With a large portion of my business revolving around social media of course I want to scream from the rooftops that every business owner on every continent needs paid social media advertising but the truth is that I think paid advertising via social media is ineffective save for a small subset of business’ unless you are paying for content that has proven to drive traffic.
The Early Stages
When the concept of social media for business rather than just for consumers started to take off the initial prevailing philosophy was that the best approach was to spam ways to get followers and likes so that you could build up an ever increasing database of ready made lemmings to spam content to. Not surprisingly this failed and that is when you started to hear the grumblings in the media that social media may not actually be effective as first thought for business owners. The thing that businesses failed to realize during this time is that quality of content trumps absolute quantity every day of the week.
Social Media In a Nutshell
Social media is pervasive for two reasons, it cures boredom and it allows for people to connect easily with others. While it’s a peachy keen idea to think that consumers will love your brand so much that they simply roll over and take being blatantly advertised to with no pleasure mechanism involved, this isn’t how the real world operates. I’m a big Apple fine, I like their products and I like their brand overall. Despite this fact I don’t find the idea of sitting through a bunch of Apple commercials at all appealing. In order for your brand to thrive on social media you have to figure out ways to cure consumer boredom and make people actually feel connected with your brand not sold to by your brand.
Building a Connection
With that said how can your business actually use social media? Millions of dollars has been spent and is being spent on trying to develop a concise answer to this question while the answer is extremely obvious to me: Don’t expect your customers to click on and read through something you wouldn’t click on and read through yourself.
Statistics show that you CAN succeed at increasing your brand interest by simply mass spamming advertisements on social media, the problem is outside of a few industries you will get the same or better ROI spending your ad dollars on something else. If your brand or industry is particularly attractive to the 18-25 demographic by all means invest in direct social media ads, if your business doesn’t happen to fall in that small sliver of industries don’t waste your money.
I am not saying that you should abandon all social media efforts if your businesses target that demographic, quite the opposite actually, just don’t pay for direct social media advertising. Instead focus on developing and finding content that builds a connection with consumers, if you are going to invest your businesses dollars in social media this is where you should invest it.
What Type of Business Content Builds Social Media Connections?
1. Ask questions that show consumers your brand is aware of and cares about their opinions. If your business already has a large number of followers ask questions pertaining to areas of your business and how you can improve. If your business is just starting out or lacks a lot of followers ask industry based questions and ask consumers to provide feedback on what they would like to see a company in the industry do differently.
2. Post interesting content besides just your own business’ articles. This allows you to increase connections among your companies’ followers and perhaps provide them with something that does actually cure their boredom.
3. Add, follow, etc. other competitors in your industry. There’s a sleigh of useful information you gather from this. Bigger data set to pull from to figure out exactly what is and isn’t effective in your marketing strategies, what your competition is doing well, what is trending and key buzzwords for your particular industry at that moment, they may appreciate you following them or continually sharing their content and reciprocate. This is just a short list of some of the top benefits.
4. Post about what interests you pertaining to your industry. It may sound weird but to truly succeed in a medium that revolves around building connections, you actually have to build connections. Posting about things that make you or your company more real and personal will make consumers more willing to actually build a connection with you.