Does size always matter? Let’s talk social media strategy

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Have you been given the responsibility of running social media for your business? It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with this task – most of us will have a good familiarity with Facebook but other networks can be less intuitive for beginners.

That’s ok – it takes time to learn the nuances of the various platforms, but there is a dangerous path that you should avoid, and it is always worth pausing before getting stuck in.

What is this danger? Obsession with fan numbers!

The initial reaction most people may have is to start a Facebook page, a Twitter account, maybe also get on Google+ and then work on gaining as many fans and followers as possible.

Before you go down this path, ask yourself – what do I achieve by doing this? How will this help my business?

Of course there are plenty of people and case studies that will tell you how amazing social media can be, and working for a social media agency means that I would be one of them! The difference here, though, is that you should consider what resources you can allocate to social media, and what you aim to get out of it.

Social Media NumbersImage – Glitch_Nitch

Look at your overall business strategy first

Your social media strategy should start off with a business objective – what aspect of your business do you see social media helping with?

Maybe internal communication could be improved with a shift away from email? How about using it for market research purposes? You could also use social media for improved customer support, and even as a recruitment tool!

Quality is just as important as quantity

Clearly you need to have targets for your social media accounts, but think beyond raw numbers.

If you have identified an audience then you can also determine where to best place your resources – if you are B2B then Facebook might not be the place for you, and LinkedIn could be a more fruitful destination.

Ask yourself if you would prefer to deal with 200 people who are engaged and interested in your offering, or 2,000 who are indifferent at best but have followed or “liked” you for some promotion or other reason. What happens to the 200 who may be ignored or passed over in the chatter? If they have a negative experience or you fail to respond to their message, they will feel alienated.

Tools

As well as choosing which networks you are going to focus your time on, there will certainly be a significant number of tool providers who can make your social media life easier. The important thing to consider here is to try tools that are free (either “lite” versions, or 30-day trials) while you get used to how they work and what theirs strengths and weaknesses are – the reason to try as much as possible for free is that not all tools work or feel the same, and inegration with your other systems may differ. Definitely try before you buy, as some of them do require a bit of investment in time to learn them even if they aren’t too expensive.

Stop, collaborate and listen

There are so many things that social media can help with, but they are not necessarily “free”, or even cheap. There is a real need to dedicate resources, either internally or through a social media agency, to provide the time, care and attention necessary.

If you clearly define the goals you have in mind for social media, you can then work backwards from there to make sure you achieve it, and analyse that what you are doing is actually having an impact.

To recap:

  • Think what area of your business can be helped with social media, not the other way round
  • Research the audience you are after, where to find them and how to engage them
  • Research the tools that are available, start with free ones to test the water and get a feel
  • Define metrics for success that don’t rely entirely on the number of fans/followers etc.
  • Review these metrics and analyse the success of social media this way.

6 COMMENTS

  1. The power in social media marketing lies in the ability to reach an enormous audience at once in an informal setting. To increase the number of people who receive your social media posts, start a campaign to get more followers. Ask your coworkers, clients, friends and families to sign up, and request that they in turn pass on the link to their contact lists. Even if only a portion of those people sign up, the combined power and reach of multiple networks can be significant.

  2. Social media plays an important role in every business nowadays. Especially that more and more people are engaging themselves in social media sites. As a result, businesses must focus on the part of the business where they could actually improve their potential.

  3. I have read several times about quality than quantity. But in this post Quality is just as important as quantity. But I have to agree, on what you have said. Yes, indeed we need a huge number of fans and followers, but then again those numbers are useless if they do not check or see what you have shared. If we what to get the most out of social media, we should build followers and fans that are really interested on what we share. We don’y want that our efforts are wasted, right? I admire you post JON! Hope to read some more stuff soon.

  4. Thank you for the comments Shiva and Nishadha.

    I do agree that numbers are important to a certain extent – gaining that initial following can be difficult if there is no “critical mass” (much like how a busy restaurant or bar looks more enticing than an empty one) but numbers alone should not be the main metric for success – if it makes you lose focus on engagement.

  5. Thanks for sharing these great tips, I however feel that increasing social media numbers in anyway you can is better, even if just to act as social proof.

  6. Hi Jon,
    I agree, it is indeed important to have quality followers rather than quantity followers of your site in Social media. Having thousands of followers who will not convert is totally not beneficial, one should focus on targeted followers and should try to engage more with them.

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