Social media management is not what you think it is... probably:
Prior to converting to inbound, Orange Pegs Media, a Southern California agency, was a full-fledged specialty social media marketing firm. In our travels we came across many notions of what social media is and what it is supposed to be, and how it can be effectively incorporated into business' outreach strategy.
Whether you're a start-up or a $100 million company, if there is one thing we learned in our travels with 100% certainty, it's that marketers should embrace the idea of bringing in help for social media.
Here are 7 reasons why:
What social media marketing is:
It's quite simple: Social media is where people go to be social. It's Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. It's also Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram, and Youtube.... and dozens/hundreds/thousands of others.
It's also the message boards and anywhere else people can interact with one another online. It's the one place where commerical powerhouses DON'T dominate the headlines, but rather, normal, everyday folks like you and me do.
This is why it's important for marketers and business owners alike to view social media as something that stands on its own. Sure, it's part of the "marketing" equation, but by in large, they are very, very different.
Reason #1 - Social Media & Marketing Are Different
Marketing through social media means communicating with the public, as opposed to at them, an important distinction to note. I think for many marketers this is where the biggest disconnect lies, because I can always spot a marketing-run social media feed based on the constant broadcasting. And believe me, it's a one-way street to nowheresville.
Getting feedback from your sales team, surveys, focus groups, or through analytical reporting does not replace direct interaction with your audience.
Reason #2 - It's More Involved Than You Think
Social media management DOES include sharing your company's advertisements, but that's only part of the equation, and a small one at that.
Finding and engaging your audience isn't as simple as hoisting your company's flag on Facebook.
It involves curating content from others, interacting through public discussion forums, and listening for your name and other important buying signals from your target audiences. None of this can be automated, and replacing it with more traditional marketing won't help.
Reason #3 - It's Another Lead Conversion Path
Social media can be used to develop leads, convert them, and elevate them into promoters. It takes word-of-mouth to cyberspace, and arms your biggest fans to work for YOU.
Reason #4 - It's REALLY Important For Your Digital Marketing Strategy
Having social presence means gaining direct knowledge about what works and what doesn't. It also helps you get in front of people when other methods won't. For example, you have to OPEN your email in order to receive its content, whereas on Facebook, you merely need to be logged in to see somebody's marketing message.
In addition, your content is easily shared, which means that your followers can easily promote your brand. But never mind my rhetoric, look at the facts:
- 95% of marketers who use social media at least 6 hours per week indicated their social media efforts increased exposure for their businesses.
- Nearly half of those who spend at least six hours per week on social media efforts saw a benefit of reduced marketing expenses
- Of those with at least 1 year of experience using social media, 69% or more found social platforms provided marketplace insight.
- Social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing.
Do you have your own blog? (I hope you do) - If so, social media can be your best distribution channel, because it will get it to your followers and into the hands of those connected to them.
Reason #5 - It Helps With Things Like SEO
(Ninja) SEO marketing experts (ironically, the LOUDEST "experts" out ther) everywhere are reeling... Google hasn't made life easy for them, and now the rest of us, even the white-hat practitioners (more HERE), are being lumped into a statement that is completely wrong: "SEO is dead." Far from it, actually... but the old ways... the ninja ways... absolutely are.
(Want more on this topic? Check out this blog post!)
What's great about social media is that when implemented with a thoughtful social strategy, it can help you rise in the rankings when people search for answers to problems you solve. Plus, executing and sharing powerful content will not only help you get found on LinkedIn but in Google searches as well. This is especially true when the people who share your content with find value above and beyond the social realm, and help you with important things like inbound links.
Reason #6 - It will make you look REALLY good
I think it's pretty common for business owners to push the idea to their marketing teams that they should be able to handle social media in-house. It's a super easy-to-grasp medium for anybody to use (it was built that way on purpose), and because of that, it doesn't get the kind of respect it should.
But if you can bring somebody in who can repurpose your already-existing content into a social media campaign, it will highlight your work at a whole new level. Remember, they are a compliment to you, not a replacement, and if they're not making you look good, they're not doing their job.
Reason #7 - It Can Never Replace What You Do
Your marketing strategy, which may include brand development through emails, fliers, advertisements, logos, slogans, and website, is incredibly important, and a social media consultant cannot replace any of them.
I remember speaking with several business owners who didn't have any marketing in-house yet and were considering using us to pilot their outreach efforts, but it rarely made sense to do so.
Social media is a specialty, and not EVERYBODY is on it. In fact, there are many potential clients completely out of reach through the social channels, but more importantly, it's YOUR marketing strategy that will drive the success of a social media campaign anyway.
People will "like" and "follow" your company because of the content YOU build that is shared by your consultant.
Never mind hiring somebody if you have an additional 10-40+ hours per week to dedicate to it and you're able to rewire your brain to more of a salesperson's:
But I say, why reinvent the wheel when you already have so much on your plate? Find a good consultant or look into social media agencies that can fit into your existing model. Dip your toes in with them if they're willing to work for you hourly or part-time, but remember, like any aspect of marketing and sales, the more you put into it, the bigger the payoff.
Yes, this is another example of inbound vs outbound marketing, but social media was meant for the first, not the latter. If you want sustainable organic marketing, do it right, and go inbound with it.
For a more in-depth dive into how social media can help YOUR business, check out our inbound lead generation services page: