Social media can be overwhelming. You have to figure out the times to post, the type of content, and interact with your followers. All of that can seem a little insane. Especially when you consider you need time to actually run your business. So a lot of people look for ways in which to lighten their already heavy load. Avenues like content calendars can help, but over time you might begin to wonder if it's all worth it.
Sound familiar? Here's the thing a lot of people feel the exact same way at some point or another. We assume that social media is the key to building a stronger brand, to create more engagement, and to grow our revenue. But when you think about all the time it takes to create new posts each week, you begin to question your efforts and social media altogether. The question then becomes, is social media even necessary and does it even help to grow my business in the first place?
IS SOCIAL MEDIA NECESSARY?
It is, it really, really is. Some of you might think social media is integral to growing your business. While others utter "Twitter" or "Instagram" in hushed tones while sweating bullets. If you're there, then this post is perfect for you. We'll go over what social media can do for your business. But why it ISN'T an end all, be all situation. The goal is to make sure you're focused on the right things that will grow your business and community quickly.
DO YOU NEED TO BE ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
Yes, but kind of. Confusing, huh? Let me explain. A few years ago, the blogging world started to evolve. At that time Instagram was barely a thing, Snapchat was wildly unpopular and Facebook Live didn't even exist yet. So, there were a lot LESS social media platforms out there. Which meant that blog posts actually got a lot of comments. As a result, you could get away with not having a presence outside of the blogosphere.
Then social media platforms started popping up and our mentality went something like this: Oh, Instagram? That looks fun, I'll sign up. Pinterest? Interesting, I'll create an account. Snapchat? Okay, I'll at least try it. You didn't want to get left behind, so you ended up with an account on ten different platforms. Then it hits you, you have ten different channels that require ALL of your time. But you begin to notice that the results aren't what you thought they would be.
The question then morphed into, do I need to be on ALL of the social media platforms. Thankfully, the answer is no. Here's why: social media has become incredibly pervasive. This has led a lot of people to crave authenticity more and more. Which is why live video has become so popular. Because honestly, with a video it's hard to hide behind a perfectly curated Instagram photo.
So, instead of being on every single platform, focus your attention on 1-2 platforms. This way your audience can start to really trust you and your brand. It also means that they'll get quality content every time they see your username in their feed. You don't need to be everywhere. You just need to find the platforms that work best for you and your brand. That way you can create quality content that doesn't leave you pulling your hair out.
HOW DO YOU FIGURE OUT WHICH PLATFORMS WORK FOR YOU?
Before you even begin to figure out which social media platform works best for you, there are a few things to consider...
1. Where does your audience "hangout" at? This really is the most obvious tip, but it's worth mentioning. Whenever you try to build a business you need to find your audience's favorite platform - not yours. There are plenty of people out there who have no idea how to use Instagram stories even though that's where their audience is. So instead of trying to figure out those platforms, they stick to ones they are already comfortable with. Which is a really bad idea because they had an opportunity to build better relationships with their followers elsewhere.
Business is about adapting. So you need to build the skills that are required in order to connect with your potential customers. Bottom line: don’t stick to a specific platform just because YOU enjoy it. Do it because you want to create a thriving community for your audience, too.
2. Incorporate video. Believe it or not, some people hate video. I get it - it can be a little unsettling at first. But it's such a great and interactive way to communicate. But whether you love it or hate it, video is the evolution of digital content. Think of it this way, all of the popular social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat) incorporates video into their features. Which is why before you choose a platform, you need to consider which one has a video feature that you are comfortable with.
For example, you could use any of the following:
- Facebook Live
- Instagram Stories
- Uploading videos (or FB Live clips) to your Instagram feed
- Twitter’s live video feature
3. Which platform works best for your brand?
This is a really important question to consider. Let's say you are a graphic designer. Twitter would definitely not work in your favor. But Instagram might be your best bet - mainly because it's largely visual. If you're a writer, Twitter might be more worthwhile for you. Especially if you post daily. You can always post quote images on your Instagram too because you know that will speak more deeply to your audience.
It's not just about your preference, it's also about which platform brings out the best of your brand.
DOES THIS MEAN YOU SHOULD STOP USING ALL OF YOUR OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS?
Not necessarily. Once you have your top ways of engaging, it doesn't mean you need to abandon everything else. You can still keep your other accounts! Because who knows how things will change in the future. Or how your audience's preferences could evolve. Here's the thing though. You DON'T need to be active everywhere. Especially once you've found your ultimate social media platforms.
Even if you don't post on Twitter for a year, your business can still thrive. And honestly, there's a good chance no one will care, or even notice. Plus, imagine all the extra effort you can put into channels that are actually important to your audience! Just by cutting out the excess platforms.
What it comes down to is being intentional about what you do for your business. Most of the time that overwhelming feeling comes from trying to do too many things. Many of which aren't even necessary.
WHAT'S THE POINT OF SOCIAL MEDIA?
So what IS the point of social media? Social media can help you grow and as a result, sell more products or services. Which is the end goal of any successful business, right? Of course. But those two things alone are actually the side effects of successfully accomplishing the MAIN goal of social media, which is to connect and engage with your audience. So, instead of looking at social media as a way to convert a follower into a customer, you need to look at it as a way to build a deeper bond with someone. A strong bond is what will eventually convert them into a customer, simply because they know/like/trust you.
Social media should be used as a way to build a community and humanize your brand. It shouldn't be about directly converting someone into a customer. They will see through that and your brand will come off as less than genuine.
So what are some ways that you can connect with people on social media? Ask your customers to chime in with their opinion. Ask them questions. Engage them. Create a community where your followers will WANT to engage and interact with you. Create discussions. Teach new ideas. You can even share some behind-the-scenes videos on Instagram stories every day.
Here's the thing, the people who typically use social media are generally not on every single platform. So don't feel as though you need to stretch yourself thin to reach out on every single one. Most people who are killing it on social media are usually just really, really good at one or two things. Which means they aren't worried about the rest.
Here's the takeaway: you need to feel comfortable in terms of cutting out the excess social media platforms. Because you should only be working on the ones that bring actual results for your business.
Because ANYONE can tell you that "you need more followers on your Instagram page," but if you don't know exactly how Instagram helps you grow a more engaged and profitable community, then why are you doing it? Especially if you know that Facebook is what works best for you. Don't just try to grow your following because it SEEMS important. Instead, you need to focus on quality content and engagement on a FEW platforms, and the community will come.
Unless you approach social media with intention, it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking you need to be EVERYWHERE. This can become a vile thing. Because in the end you'll end up diluting your brand and your potential results could diminish.
So yes, social media is necessary when it comes to building your community. Here are some other ways that it can help grow your brand with social media marketing...
5 WAYS SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING CAN GROW YOUR BRAND
- Get the word out. This is a lot more important than exposure. It gives your brand the opportunity to grow relationships with your target audience. Your fans, connections, and followers are all people who already KNOW about your brand. Most of them might have even already done business with you. And the others will be more likely to (as well as to tell their friends about you).
- Social media is here to stay. Which is why you need to find that perfect platform that works for you. Start with Facebook if you need to - it has a lot of active users and could be the jumping off part for your brand. But if Instagram seems like a better fit, by all means, start there.
- It's cost-effective. Who doesn't love that? Especially those brands with small budgets. However, with more and more social platforms adding algorithms that filter what users see in their news feeds, your organic content might get lost. Which is why you should take advantage of the low-cost advertising features that they offer. Facebook advertising is quite easy. And you'll get great results with Instagram advertising, too.
- It reaches all ages and demographics. Social media is great at breaking down age barriers. A 2015 Pew Research Center study found that 65 percent of US adults are using social networks. So, no matter how young or old your target audience is, chances are most of them are already using social media.
- Two-way communication. Social media allows you to learn more about your audience. It gives you the chance to better understand their interests and receive feedback. Social media gives you the power to learn more about your audience, their interests, and collect feedback. Go ahead and ask your customers to share their thoughts, questions, and ideas in order to get to know them better.
When it comes down to it, there really is a point to social media. And honestly, it isn't a waste of time. Especially when you consider all of the beneficial aspects that come along with it. You need to connect and engage with your community or you won't thrive as well as you could. We hope this has helped answer your questions about whether or not social media is necessary. The key is to find what works for your brand and you'll start to see that it isn't as hard, or time-consuming. When you use the platform that works for your brand, you'll thrive.
Now we want to hear from you... What social media platforms do you use? Which ones worked for you in the beginning, but have stopped working now? How many platforms do you use? Let us know in the comments below, so we can discuss.