The Truth Behind Social Media Strategy

“It’s not working!” he exclaims, filled with frustration.

As a marketing agency, we hear this at least once a day from past, present and even future clients. Though we understand the double-edged sword nature of social media, we try to remind our clients that platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are digital marketing strategies that are still in an awkward, not-quite-sure-of-their-place adolescence. Despite the fact that we incorporate these methods of communication into our everyday routines, they are still unpredictable, erratic and constantly changing.

The harsh reality is that social media DOES work, you just have to know how to use it to your advantage.

Define what it means for social media to be “working”
Have you ever considered that maybe you need to shift your idea of what “working” really means? Yes, the ultimate goal of any marketing strategy is to increase revenue; however, it’s not really all that easy to tie your frequent tweeting to a real revenue uptick. Why not try bringing your social media goals a little closer to reality? Start by working on improving interaction and growing a solid fanbase around your brand.

Do you have a true social media strategy?
At Old Town Media, we specialize in strategies and outlines but strategy isn’t always top-of-mind for businesses just starting out. Consider taking the time to actually write out a social media strategy. This does not mean randomly posting to to Facebook 5 times a day or spending hours trying to find the perfect time to post. Instead, take the time to really think about 1. how much time you have to dedicate to social media 2. do you have the proper resources to maintain a good online presence 3. which social networks are right for your demographic. Here is a great article about creating a social media strategy from scratch.

Alert the media: social media changes (frequently)
Social media changes often and as marketing professionals, it is our job to stay up to date with those change – but are you? Are you taking advantage of boosted posts on Facebook? Do you know the difference between a boosted post and an ad? Do you know about the algorithm changes happening? Do you know why your Facebook fans may have decreased recently? Considering staying up to date by subscribing to Moz or Hubspot blogs.

Do you know where your audience is engaging?
The days of being present on ALL social media are long gone. No one has time to effectively manage Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr, Snapchat and more. One of the most important pieces of building a social media strategy is determining where your audience is. You might want to consider doing some serious research about the best platforms for reaching your target audience. This includes looking to see where your competition is engaging users. Remember, every social media audience is different.

The fine line between sales and social media
You might be interested in marketing your product or service, but your audience may or may not care – at all. Maybe all your users want to do is hang out, look at cool pictures and like your posts every now and then. Remember, a successful strategy isn’t really about pushing your products as much as building a fanbase that is loyal to your brand.

Patience is a virtue
In the reckless and spontaneous world of social media, people tend to get VERY impatient. If it’s not “working” within the first two months, businesses tend to quit and try something drastically different. This could be anything from Google AdWords to very expensive print contracts. The truth is, social media is not an over-night miracle. A substantial social media presence is something that requires long-term commitment and careful cultivation. Hence why “how much time do I actually have to dedicate to this” should be a major part of your strategy.

When executed correctly, social media can be truly beneficial for a business. If it isn’t “working” the way you’d originally imagined, start by taking a step back and getting to know your audience. Understand where they are searching for content and what exactly they want to see (ages 18-25 want to see different posts than ages 45-55). Be just as invested in your audience as you want them to be invested in your business. With patience, a bit of creativity and a positive attitude – your social media strategy will slowly but surely start to work in your favor.