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How is your social media strategy shaping up this year? If you’re one of the 43 percent of small businesses that can’t show social media has made an impact, I’m going to say not so well.
How do you use your social media platforms? Chances are, you post your blog posts, links to your services, and if you’re really on the ball, some photos of your product. You may boost your posts or run a digital copy of that print ad you made. If you take advantage of social media advertising, you probably use the same ads for social media that you use for other digital ad campaigns.
If the above sounds like your small business’s social media strategy, then you’re doing it wrong. Way wrong. To learn why and how to correct your social media strategy, keep reading.
Social Strategy Fix: Social Media Is Not a “Do” Platform
The biggest social strategy mistake business owners and marketers make is treating social media like a “do” platform.
What’s a “do” platform?
Avinash Kaushik created the See-Think-Do-Care content marketing framework to better capture the modern buyer’s journey. See-Think-Do-Care says there are four different audience intent clusters, and that marketers need to ensure that we solve for all four audience intent clusters.
See: Largest addressable qualified audience with no commercial intent
Think: Largest addressable qualified audience with some commercial intent
Do: Largest addressable qualified audience with loads of commercial intent
Care: Current customers with two commercial transactions
Within this framework, certain digital marketing platforms are better than others, depending on the intent:
Guess what? Social media is a “see” and a “care” platform, and most advertising is tailored for “do” platforms.
Social media’s low conversion rates? It’s not them, it’s US, the marketers and business owners that insist on treating social media like it’s just another place for media buys.
“Let me anchor that in data you can see in your own Adobe or Google Analytics accounts: Conversion rates from social media stink worse than Epoisses.The reason is simple. Humans mostly express See intent on social channels. In case of NGO, there might be a tiny amount of Think intent. Executing Do intent strategies on See intent platforms result in pathetic conversion rates.” – Avinash Kaushik
Search engines are usually “do” or “think” platforms. People use them because they want to do something, go somewhere, find something, etc. The reason search ads work is because of this initial intent. Social media is rarely a “do” platform, unless someone specifically goes there to look for recommendations for a service or product.
Because social media is a “see” and “care” platform, your social media strategy should focus on producing engaging, dynamic images, and begin with building your community (or audience) and gaining earned attention for being the go-to source for specific information, creatives, or other added value.
What does this look like? Be genuine! I’ll give you an example from a fictional roofing company:
NO: It’s the season for roofing scams! Call us today so you know YOU’RE not getting scammed.
YES: “Hey folks, right about now is when tons of homeowners in our area get scammed by ‘roofers.’ Professional roofers DO NOT go door-to-door, so if one knocks on yours, tell them to scram. If you have any roofing damage, call a reputable roofing company.”
Version two isn’t a call to action, it isn’t a branding plug, it’s a genuine, helpful post that you would expect to see from a neighbor or family friend. Jackpot.
Social Marketing Plan Tip for Business Owners: Give your company a “persona.” Everything you post on social media should be in line with this persona. It should drive your language, the things you share, when you share, and how you interact. By giving your company a persona, you’re more identifiable as relatable instead of a company face.
It’s All In the
Hips Ad Creatives
Now, about your ad creatives. If you’re using paid social media ads, stop using the same traditional ads you use for other digital marketing campaigns. In the wise words of Gary Vaynerchuck,
They won’t work. Why don’t traditional digital ads work on a “See” platform? Well, because…
You Are Literally Intruding On Someone’s Personal Space
Americans are all about personal space. Social media is akin to someone’s online diary, of sorts. It’s where they record their accomplishments, connect with others, and post what’s most important to them.
People go there to connect with other human beings or organizations and you’re literally barging in and shoving your product in their face.
These people don’t know you, they don’t know your product, they don’t know your company history, they don’t know if you’re a scam artist, and you’re trying to sell them something.
Talk about skipping the foreplay.
If you’re doing paid social advertising, your ads need to provide value to that personal experience. Your ads have to make them laugh, chuckle, think, feel some sort of emotion or trigger some sort of memory. A small business’s best bet is to capitalize on emotion.
Small Business Social Media Strategy 101: Learn to Leverage Emotions
In a study on emotional response to Facebook content, Hava Media discovered that 20 percent of posts received an emotional response and 0 percent of ads did. For an inherently emotional platform, that’s pretty sad.
Business owners need to learn what emotions drive both purchases and social media action, then leverage them.
Emotional Leverage #1: Encouraging Social Media Conversions
These are the top six emotions that drive purchases:
1. Greed. “If I make a decision now, I will be rewarded.”
2. Fear. “If I don’t make a decision now, I’m toast.”
3. Altruism. “If I make a decision now, I will help others.”
4. Envy. “If I don’t make a decision now, my competition will win.”
5. Pride. “If I make a decision now, I will look smart.”
6. Shame. “If I don’t make a decision now, I will look stupid.”
With each of these emotions, the user is gaining something. It provides a personal benefit. If your goal is sales, you need to trigger one of these emotions.
Emotional Leverage #2: Brand Awareness and Audience Growth
What about audience attention, loyalty, discovery, and brand awareness? You may need to switch gears. While triggering the intense emotions above can drive purchases, there is a different trend in what makes an image, post, or ad go viral. When your posts or images go viral, it means your exposure is increased a hundredfold and your content has been shared all over the web.
And these are the top ten emotions that make content go viral on social media:
They’re all positive emotions.
If your content doesn’t strike one of the cords above, it’s not going to go viral or generate a lot of interest.
The best social media strategies focus on providing for a need, building community, generating trust, invoking positive emotions and placing oneself in the forefront of potential customers’ lives. Don’t overly-promote yourself, but share your small business’ accomplishments.
One huge benefit small businesses have over large companies is that family-like atmosphere. There are photo-ops everywhere, and most Americans are extremely fond of the family feel of local businesses. Use it! Take photos! Share accomplishments! The more you “peel back the curtain” on your organization, the more people will feel connected to you.
Be Careful About Your Social Media Marketing Company
If you’re outsourcing your social media marketing to a pro (which I highly recommend) you need to make sure they’re ACTUALLY social media marketers.
We’ve discussed that in order for your social media strategy to succeed you need to:
- Stop treating social media like other digital ad platforms
- Add value to a social media user’s personal experience
- Use emotions as leverage
A good social media marketing company:
- Understands your company culture: If your social media marketer doesn’t understand your culture, they can’t deliver messages that appear genuine and unique to your company
- Understands how emotions drive social media: Otherwise, you’re going to get the same digital ads as your PPC campaign.
- Actively asks you for company photos, events, news, and history: Photos are powerful, and they’re preferred on social media.
If your social media marketer doesn’t hit all three marks, it’s time to have that break-up conversation. I can confidently say our social media marketers at Blue Corona understand social media better than the big Z himself, so contact us for a free social media audit!
About The Author: Betsy is the social media team lead and a content marketing specialist with Blue Corona. When she’s not managing social media marketing campaigns or writing badass blog posts she’s practicing Muay Thai, hiking with her dog or teaching kids how not to fall off a horse.
View more blogs by Betsy McLeod