Why Social Media Marketing Won’t Produce Immediate Results
The biggest frustration I keep hearing from small business owners about social media marketing is that it doesn’t work and they don’t want to keep throwing money at it for someone to manage the pages.
I hear you.
One of the most important things a social media consultant can do is to properly manage expectations so this frustration is instead turned into an opportunity. This frustration comes from a lack of understanding about how social media works now for businesses; social media has significantly changed and now, so do our attitudes about it. But before we can change, we need to know how we got here.
The Good Ole Days
Almost a decade ago when social media first became a thing, it was initially designed to be a platform to connect with your friends and family. Soon, businesses learned they could capitalize on social media by having a brand new platform to reach their customers. All they had to do was simply create a generic post, “we sell what you need”, and BOOM! they increased their sales. (Ok, maybe it wasn’t *that* easy, but you get my point)
But as with most things, greed began to take hold and what used to be amazing, now wasn’t good enough, businesses needed, no, wanted more. But just as the clock struck midnight for Cinderella, time is up for free, organic, automatic results for businesses too…
Businesses Need To Go To Rehab
Unfortunately, small business owners still expect those automatic results from marketers today; it’s what they’ve been used to getting, and if they aren’t using social media for business that much, it’s what they’ve heard about, so they want those results too; businesses still want their “fix” of automatic results… but it’s too late. Those automatic, instant results from social media marketing don’t exist anymore, I’m so sorry to say. (Please don’t shoot the messenger!!)
That’s where the frustration comes in, that’s why small business owners get upset when marketers can’t produce those amazing results right away. But it’s not the marketers fault – it’s our understanding, our attitude that needs to change. Once we can switch our thinking from being sales-first or sales-only business on social media, to a customer-first business, we can start to see the results we so desperately want.
So how do we do that? I’m so glad you asked 🙂
Here’s How Social Media for Business Works Today
Today, social media marketing is all about customer relationships. And guess what? Relationships can take a while to develop. Businesses can no longer simply throw out a post on social media and expect people to flock to them. Think of social media as a cocktail party: If you only talk about yourself, you’re going to be standing by yourself in a corner; no one will want to hang out with you. You have to engage and ask about your customers; then and only then will you see results on social media.
And the results you’re going to see on social media today are improved customer relationships; they’re still results, just different results than you expected.
The better you are at helping your customers on social media, the more results you’re going to see. This is the shift in attitude I was talking about….move away from a selling-first strategy and instead go toward a customer engagement-first strategy. If you can do this, you’re going to be playing by the social media platform’s unspoken “rules” which in turn will give you more reach, which then gives you more opportunities to get your message in front of the right people who want to buy from you.
Know that you’re in this for the long haul – don’t expect results today or tomorrow. Think of social media as a gift you’re giving to your customers. When you give a gift to someone, you don’t expect anything in return, right? But when you do get something in return, it’s pretty amazing! THAT is the attitude you need to be successful on social media!
What Businesses Need to Do Now
Great, we’ve finally accepted the shift in attitudes and strategy on social media, so what do businesses need to do to improve their customers experiences on social media?
- First, you need to really know who your ideal customer is: all the demographic information about them, what their interests are, and most importantly what problems they have so your business can be the hero and solve their problem!
- Create a mix of engaging content. What does that mean? This is information that is valuable to your prospects & customers. This could be in the form of a live Q&A, or educational “how-to” video, or an article, or a blog post, or an infographic, or …. well, you get the point. Put yourself in your customers shoes – what issues do they face? Then create the best content to help them solve their problems.
- Monitor your accounts for mentions of your company or specific hashtags people might use when talking about your brand. This provides you an opportunity to reach out to prospects who aren’t your followers so you can provide service they didn’t know about.
- Listen to you customers. Respond to all comments and questions. 80% of people today prefer to reach out to businesses on social media and expect an a reply in 2-3 hours, but only 20% of businesses ever reply on social media, and then the average response time is about 12 hours!!! If you’re not actively responding to your customers on social media you’ve completely missed the point of social media and have dropped the ball. If you’re not here to be helpful to your online customers, what are you here for?
- Show your company culture and that there are real humans running the social media pages. People love to see how you do business and want a chance to get to know you so they can then trust you enough to give you their hard earned dollars. Trust isn’t earned overnight – it takes time.
- Finally, provide your followers with a sense that you care about them, and that their lives will be made better in some way because they know you. That sounds like a lofty goal, but if you really care about your customers that will come across in every action you take and you don’t really have to think about it! Show them how your product will save them time, money, or solve a problem in some way. If they feel valued, you’ll earn their business.
If you can change your attitude about using social media and make these changes in your social media marketing strategy, you will see results – you’ll see an increase in customers and sales because people trust and love you… you just need to show it to them.