Not a question I expected to be answering to be honest but there is a debate going on at the moment – is social media marketing really dead? Business owners and marketers are debating the issue as platforms like Snapchat lose subscribers and Twitter still struggles to gain real significant traction.
Naturally people in business look at some of the data and say – well if platforms are losing the appeal then why bother jumping in at all? In a study of B2B, 19% of those surveyed said that social media played an important role in their discovery process.
But heres the thing, Snapchat is losing to another platform – Instagram. People are not leaving social media platforms behind, far from it. Instead Snapchat is taking a hit due to Instagram’s efforts behind their stories tool. Twitter has been struggling to grow for years now so there should be no surprises there for businesses while Facebook and Instagram are booming.
Social media marketing is far from dead and its not going to die any time soon. Many companies have their own dedicated social media teams and companies report a significant increase in sales when tactics are deployed effectively. If you are thinking about dumping social media marketing for your business then you may want to consider some of these points first.
Reach a wider audience
Social media has changed over the years, the free lunch is over. Businesses which capitalised on the free years of organic growth and content, those who took the risk before others and cashed in, they got it right. Now the game is very much pay to play so you need to have a social media marketing budget – bottom line.
Technology is advancing faster than ever before, people have smartphones and are connected all through the day. The ability to reach someone through the device in their pocket has never been easier than what it is now. For business owners there is the chance to reach their demographic online through social media instantly.
People are bombarded with a large flow of information so the challenge for you as the business owner is to stand out from the rest.
Stop thinking of social media as the end game
It is a component, not the full package and not the answer to your business problems. I once had a potential client who gave the impression that social media would be his key to success. He thought that all his sales problems and all the business issues could be fixed by jumping on Twitter and nailing social media strategy.
If you think you can use social media as a sales channel and shove product in people’s faces then you won’t last for long. The landscape has changed over the past number of years and people no longer appreciate direct sales on social media.
Hook them in with information through content, provide people with real value through social media and blog posts. Your content will be shared over time and if people really dig it then they will buy into it. You will also achieve better online visibility, improve your credibility and increase your reach.
The funnel to your website
Social media can be the funnel to your website. Traffic is important in the current online era and more traffic means more people can potentially sign up to your newsletter, more people can discover your business and ultimately more paying customers and sales.
Sharing your content through social media links people back to your website, they explore and they find out what your are all about. They share the link with their social circle and someone in that circle shares it on. The cycle can be endless if you get the content right.
All of this brings new and return people back to your website, increases your exposure and if the content is good enough then it will speak for itself and people will happily pay for your product.
Social media is changing
Far from being dead, social media is changing and will continue to change. That means that you as a business owner need to adjust and adapt to the new landscape of social media and their platforms.
Social platforms are not intended to “work for you” and they are certainly not designed for business, they never were. Instead it is us who must hack the platforms and come up with ways to use them for business, that is a never ending changing game.
What has changed dramatically is the attention, people are more selective over what they click on and what they share with their online social circles. People now take the time to take a look at content before sharing with others and the shelf life of a social media post is short – a mere seconds in some cases.
So just because you haven’t figured out how to monetise it yet doesn’t mean the platforms wrong, it means you are wrong.