How to do Social Media Marketing Even If You Don’t Like Social Media
Jamie Whelan is our marketing intern. Jamie is 21-years-old. And Jamie is earning a degree from The University of Texas in Advertising.
You'd guess Jamie was a social media obsessive, smack dab in the middle of the most plugged-in generation ever. But she's not. Quite the opposite: Like an increasing number of people, Jamie finds social media to be a mixed bag—some good ... and a growing amount of bad.
And yet, social media remains one of the most effective marketing channels available. Here, she attempts to answer the question, “How can a person who dislikes social media on principle use it professionally?”
I know, GASP! I’m a millennial marketing intern who doesn’t enjoy social media. But don’t be fooled: For each person who adores Facebook and Instagram, there’s someone who doesn’t. (And that person might be young.)
Yet, after years of college courses and internships and following digital trends, I don’t question the power that social media wields. I’ve read enough job descriptions to know that an increasing number of organizations expect people like me—budding professional marketing pros—to know social media marketing inside and out.
But it’s just not for me. And I know others who are in the same boat.
The primary goal of social media marketing is, of course, to increase your brand’s reach and audience by sharing content they like. But after that, it starts to get complicated.
For example, there’s the concept of “social media optimization”—i.e., ensuring that all of the content you produce, whether for your website or especially for social, is designed and crafted with the “social media” experience in mind. If you’re going to market via social media, you’ll need to create a lot of mobile-optimized content because most people consume social media via a smartphone.
Generally speaking, social media marketing is effective only if it’s done strategically and often. To turn a positive ROI with social, your organization needs to commit to it—complete with dedicated resources and a long-term vision (and money to spend).
So, how does your organization use social media even if you—the person responsible for it—find social media kind of annoying and icky?
1. Keep your toolbelt handy
As social media has exploded as an advertising medium, a sense of fatigue has begun to creep in. There are too many platforms, and channels within those platforms, to tackle at once. And social media is always changing—updating algorithms, adding features, trying to sell you new ways of connecting with your audience.
It can be exhausting.
Luckily, several tools exist to help manage and integrate multiple social media platforms. You’ve probably heard of big names like Buffer and HootSuite, but I recommend researching all of the newer options. Depending on the scope and priorities of your work, paying for a tool may not be necessary.
Most social media management software offer a trial period. Use it. As helpful as online reviews can be, you won’t know for sure until you put it to the test. Experiment with a few options, and then decide which tool does exactly enough.
I’m a visual person, especially when it comes to coordinating, so a calendar view was a crucial feature I needed. With a calendar, I’m able to see what posts are on what day in a glance.
I spend about one-and-a-half-hours per week finding and scheduling content for the upcoming week. So scheduling was a must-have. This way, I can avoid the time waste that comes when you have to log onto each social media account everyday. A scheduler can ensure content is being posted consistently across channels and for posts that are time and date specific (i.e. promoting on the day of events).
2. Find your fountain of youth
The most challenging aspects of social media marketing (for most organizations) is deciding what to post. Finding great existing content to share is tricky enough, let alone how time-intensive it usually is to generate your own high-quality original content. Week in, week out, you have to be curating great ideas and creating a few of your own.
Don’t underestimate the power of good taste. Curating content well demonstrates to your audience that you’re thinking about the things they’re thinking about. It says, “We know what’s happening in our industry right now, and we want to share it with you, our friends.”
And because a key to winning on social media is persistence, even if you’re creating original content, you’ll want to fill the gaps with well-selected external sources.
For curation, I recommend identifying sources from which you can reap meaningful content. Sign up for newsletters and blog updates. Bookmark industry websites and check them daily; see what’s trending. Once you find your favorite sources, you’ll always have something worth sharing to social.
Also, read what you share before you share it. Don’t make the mistake of seeing a juicy headline, copying the URL, and posting it to Facebook without reading it. There could be something offensive, or outdated, or simply dumb buried in an otherwise tantalizing article. Remember, even curated content reflects on your brand. So don’t share any stinkers.
3. Pick your poison
In a world already overwhelmed with media, why add to the chaos unnecessarily? Limit what social media marketing channels you utilize.
Today, the most popular marketing platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Snapchat. Is your audience on all of these? Probably not. Even if your audience is so large and diverse that they use every social platform—Periscope, anyone?—don’t feel obligated to have an official account on every one. Pick the 2-3 that your audience uses most frequently and focus your resources there.
Organic social media posts—e.g., posts to your company’s Facebook page—reach very little of your audience (source). Social media requires brands to “pay to play” now—meaning if you want posts to be seen, money will need to be involved. Instead of spreading your content across six platforms—and paying a small amount to boost each post—dedicate yourself (and your budget) to a concentrated set of networks where you can truly reach the people you care about.
At the end of the day, social media marketing isn’t my passion. But through time, and learning tricks, let’s just say I don’t dread social media marketing as much as I used to.