There’s no debating it: Social media, and the digital medium as a whole, has emerged as a substitute to traditional advertising practices for brands of all sizes.
Add in the growing number of those cutting the cord and you have even more incentive to advertise predominantly online.
Almost all major brands have realized this, resulting in portions of their marketing budgets from common mediums, such as television and radio, being deviated to build a social media presence.
Smaller brands have also taken advantage of the medium’s cost-effective advertising, but have seen their reach taper off in recent years due to heavy spending from larger brands:
“The State of Retailing Online 2016, an annual study conducted by NRF and Forrester Research, found that 92 percent of retailers are investing in social media marketing to some degree and looking for ways to update content to stay on trends.
About 55 percent of retailers surveyed also said they are increasing their online merchandising budgets, a portion of which is clearly earmarked for social media activities that engage consumers to promote two way interactions.”
Regardless, social media’s ubiquitous platform provides small and medium-sized businesses with exposure they would have never dreamed of. In a survey of over 7,500 local businesses that purchased local ads in 2016, Borell, the organization behind the survey, found that “local businesses have ramped up their use of social media to help drive business and generate new customers.”
As much as it seems that every person you know has a social media account, you may be surprised to learn that social media is only gaining users. While Twitter is pulling up the rear with only a 3.15% increase between the 3rd quarters of 2015 and ’16, Facebook experienced a 13.6% increase in the same period and LinkedIn a 15.2% increase.
Instagram witnessed a 20% increase between September 2015 and June 2016. All of this may seem like a boom, but it also muddies up the landscape because there are so many platforms to post on. It’s up to the brand to do the research on where the audience is.
Unsurprisingly, “Facebook was the number one choice for local advertisers with 96% responding they have Facebook page. Twitter was a distant second at 51%, and LinkedIn came in at 41%.”
It can be daunting to a newbie. You need to ask yourself a few questions before stepping up to the task:
Which social media platform is best for me work on?
How much money should I invest?
What type of posts should I make?
How often should I post?
The greatest issue with starting out on social media is the idea that it’s easy. Failure and frustration is a common characteristic among new businesses starting out on social media because they believe it’s as simple as making a sales-y pitch, attaching an image, and sending the post out.
It doesn’t work like that, at least not anymore. Strategies need to be put in place. Budgets need to be created. Research into best practices needs to be done. Basically, an entire comprehensive rundown of your social media plans should be resolved before you even begin posting.
Now, does this mean you should keep a rigid schedule? No. While you should have prepared copy to pitch your product, you should also have a free-flowing schedule that allows for transparency into your business.
Or, to make things even easier, a brand can simply hire a digital marketing agency that specializes in social media strategy, copywriting, implementation, and moderation.
Social media is simply too valuable a resource to waste. Without the proper funds and research invested, an inexperienced brand is doomed.
Experts in the field are a necessity; an expert at crafting concise copy that delivers an impactful message, an expert at graphic design that can create appealing images; an expert at website design that can make a landing page that converts; an expert at moderation that knows just what to say to disgruntled commenters; and an expert at SEO that can identify the right keywords, among others.
It takes a village to raise a brand on social media. Going at it alone and without the tools and people necessary to help it succeed are only going to hamper your efforts.