it is essential to understand your demographics too. You have to tailor your message to your audience to have the greatest impact (says Sprout Social, and all other marketing professionals out there!).
Nowadays, if you are unclear about who your target demographic is, the platform’s algorithm will figure it out for you—and it can be surprising sometimes!
Social media is a high-touch game, and that means consistency in showing up, posting content, and in engaging your audience. (Remember LCM? Like, comment, and message. It can be as simple as that!)
It is also important to note that some platforms require you to be active multiple times per day, which is why it is important to commit to which platform you’ll be focusing on.
Interacting with your audience builds a sense of community on your page or account. It also keeps you updated on the conversations surrounding your brand, business, or industry. These provide valuable information that you can use to inform your business decisions and strategies.
Some of the reasons a lot of entrepreneurs see social media marketing as a daunting task are the analytics and the ever-changing algorithm.
Don’t let the algorithm shifts scare you. Take it as a challenge to keep working on adding new stuff to your content so that the delivery of your messaging never goes stale.
And analytics aren’t scary, they are meant to be your friends. Your analytics tell you whether or not you are achieving your goal on social media with your current marketing strategy.
Utilize these two things, but don’t let them use you. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to get so focused on “hacking the algorithm” or “keeping up with your analytics” that you lose sight of your message and your purpose.
If you focus on creating good content catered to your audience, tailored to fit each specific platform you are on, and if you engage with your audience consistently, it will pay off.
Hopefully, this makes social media marketing less overwhelming for you. But it is true that it involves a lot of work. There are several tools and techniques that can help simplify things for you.
Let’s maximize the technology available to us. Automation saves you a lot of time, and helps keep up with some tasks to serve your customers even when you’re out. Of course, a significant chunk will still need the human touch, but using chatbots, for example, is useful in answering FAQs and concerns from your audience.
You can chop up your content and repurpose it in different formats for different platforms. Content creation can be time-consuming, so why not make the most out of one piece of content that can last you a few days or weeks?
A perfect example of this is shooting a video podcast. You can post the whole video podcast on YouTube. Rip the audio and upload it to podcast streaming platforms such as Apple and Spotify. Cut up the highlights of the video and make vertical videos for YouTube shorts, Facebook and Instagram reels, Twitter, and TikTok. Take an awesome quote or two from your conversation and make a graphic to post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.
There are tons of ways you can repurpose your content, and it saves you a lot of time and energy compared to coming up with new content.
Another way to conserve energy is to plan ahead. I have a social media calendar each month to give me prompts for what to post on each day of the month. I also have four buckets (or categories) I call STAY (Sell with a Story, Teach, Advice, You) to help prompt me to think of prompts that fall under those buckets.
When your social media channels have gained traction, you can delegate. Hiring a social media manager or a whole team to help you with post-production, scheduling, captioning, and engagement can take a load off your plate. But the content should be yours.
Social media marketing can be complex, but it doesn’t have to be super complicated. The most important piece is socializing—creating connections and building relationships with your audience.
Thanks for reading “A Brilliant Tribe.”