Social media can be a time sink, both personally and professionally, and if you don’t see a healthy return on investment (ROI), it’s easy to give up. So does social media work? Well, yeah, if you do it right. The only trouble is “doing it right” isn’t as easy as following a recipe. There’s no perfect forumla for building relationships.
One of the most important aspects of your social media strategy is deciding what kind of posts and updates you want to make. We see people, especially those new to the social media game, fall into two different camps: those who focus exclusively on community driven posts (that might not necessarily relate to their business) and those who are constantly pushing their products. Let’s explore the pros and cons of each perspective.
Perspective 1: Focusing on Being Social and Building Relationships
Social media outlets are places to be, well, social. They’re spaces to post funny stories, photos, and illustrations, let people know what’s going on in the office, and chat with the fans. It’s the philosophy that “if people want to buy my product or service, they’ll just find the website directly; there’s no need for me to let people know about it on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.”
Moderation is the key here. Yes, people love getting to know the Who and Why behind a company, especially one that produces their favorite products and services. They want to know that the people behind the company are as cool as the products they create. But, there should be limits as to how big of a window you cut into the company walls. And, what about potential customers? Giving them a little bit of social media motivation to visit your company website definitely couldn’t hurt.
When you make these kinds of posts, we also recommend keeping them branded. Sure, there are universally funny things (we could watch this shrimp run on a treadmill all day and we put Epic Tea Time on repeat the day it came out), but it’s makes a whole lot more sense when those posts reflect your company’s values.
Perspective 2: Focusing on the Short Term Sale
Advertising is a big part of social media – and why shouldn’t it be? Some may argue, well, what’s the point of spending all that time in social media outlets if you’re not letting customers and potential customers know how great your product or service is? We agree – to an extent.
Absolutely, it’s important to promote your company. After all, if you don’t believe you’re offering the best product or service of its kind, who else is going to invest time and money into it? But do take it in stride. No one wants to be inundated with advertisements 24/7, especially obvious ones. A little bit of creativity in advertising can go a long way. You’ll still get your message out there and your customers won’t roll their eyes and keep scrolling.
Try connecting your product or service to something your customer base already enjoys doing. Customers a little quirky? Build on their need for a silly outlet. For example, Dunkin’ Donuts posts images of their latest donut and people go crazy for it. Some even go and buy the donut, then take pictures with it and post it back to the DD Facebook page. Why? It engages their customers, but it also furthers the DD culture and advertises their (delicious and beautiful) products. Win-Win-Win, which is way better than simply Sell-Sell-Sell.
Linking it all Together
So, the take-away here seems to be that you can’t just build culture and you can’t just sell, there needs to be compromise in order to get people interested and engaged and turned into leads. Don’t be afraid to dig into Google Analytics, Facebook Insights or other metrics calculators and figure out exactly how people are coming to you, what they’re doing while they’re with you, and then run some experiments. Change your social strategy for a couple of months and see if it helped or hurt. There’s no universal ratio of advertisements to culture for every company; you’ll have to test and listen to your customer base to see what works for you – and them.