Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Why Your Social Strategy Is Not One Size Fits All

Marketers, we have a problem.
We’ve reached a true turning point in our social media marketing. We’re at the apex of the perfect storm: We’re strapped for time, with more content than ever to promote on more social networks than ever before. When faced with this challenge, we can easily forget the golden rule of social media marketing: One size doesn’t fit all.
Not all social networks are created equal.
social strategy for marketing
It’s easy to lump our favorite social networks together. We bucket each platform under a social media umbrella when talking about, thinking about, and planning our social strategies. By routine we update Facebook, scan Twitter, and check Google+ everyday swaying us to view these platforms as a package, not individual tools. The underlying commonality is that they’re all great at connecting us directly with our target audience. But just because Google+ and Twitter can both put us in front of your prospects doesn’t mean they should be treated the same. By recognizing the respective value of each tool, we can connect with our audience in even more valuable ways.
That’s not to say one network is better than the other. There’s value in all social media channels...when used the right way. Consider the mindset of your target audience when creating content for each channel. Twitter, for example, sees about 9,000 tweets a second. To stay relevant on Twitter then, you may want to tweet more often than you update your LinkedIn Company Page because readers on LinkedIn aren’t being overwhelmed with content at lightning speed.
Not every post you write is 100% optimized for every network you want to share it on.
This wasn’t as big of a problem five years ago as it is today. When social networks became an integral part of the larger marketing strategy, these networks adapted to add features for social media marketers to make the most out of the content they were sharing, like the major visual updates we’ve seen recently from Google+. Thats why, when marketers go into “broadcast mode” -- using one message to spam every platform -- we miss out on the valuable nuances of each network. For example, if I’m sharing the same article to Twitter and LinkedIn.
Not every network is best for your company.
It’s tempting to jump in with both feet when you’re getting started with your social media marketing. But it’s worth spending time to research which networks your prospects actually spend time on. Did you know that B2C prospects spend more time engaging with Facebook while B2B prospects prefer LinkedIn? Consider where you can best tap into your community, as well as optimize your content. For example, your business may be a good match for channels like Pinterest or Instagram, especially if you’re selling a tangible product. Or, you could be an SEO agency, and then you’d probably want to focus on Google+. Pay attention to where your audience is consuming information and dig into which platform is the best vehicle for your content.
Approaching each platform with customized tactics can be intimidating; it’s already overwhelming enough to stay on top of all our social channels with just one approach. Take time to carve out a few ways you’ll start to differentiate your content so its optimized for each network. Keep in mind that as long as you follow the guiding principles of an effective social media strategy, everything else will fall into place. At HubSpot, we’re known for being dedicated to solving for the customer, we use the acronym “SFTC” daily. It’s why we developed Social Inbox, and it’s why we talk a lot about “delighting” our customers - not our prospects, but our customers. You can’t go wrong by addressing your customer’s wants and needs first. Here are two key ways we try to stay true to that principle.
  • Be authentic: As someone who lives and breathes social media, authenticity stands out from a mile away. So does fakeness.  Keep the “social” in social media by staying true to what your brand promotes, and also remembering that there are humans on the other end of that tweet. 
  • Stay active: If you tweet once a month when your target audience is sleeping, will that tweet make an impact? Probably not. But if you take the time to nurture each network, strategically approach each network based on the audience and function, and engage with your followers then your chances for a retweet, or a Like, or sparking up a conversation are much higher. If you’re going to take the time to invest in a network and set up a profile, make it matter and make it valuable.
So, when you start planning your social media calendar for the next week, keep in mind that not all social media networks are created equal. There are ways to optimize and customize your updates based on the platform; one size won’t fit all. But as you would approach any area of your marketing, you need to come to the table with a universal strategy to make sure you’re staying on brand, staying consistent, and always solving for the customer.

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