While many people believe that social media marketing is based on talking to people on social media networks, mindless chatting and dropping links here and there on social media platforms will never get a business far.
It is because the primary activity of a successful social media strategy for any business is to provide value to an audience.
Where businesses get it wrong
As businesses, our reasons for using social media are way different from why people are using it.
Companies want to make a sale or get a new client (who doesn’t?!). We have to make money and stay on top of our sales cycle. These are legitimate reasons because a business has to make money after all, or it dies.
But there is a problem.
Your audience’s motivations for using social media are in stark contrast to yours.
I am certain that if I’d ask my friends why they use social media, they are there not to buy a product or your services. I have seen many of my friends goof around with apps like Nametests and OMG and share vacation photos and post food they ate.
That assumption about my friends is corroborated by this social report by GlobalWebIndex.
The chart shows that the top 5 reasons people use social media have nothing to do with buying anything from any company.
Also, none of which need any active participation on their part.
Nothing to download.
No form to fill out.
No buying on their mind.
They are there to connect and to shoot breeze with friends digitally.
Does social media marketing work then?
Yes, it does!
Because inspite of the huge difference on why people and businesses use social media, many companies, including most likely your competition, are using it to market their product and services.
In fact according to a social media industry report published in 2019, marketers reported the following:
• Increased exposure grew to 93% from 87%.
• Increased traffic improved to 87% from 78%.
• Generated leads increased to 74% from 64%.
• Improved sales rose to 72% from 53%.
• Developed loyal fans grew to 71% from 63%.
• Provided marketplace insight expanded to 58% from 54%.
• Increased thought leadership increased to 57% from 46%.
• Grew business partnerships improved to 56% from 49%.
Social media marketing works!
Ok, so now what to do?
The audience won’t change for companies.
After all it is the era of social media marketing where the audience rules and whose interests we have to take into account to get their attention. Hence, any business that desire to succeed online would have to correct its approach and expectations on how marketing is done using these digital tools.
One way to do that is by providing valuable content to your audience. It doesn’t matter what size your business is.
How does providing valuable content look like in practice?
In a few words, THIS: Know your audience.
- First, define who you want to sell to;
- Second, know what they like;
- Then, create content that they like that is, therefore, of value to them.
In marketing jargon, the first one is about your audience’s demographic characteristics and the second one is their psychographic characteristics.
Please do not let these two words scare you because it is simpler than it sounds.
According to Wikipedia:
Demographics includes a person’s name, ethnicity, gender, address, what they buy, where they buy it, how they pay, etc.
Psychographics have been applied to the study of personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles
These are powerful information that a business could have to provide content that gets the audience’s attention, and to sell.
If you know who the focus is and if you understand the triggers that are making them behave the way they do, then you can craft the right content and then potentially predict the outcome. Don’t we all love that?!
Since marketing imitates life, a simple analogy I could think of is dating.
You figure out who you want to date:
~ Do you want someone younger or older? Is education important to you? Do you want someone that holds a job? And so on…
And then, once you figure out who you want to date, your work is not over yet. You would need to, also, figure out the person’s interests and lifestyle.
~ Does the person love the opera? Is the person allergic to perfume or not? Is the person vegan? Is the person a spender, or frugal? And so on…
Then you use the information you gathered to woo the person.
That’s what is looks like when providing content of value to your audience.
So where do you find the information to create the right content?
Good news is there are many existing surveys and reports you can use out there.
Furthermore, social media platforms have demographic and psychographic data nowadays that you can leverage to your advantage. And the best part? It is free.
The social media platforms used to not have such data in the past. And if you want it, you have to cough up a lot of money. Today, it is just a few clicks away.
If data-gathering and interpreting it for your use, seem daunting, I will unpack it in my next article. I will show you where to find it, and I will provide examples on how a business could use audience-information to provide valuable content that would make them stop scrolling, and start talking.