With 1.86 billion people on Facebook alone, it seems that everyone and their grandmother is on social media. Millions of users are posting, tweeting, snapping, and ‘gramming their everyday lives, and some people seem to do it better than others.
This universal use of social media leads many business owners to have the misconception that just about anyone with an active Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account can effectively manage a social media marketing strategy.
A background, or even a vast knowledge, in marketing, advertising, public relations, and general business is extremely helpful. Even more than that, there is a key element that the typical social media user and “social media specialist” do not have in common.
To the latter, the entire field of social media is an avenue for a business’s marketing strategy, much like radio, TV, and newspaper. It’s not just about posting to friends and family. It’s about identifying customer segments and targeting them through a developed strategy. It’s not just about snapping a photo of your restaurant’s new menu item. It’s about doing research and utilizing angles, lighting, and positioning that resonates best with a digital audience.
Social media marketing is my career and passion, so I have to stay updated or risk falling behind in my industry. If you’re a small business owner or independent entrepreneur, you too can stay updated and take your digital marketing strategy to the next level.
Network with other business owners.
Utilize your network and learn how your fellow business owners are managing their digital marketing strategy. They may have some tips and advice to offer you. Even more, if you’re currently focusing on radio, TV, and newspaper only, you may quickly realize you’re missing out on an entire category that everyone else is on but you.
Do your research.
There are a ton of articles floating around online about social media and digital marketing. I recommend using an app like Flipboard or Apple News and curating your news to reflect what you want to learn for your business. If you’re active on Twitter, you can also curate your Twitter feed and follow social media industry news outlets like Mashable Social Media or TechCrunch. Pinterest is also a great place to find advice from bloggers. We’ve compiled a lot of great advice on our own Harness Digital Marketing Pinterest!
Another component of research is social media listening. Listen to what your customers are saying online. Are they asking specific questions? Talking about something in your industry? Let that conversation drive your content. At Harness Digital Marketing, we use a software, called Nuvi, to listen to what our clients’ customers are saying. We track conversations and use them to inspire our content.
If you’ve tried the first two, but still find yourself in over your head, it may be time to seek out consulting. There are more intricacies to digital marketing that meets the eye, and it will help to have someone who is immersed in the field offer you advice.
Is all of the above leaving you scratching your head? It’s time to pass on your digital marketing strategy to professionals in the field. When you’re busy wearing multiple hats at your business, it will help to work with a team that can take it completely off your plate. A team that constantly stays updated on new strategies and updates, because it’s their job.
The key thing to remember is that digital and social media are not stagnant entities. The way it is today is not how it will be tomorrow. It’s constantly evolving and changing, and if you sleep on it for a month, you become irrelevant.
Regular people can’t publish a TV commercial. Or a radio ad. Normal, everyday people can post or tweet whenever and however they want. This gives the misconception, especially to small business owners, that anyone can manage a business’s social media strategy. The intricacies of social media and digital marketing are so profound, that you need to decide whether or not you can dedicate the time. Or risk falling behind.
Eleni Hampton | Twitter: @eleni_gabriella | Instagram: @elenihampton | LinkedIn: Eleni Hampton