When companies or entrepreneurs want to work with me, one of the primary reasons is usually a lack of return from social. They feel like they have a good strategy and they’re putting the right things out there, but it’s a void. Nothing is coming back — definitely not sales or clients, but not even comments or likes. What are they doing wrong? It seems so easy at first…
Effectively leveraging social media for business is really all about tool selection. Think about it like this. If your car breaks down and you have some idea about cars, chances are you’re not going to go grab a waffle iron to try and fix it. That might be an extreme example right there, but the way some people use social media is exactly like that — they focus time and energy on platforms or tools that make no sense relative to their core business value.
This is even more important when you’re talking about small businesses, because your resources are typically less. A company like ExxonMobil can make dozens of mistakes on social strategy, because it has billions of dollars on hand already. A SMB entrepreneur has a lot less runway in this regard.
When I say “tools” with regard to social media, I mean:
● Channel types
● Management tools
● Analytic tools
● Monitoring tools
All of them are important, but beginning with channel types is crucial. If you sell custom jewelry, you absolutely should be on Instagram and Pinterest. You can be on LinkedIn, but it’s possibly not a necessity. Here’s the simplest guide to channel types:
Facebook: Great for B2C and a huge reach, although ironically works very well for local targets
Twitter: Best for disseminating news or items of influence; also great for recruiting
LinkedIn: One of the best B2B channels, and good for networking, branding, and developing thought leadership
Pinterest: B2C heavy and great for health, beauty, and fashion products/services
Snapchat: “The most inherently social network” in some ways; real-time and good for showcasing your unique style or sensibility — and also contests
Instagram: Visual sensibility and good for events, campaigns, and national brand leverage posts
YouTube: Obviously a primary video platform, although Facebook Video is rising up now
Depending on what your core business value prop is, you can be all of these or focus your attention on just one. Unfortunately many people jump on all of them, but then don’t devote any real time to building an audience or engagement on any. If you’re going to do social right, it’s better to own Pinterest (as one example) as opposed to having somewhat-OK profiles on nine different platforms. Business is usually about more, more, more (bigger numbers, more sales, more impressions), but in this case targeting and less can be better.
In terms of management tools, there are dozens on the market. Buffer and HootSuite (and TweetDeck) are probably the best-known ones, but there are lots of others. The key with a management tool is simple: don’t just ‘set it and forget it.’ You need to look at it, monitor it, see who’s interacting with your shares, respond to them, etc. Too many entrepreneurs, because they’re busy with other aspects of the business, set up SMM (social media management) and then just let it roll. They’ll call that ‘scaling social.’ It’s not. It’s basically just ignoring what could be a vital part of your business.
Monitoring tools and analytic tools? I’d give the same advice. There are dozens to choose from — although for your primary website, I would recommend Google Analytics — but the key is in actually monitoring them yourself, looking at the data, looking at the information, and using it to make decisions about your business. For example, let’s say you have a random blog post from 14 months ago that keeps getting traffic and driving people to click into product pages on your site. You haven’t thought about that blog since the day you wrote it, but clearly it resonates with people and has for over a year. Once you see that trend, go and repurpose that blog. Put more recent links in it. Change the keywords. Write similar things. Repackage it as a sales sheet. There are dozens of options, but it starts with actively monitoring the tools you’re using.
People often have questions about ads, ad formats, ads on social networks, and how to analyze ad performance. We’ll get to those in the next post. If you don’t have the tools down first, the ads won’t do much for you anyway.