You’re in marketing, or sales, or maybe HR. Maybe you look after customer services. Your boss wants you to use social media for business, to market, make sales and research prospects perhaps, find candidates or perhaps you’re already using it to promote the business. BUT you can’t get the results you want and you’ve started to wonder why social media doesn’t work for business.
Maybe you are the boss and you want your company to be really rocking it on social media, utilising all those lovely eyeballs and helping boost the company’s revenue stream, pool of talent or reputation … BUT you are frustrated at every turn. It seems such a lot of work and not much to show. No one seems to know how to measure it, understand what is best for your company and how to get it to work.
So is it you, your staff, your brand or is it just that social media doesn’t work for business?
Why social media marketing DOESN’T work for business
Social Media Marketing is complicated. We find most people liken it to opening Pandora’s box – before they get involved they think it’ll all be fine, that social media is easy, straightforward and, often most importantly, free…
Then once they open the Social Media Marketing box and start to try using one (or many) networks for their business or brand it quickly becomes apparent that it’s anything BUT easy.
In fact, the more they learn the more they usually realise how much they don’t know, and how complicated and multi-faceted it really is. This is usually the point when people start to get frustrated and cross, and start to say things like, “social media doesn’t work” or that ‘Twitter is rubbish” or [often while thumping the table] “I just don’t get why it won’t work!”.
So what to do?
You know you need to get to grips, but you really don’t know where to start. Or maybe you’ve started and it’s all stalled because you can’t work out how to do it properly. Or maybe it just limps along going nowhere very fast, taking up too much of your time for the results you achieve.
Why you might fail at social media for business
Luckily we know A LOT about using social media for business, and we love to help. So here’s the low down:
- Social Media Marketing for business, product or an event requires very different skills to just ‘being on Facebook’ or even using any other social media network, whether that’s Instagram, Snapchat, Vine and Whispr. It requires a different mind set, knowledge and activity, so don’t assume you’re rubbish or social media is useless if you don’t get it when you thought it would be easy. You just need different or better skills.
- Social media marketing is ALSO very different to marketing per se, or advertising or sales. In fact ESPECIALLY advertising and sales. So throw your Mad Men Guidebook out of the window and find your feminine side because Social Media Marketing is a very feminine activity despite being built by teams that are predominately male. Push marketing rarely works (unless you are a uber-popular company blasting out jobs to avid seekers) and advertising-type hard sell will quickly get you unfollowed/unfanned/unliked. What makes social media for business work is knowledge, ability to spot trends, small detail skills, great content, being generous and engaged, and in 90% of cases, building relationships.
- Customer service on Social Media is more dangerous than customer service offline – it’s more public for a start and you have a very limited time span to defuse the situation. Plus when it goes wrong on social media it can go REALLY wrong as a load of companies have found to their cost. Having said all that, the amount of people using social media to complain has quadrupled in the last year, so if you think you’ll get away with not having to deal with social customer service just by not being on social media or dealing it it, then think again. Indeed, if you ignore complaints on social media then you had better be equipped to deal with the resulting full-blown Public Relations Crisis. Time to get up to speed very quickly and sort a social media policy and crisis plan immediately. Social media can be a very high-risk area for business, whether you are on it or not!
- Social Recruiting needs a better strategy and more effort than elsewhere, unless EVERYONE wants to work for you. If not, then a single naked tweet with a lifespan of 7 minutes is so unlikely to find the ideal candidate that you may as well put it as a message it in a bottle and throw it out to sea.
- Event promotion on social media is even trickier. Yes, you potentially have more eyeballs, but.. but… BUT… people are in a hurry, or busy with other activities such as looking at holiday pictures. They’re sharing food recipes, chatting with their friends, commenting on a TV show in real time or gaming… you know, what people are really on social media TO DO. So getting their attention is just the start, in order to promote an event successfully on social media you really have to know your stuff because once you have their attention, you then have to get them to act on the CTA and actually DO SOMETHING, like click through, sign up, part with money, actually turn up!
- And then there’s selling products. Some products pretty much sell themselves, especially if you are using something groovy such Etsy or Not on the High Street, or have an Instagram feed filled with eager shoppers just waiting for your next gorgeous number to arrive. Others most certainly do not. Where does yours fall? Is it sweet and sexy, covetable by the Gen Ys and Zs who’ll avidly share and seek it out? Or is it a nice product that’s perhaps just up against a lot of monied competition, such as children’s pyjamas, wedding dresses or Mother’s day bouquets? What about networking or golf membership? A hotel stay or a holiday? Car hire for that holiday? Gluten-free cakes for coffee shops…?
How to make social media work for business
Pretty much every product and brand has a different audience on social media, and the places those people go and their different needs and patterns of behaviour is what needs to inform your social media marketing strategy. Once you have achieved results, you then need to understand how that happened and what went right. If you have a lot of failures, you again need to understand the whys and wherefores.
To make that happen you are likely to need to improve your own skills as well as increase your team’s skills and maybe add to the team. Some people can manage it alone, but many can’t, which can not only cause stress for the person dealing with it, but also lead to lack of results and ROI.
In addition, many companies just rely on the ‘push marketing’ or ‘scattergun’ effect, without taking the time to understand their market, invest in improving skills and develop a strategy. Yet creating a detailed strategy is what will help focus resources and energy on the goal and help your company to achieve results.
To create that a strategy so it is effective for your business you need as much knowledge as you can get your hands on. This can be from your statistics and analytics, your company’s internal team, your business advisers as well as experienced social media marketing experts like ourselves, who can help you understand how to go fishing where the fishes live, as well as how to reel them in.
Applying that knowledge and strategy to your business, as well as improving individual skills, is what will take you from ‘social media doesn’t work’ to ‘social media success’.
Please get in touch on 0203 664 7973 or by email if you would like to find out how we can help your business, or sign up for our social media training courses or ask us to organise you a bespoke masterclass.