I have to come clean. I take my client’s success personally. While this is a strength and a weakness (and trust me it can be a weakness), the truth is that rightfully or wrongfully I measure my success based on theirs.
That can put me in some frustrating situations when urging a client to embrace a certain strategy or direction, only to find them moving in another direction, but such is the nature of the beast. Try as you might, the client will on occasion go off course. The good news is that more often than not they realize that they hired you for a reason and eventually come around.
The same applies to social media strategies. Often, clients that are somewhat new to social media strategies have an almost frenzied like urgency. They feel like they have been out of the social game for too long or their efforts have delivered lackluster results. As such, once they have an actual strategy in hand, they want to dive head first into the deep end of the pool.
Suddenly, they want to engage with every potential customer, in every potential way, on every social media platform. They want to start producing content like a mad man and try everything all at once. While I always appreciate their excitement and vigor, the truth is that this approach quickly leads to burn out, especially as it relates to small and medium sized businesses.
The client comes to realize that even with a great deal of support and oversight, it takes a lot of work to effectively run social campaigns on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook as well as others. As a result, they begin taking short cuts such as posting the same content on each platform. They fall behind on their posting cadence and begin to rely on automation, which while immensely helpful, can begin to feel stale or canned to an engaged audience.
Moreover, they start posting content for content’s sake (enter a picture of today’s lunch). They post content that has little relevance or appeal to their audience because they simply don’t know what else to post. They forget the important role of content. Neil Patel says it best, “all content is not created equal. Some content will go viral, generating tons of hot traffic to your blog, while other content will be lost in the archives. If you want more of the first kind, you’ve got to put your readers first.”
So how do you avoid falling into trap of being all things to all media? First, concentrate your efforts on one social media platform to start. In the wise words of Laura Dugan from SimplyMeasured, it’s better to do one channel well than a dozen channels poorly.
Second, know your customer as it relates to the social media platform. Platforms such as Facebook make it easy to understand who is engaging with your page. Take the time to really understand your audience demographics and then craft posts using a variety of content assets such as video, graphics, and images, that speak directly to them. Again, there is no need to try to be all things to all people. You just need to appeal to your audience.
Third, constantly ask yourself “is my content answering a customer need?” Content needs to be constantly vetted through this lens to ensure that it is valuable. If the customer walks away feeling more informed, entertained or motivated you know it is valuable content. If the customer walks away feeling confused, bored or disinterested, you will see that result in your engagement or lack thereof. That doesn’t mean that great content always yields strong engagement. Even outstanding content can be missed in the business of the day, but your chances of getting someone to stop what they are doing and pay attention dramatically increases with great content.
It can be easy to run before you walk with social media tactics and strategies. However, the companies that focus their effort on being outstanding on one social media network first will drive the results which will allow them to add other networks as their revenues and resources grow. In the words of Instagram’s CEO, Kevin Systrom, “focusing on one thing and doing it really, really well can get you very far.”