Building a following on social media is no easy task and at times incredibly overwhelming for those new to business-side social media. News flash: building up your fans and followers using social media isn’t as easy as clicking “send” on a post you thought of five minutes before. Marketing yourself and your product on social media takes time, effort, consistency, and (most important) authenticity. Panelists Andrew Greenberg, Gail Z. Martin, and James Nettle lent their experience and their insight to social marketing newbies during their Saturday morning panel in Hilton 313–314 at 11:30AM.
The first key to success at marketing on social media is to take the time to build a community surrounding your brand and products—large like and follow counts mean absolutely nothing otherwise. The whole point of marketing on social media is to convert interactions into sales and in order to do that you need to create a buy-in. Be authentic online and build relationships with your biggest fans.
The next key you need to think about is how you’re spending your marketing budget. The panelists recommended investing in quality equipment and taking the time to research the tools you want to pay for before making the decision to actually do it. If you don’t know how to properly utilize a tool, look into hiring an expert – that investment will help you tremendously in the long run; pay someone who knows what they’re doing that can get you consistent results is a ton cheaper than throwing money at random things and hoping they stick. Finally, don’t fall into the trap of paying to “boost” posts as a platform can take that as a sign that you’re willing to pay for engagement and will decrease your organic engagement to zero as a result.
Which leads to another key – focus on organic engagement. A lot of platforms are trying to work towards moving their communities back to focusing on the “social” aspect of social media so will prioritize posts aligned with that over meaningless memes and TikTok trends. Post authentic pieces of you in your marketing and start conversations—everyone loves a good cat pic and that could very well be the thing that drives your engagement right back up to where you want it. Creating a consistent newsletter is also another tool you can consider using to drive up your engagement – start a conversation in email and lead your community back to your social platforms.
The last key takeaway from the panel is to find what works for you and aligns with your brand. Social media is an expansive universe and it’s so incredibly important that you don’t attempt to do everything all the time – that’s the fastest way to burnout. Start with two platforms: the one you like and are already comfortable with and the platform your community is already on. Once you have the hang of those platforms, slowly move to grow your community on others.
Unfortunately, there’s only so much you can cram into a single hour but the panelists gave excellent advice to those just starting their social media marketing journey. There is a plethora of free resources for you to use as you continue to work on building your marketing plan – YouTube, books, articles, and certification programs. While you work and learn your chosen platforms, set yourself up for success by building community, staying consistent, researching tools, spending wisely, and staying aligned to your brand.