Social Media Success Is Right Outside Our Smartphones

Social media marketing is a digital trade, yes. But, is the success of your brand’s social media presence defined by digital efforts only? Absolutely not! Here’s why, and how, you can capitalize in your online efforts through offline culture.

Putting The “Social” In “Social Media”

What would social networking look like if we never left our inner circle, or office? Sure, we might connect with people through relevant hashtags, and maybe even through online community groups. But, our efforts certainly wouldn’t be maximized. Why? Successful social media marketing is fueled best by social interaction, offline. Never underestimate the power of face-time (not the smartphone version), and good old word of mouth marketing.

Belonging Is Necessary

We can all agree that marketing has always been directly linked to psychology. Right? Really, the only difference between psychology and marketing is that one focuses on human behavior, while the other focuses on human buying behavior. In the early 1900s, psychologist, Abraham Maslow unveiled a pyramid of five human needs, which must be met for ultimate success. In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a sense of belonging is necessary for humans to be motivated. In the same vein, there is a direct link between belonging and being social. Giving customers [and potential customers] a physical sense of belonging yields motivation to return to your brand, and more importantly, it makes them proud enough of their relationship with your brand, to want to tell their friends about it. This cannot be achieved by online efforts alone.

Ideas For Offline Social Efforts

First off, we have to get out of an office setting; more so, we need to get into a social setting. The answers to your offline efforts are exactly that: offline. Depending on each brand’s industry, find a social space where your customers and/or peer are likely to gather or hang out. Then, the sky’s the limit:

  • Talk to people! The key here is to ask a lot of questions, and be a great listener. Eventually, the tables will turn, and you’ll have the opportunity to talk about your brand, and how you help customers. This will usually lead to your new connection asking, “do you have a card?”
  • Host an event! Depending on your industry, figure out a way to bring people together, in person. Planning is crucial for this one, so don’t “just wing it.” If all goes well, make the social event a annual or bi-annual happening; this will give customers a sense of belonging and something to look forward to, once or twice a year.
  • Join local community groups! Whether it’s your local chamber, or a industry-specific group of professionals, getting out and talking to people in those communities will yield more brand awareness, and possibly, new customers.
  • Partner with other businesses! As our name indicates, we’re big believers in collaboration. Try piloting a co-op marketing event with one or two other businesses. Again, you’ll be reaching a valuable audience you might not have face-time with otherwise.

REMEMBER to point people to your online efforts! With all of the above ideas, don’t forget to tell people that you’re available online. Have cards made with your social channel information, so people can easily find you. After your offline interaction, sending them to your social channels will keep the conversation going.

Back To Basics: The Value of a Social Media Follower

Social media marketing is a rather funny industry to work in. We don’t mean “funny” as in haha/hehe; more like “funny” in the sense of “why is something so simple, so difficult for some folks to understand?” Maybe it’s a matter of habit, in any industry, for professionals to take what they know for granted, and assume that because they “get it,” that everyone else does, too. The good news is, we love what we do, and with that, we love talking about it. So, what could be seen as a frustration by others, we find quite fascinating!

With the dilemma of misunderstanding comes a fantastic opportunity: practicing the art of communication. These questions/misconceptions are teaching us how to simplify things so that they make sense to any particular business owner on any given day. It seems like a no-brainer, but communication isn’t universal. It’s custom. Every individual, every brand, every  voice, has its own way of being connected to. Teaching and coaching has shown us that, time after time.

Okay, back to the point of this post!! That whole introduction came because recently we’ve been faced with something that hasn’t surfaced in quite some time. And that is: a brand’s desire to grow in quantity of followers as opposed to quality. There are times that we are curious if it would just be easier to accommodate their desires with Fiverr, or one of the hundred other sites you can buy fake followers from. But, we can’t. We know too well that it’s a trap, and it completely shatters any real social media marketing strategy a brand might have in the works.

Basically, if all a brand cares about is an empty follower count, we refer them elsewhere.

Here’s why, in three simple takeaways:

Quantity Is Void

Engagement > Followers. Why? A brand can have an empty number of followers (let’s say 100,00) at the top of your Twitter profile. Good for you! But, what does it matter if your message isn’t reaching anyone? Those 100,000 followers you bought, they are robots and they cannot favorite, retweet, or reply to anything you post. So, ultimately, you’re posting to yourself. In more blunt terms, you’re sitting in a corner, trying to sell your brand to a wall. (insert dunce hat)

You Aren’t Fooling Anyone

What’s more mortifying than Exhibit A (above), is that everyone will see, and know, that you bought fake followers! Consumers are intelligent and it is becoming increasingly more difficult to get them to follow, engage, and/or click. Fake followings can be spotted from a tweet away! If a consumer goes to a Twitter profile to check out a brand, at first they might say, “wow, 100,000 followers!” But if those first three tweets show up in your profile (via mobile app) with no engagement, they’ll know it’s fake, and thus will not be joining your fan club (aka band of fake Twitter followers).

Measuring Results Will Be Impossible

How can you measure your success without real numbers? You can’t.

Your social media analytics, in addition to follower count, will be void. When you try to hire a marketing firm to figure out “what do all these insights mean?,” they won’t be able to give you a real answer. Sure, you can speculate, do some rough math, and maybe come up with some sort of rendition of truth, but there really wouldn’t be any way to tell how your brand is actually doing on social media.

Ultimately, the key takeaway from this post is simple:

Social media marketing is a commitment, not a campaign. You can conduct campaigns within that commitment, but setting a follower goal to reach within a time-frame, that is not an applicable strategy for social media. Your commitment will breed engagement, and therefore lead you to brand ambassadors, who are basically sales people that you don’t have to pay.

Now, which is more valuable to your brand: A void number at the top of your social media profile OR a sales person you don’t have to pay?

Note: Growing a real following takes time, so be patient. Those brands you have follower-lust for, they’ve been in the game for years and years, and their numbers reflect that. Strategize, execute, and nurture consumer relationships. That’s what social media marketing is all about!

Brands, Consumers Shift From Search To Social

Even we, as self-proclaimed social enthusiasts and diehard supporters of the industry, weren’t expecting to see this kind of science. Not yet anyways. However, in the wise words of one of our favorite philosophers:

“Numbers don’t lie, check the scoreboard.”

Shareaholic reported that in Q4 of 2014, 31.24% of all website traffic was driven from social media.

Although the idea of the demise of Facebook is alive and well, so is the company’s resilience. Along with StumbleUpon, Facebook was the only platform(s) to grow its traffic share in Q4 of 2014. On top of that, Facebook’s 24.63% share of traffic minimizesPinterest’s 5.06% impact. Twitter, surprisingly, only holds .82% share.

You can dive more in to Shareaholic’s data-driven report here.

So, we just have one question for all the C-level marketing execs out there, not taking social seriously: When is enough, enough? Google’s founders are on record saying that one of their biggest regrets was not anticipating the rise of social. Now, there are traffic numbers that are not only growing year over year, they’re capturing the space. This is not to mention the fact that a single platform, which happens to be social, owns 25% of all website traffic.

With this post, note that we are in no way suggesting that search is dead. The only hope is that the social media industry will, at some point, be valued and respected the way search is, because it deserves to be. It is the ultimate in communicative marketing.

We’re going to leave you with this quote from Monica Dimperio:

“Gone are the days of Sterling Cooper & Partners. The new Don Drapers are digital natives who can pull off a multichannel influencer activation with an offline component in their sleep.
These folks have adopted [digital platforms] from the get-go, so they know the content, curation and influencers to work with. Soon, that will include paid media. These people will get you results because, frankly, they know things you don’t.”

4 Questions To Jumpstart Your Social Media Strategy

For brands, social media can be as daunting as it can be exciting. If you have questions or fears about getting started on social media, you are not alone! However, what a great incentive to get rolling! If others are missing the opportunity to grow a community in your industry, that’s all the more reason for you to maximize that empty space with your brand!

So, let’s dive in.

Here are four questions you need to answer to formulate a social media marketing strategy for your brand.

Part One: Audience

  • Who are you trying to reach? 

The most crucial part of your strategy is defining your target audience. Who are they? You’ll need to figure out things like age, gender, location, and interests. These answers will help you target your content to the right, potential customers.

  • Spurring from the first question, what are “they” into?

By “they,” we mean your audience. What are their hobbies? Where do they hang out? These answers will help you get creative with content campaigns and the ways you’ll deliver your awesome content!

Part Two: Platform Selection

  • What platform(s) should you utilize?

Long gone are the days of believing the myth: “we have to be on every social media site!” Now, with the information from Part One, you can decide which platform(s) is most suitable for your strategy. Each platform has its own strengths when it comes to different demographics and industries.

Part Three: Let’s Build It

  • Now, what?

There are a lot of sub-questions here, that you’ll need to answer to really launch your social media marketing strategy. Here they are:

  1. How often will you post?
  2. What will you post?
  3. Do you have a paid ads budget? (if so, what is it?)
  4. How will your campaigns run, in coordination with your day-to-day posts?
  5. When will you organize and schedule posts?
  6. How often will you monitor your platforms for consumer inquiries?

Now, from here, you’ll take ALL of the above information, and structure it to kick off your social media marketing efforts. And like anything in business, you are not going to have all the answers right up front. Since social media is a daily happening, your campaigns might need to be altered, and your scheduling might need to change once you rake in enough data to see when you audience is the most engaged.

Get in touch: Hello@H2H.social