We are technologically overwhelmed these days, don’t you think? Everywhere you go, everyone has a phone in their hand. The world is more and more run by computers, and artificial intelligence is projected to become more and more a part of our everyday lives. We scroll our newsfeeds out of habit instead of desire, we grab our phones or computers to pass the time, or we stream Netflix to unwind. Technology – we can’t escape it!
Like it or not, this is our reality. We are processing MORE and MORE information every day. One article I read suggests that every two days, we create as much new data and information as we did from the beginning of time up through the year 2003. That’s staggering! It is not only getting harder and harder to be seen in this overwhelming technology crunch, but most people aren’t experts in technology, digital, and social media in order to know that what they are doing is right and/or working.
As a social media expert, I scroll through my own feeds and see mistakes, profiles and contests that are against terms of service, bad implementation of great ideas, and a general lack of creativity that makes my brain hurt. It’s so frustrating, when I have seen the tried and true ways that clear plans and effective strategies can help accomplish and support big business goals.
I’ve always found – with anything, not just social media – that you don’t know what you don’t know. I am someone in constant pursuit of new information, and education (as I’m sure you are, since you’re reading this), learning all that I can and in turn, trying to teach and help others.
The more you know, the more effective you can be. I’ve found that while most people know the importance of social media within their overall strategy, they are missing major components of what that truly means – missing the parts they don’t know they don’t know.
Here are my top five items I’m thinking you may not be considering in your 2018 plans:
Oh boy, this is a big one which is why it’s number one. I am absolutely astounded at how many business owners are still not allocating a budget towards their social media efforts. I have news for you – if you believe in the power of social media, NOW is the time to start thinking about putting a budget behind it. There are two aspects to this, and I want to break them both down because they’re equally important:
Organic reach is declining.
- As a matter of fact, in the social media community, there is somewhat widespread panic about this fact. Social media is, and will increasingly become, more about pay for play than organic content.
- If you are not running ads, boosting content, and paying to expand the reach of your events (just to name a few), then you are missing a crucial part of your social media strategy.
You probably wouldn’t read a few blogs on how to fix your car and then consider yourself a mechanic.
- I’m not saying this to toot my own horn, but if you aren’t willing to bring in a consultant to help you, at a minimum, figure out what you’re doing wrong and how you could improve, then you are probably not getting the best out of your social media efforts.
- If you’re going to take all the time to do social media, might as well work with someone to help you do it right.
So many clients that I work with, I can quickly identify that they are not aware of the demographic(s) to which they are speaking.
Just like you wouldn’t go to Italy and expect everyone you meet to converse with you in English, your online audience doesn’t expect you to speak to them in YOUR language. They want you to speak to them in THEIRS.
Be mindful of who your target audience is, and be sure that you are reaching them where THEY are, not where you want them to be. This includes being sure you’re on the right platforms. If you are trying to talk to 15-year-old’s about your up-and-coming product on Facebook, I assure you, the message is not being received.
STAYING UP WITH TRENDS
Social media is an ever-changing beast.
So many platforms have come and gone over the past 15 years, and many have stayed. However, if you weren’t on Facebook in 2005 like I was – six months after its inception – the current Facebook is unrecognizable to the original. These platforms are changing practically daily.
- Algorithms, which are a social media platforms way of showing you the content they think you want to see most, are constantly your enemy and understanding the changing environment is a huge part of an effective social media strategy. This is another reason why a consultant is very valuable, as this is their job.
Another aspect to this is that trends differ vastly from industry to industry.
If you aren’t sure what the trends are in your industry, a simple google search will help you a lot. For example, you’ll find that Instagram is a widely popular platform for Hair Salons and there are MANY blogs written about maximizing your exposure using Instagram as a hair stylist.
- Be sure that you are in the right places, and doing the right things in line with your industry, but of course always make sure you’re doing it your own way.
WATCHING YOUR COMPETITION
I don’t mean this in the way you might think that I do.
Sure, you want to have a pulse on what your competitors are doing (HINT: There is a way to set this up on Facebook – message me for help if you don’t know how!) but mostly, I want you to watch your competition for inspiration and ideas. This goes along with the last point, that you need to keep up with trends.
Keeping up with what your competitors are doing that works will help you collect data without doing the work. If a competitor ran a contest that was extremely effective, evaluate the parts of the contest to which their audience responded best. Analyzing and evaluating their efforts can help you to fine tune and hone in on yours while allowing THEM to do the market research for you.
- Take the lessons you have learned, and run your own, unique and effective campaigns.
My motto: Work smarter, NOT harder.
Video is so, so important.
It is increasingly important. It is invaluable! If you do not have a specific plan in place for how to effectively maximize use of video in your social media strategy, YOU WILL GET LEFT BEHIND.
Do yourself a favor when you’re done reading this. Scroll your Facebook feed through 30 posts, and note how many of those posts are videos. You’ll be surprised, and this is only going to continue to be more and more true.
Video is king.
Not only is video favored in the algorithms (on Facebook, most notably), but it has the longest half-life, meaning that the reach doesn’t die after a few hours like pictures, text, or links. The reachability of video posts long outlasts those of other methods.
- However, be mindful not to just throw up a video to have video content.
- Be purposeful, pragmatic, and mindful and I assure you, you will see a difference almost immediately.
I hope this gave you some additional thoughts about your social media strategy and the importance of putting some more thought behind it than you may have thought. There is SO much that goes into a strategy, which is why I suggest you, at a minimum, consult with a strategist to help you guide your efforts. Twenty-eighteen is almost upon us – time to take your social media game to the next level!
Brittany Erin Gray is the owner and strategist for beYOU Marketing, a social media consulting agency in Central PA. Brittany is also an active advocate for women’s advancement, supporting many women’s leadership organizations through speeches, donations and volunteerism. She gets all her drive and motivation from the love of her life, Kevin, and their crazy, blended family of five children.