When we ask companies why they’re on social media, there is one surprising answer that comes up more than we expected. It goes something like this…
“Well, we need to be. Right? I mean, our competitors are out there. We need to be there, too. Right…?”
Right. And we get it. Your customers likely expect you to have some social media presence, even if it’s a Facebook post a week and a neglected Twitter account that needs a shave and a shower.
Simply being on social media likely gives prospects some sense that you’re a credible operation. Something is better than nothing. Sometimes.
That’s where we were for a while: the subsistence farming of social media management. We were consistently inconsistent. Or maybe it’s inconsistently consistent. And then, toward the end of 2015, we made a decision to ramp up engagement, see what happens and adjust accordingly. Because of this decision, and because of the success we began experiencing – discoveries we detail below – we also started offering social media management as a beta service for clients who saw what we were doing and approached us for help.
So, what have we learned? A lot. But still not enough. Here are seven takeaways from our ongoing experiment…
1. Discipline matters. One of the reasons we engaged in social media so inconsistently previously was because we didn’t have a plan. Yes, social media is about real-time, in-the-moment connections. But you also need need some structure, an editorial calendar and a trove of relevant, evergreen content to establish a true social media rhythm. You can’t just #WingIt.
2. We checked our egos. Most folks have heard that the fastest way to alienate a social media audience is to make it about me, me, me. Sales pitches are OK when it’s relevant to the conversations, but ill-placed marketing offers will result in losing friends and followers. When you don’t have a social media strategy, you’re likely only posting when you have something to say about yourself. That’s because you don’t know what else to say or post. (That said, when you have an eclectic and effective content mix, you may find like us that these company moments, such as a holiday team outing or milestone, are among your most celebrated social media posts.)
3. We’re deepening our client relationships. Getting in the trenches of social media has helped us learn more about our clients – successes and challenges, alike. Also, we’ve found that they know more about us, from our soft spot for sweets to our uptick of new hires.
4. We don’t feel the PR pressure. We think most of you have been there: you forgot to submit this new hire to this newspaper or that new client win to that website. And those were both six months ago. You missed out on low-hanging fruit opportunities to promote your company. But when you’re already posting about these on social media, you’re performing PR – that, when optimized – can create even more visibility with local media and their readership.
5. Our internal communications have blossomed. We won’t tell you how to engage employees into your social media experiment, but we have found that our team is learning things they never knew about our company. And each other. (Our LMP Spotlights certainly help). Our employees are empowered to share their ideas for social media posts. Another upshot of creating an effective social media presence is that you’re in essence creating a living company timeline for everyone, from current team members to prospective employees and clients.
6. We have a cost-effective focus group. We’ve explored new content topics and verticals, tapped into fresh demographics and now have a robust social media following that could even be used to test new messaging. Social media is much cheaper than formal focus groups. And less awkward.
7. We can make an immediate impact. We have. Our extended beta test has revealed some exciting success stories. We built a non-profit’s Facebook page from scratch to reach more than 22,000 users and create engagement with more than 1,200 per week – after just three months. And that was accomplished organically. We also helped a top home builder increase their Facebook engagement by 60% in just our first month managing their social media.
Our clients have long looked at us for our savvy with paid social media targeting, from Pandora to Instagram. Our recent success creating a larger, more engaged earned social media audience has also showed how these two tactics can elevate one another.
But enough about us. If you would like to learn more about how we can help move your social media strategy forward, we encourage you to contact us.