Should you rely on Social Media Marketing alone to build your brand?
Social media is a widely used marketing channel amongst small businesses everywhere. For many small business owners, it is the way to reach the largest audience for the least amount of expense. Now while it's simple to put up a post to share your thoughts, a special offer or a new service offering, what many fail to realise is that #organicreach on #socialmedia decreased significantly over the past 7 years from 26% down to 0.2% resulting in a higher need for paid advertising. The changes in algorithms means that individual posts are prioritised higher than business posts in news feeds – not exactly the best news for small business owners.
Kimanzi Constable, a VIP Contributor from Entrepreneur.com, wrote an article approximately 6 years ago defining the three reasons why we shouldn't rely on social media as the primary or only form of marketing channel used by our businesses.
The three reasons he gave included:
1. The organic reach will continue to decrease,
2. The platforms aren't yours and
3. A diverse strategy is always best.
While carry out research for my article I knew that if I referenced an article that was six years old people would most likely disagree with what I'm saying. However, in further research as well as studies of my own in furthering my education, these three reasons he has given are still just as relevant today as they were back then.
As a marketer, from the day that I walked into my first lecture theatre at University and right through my entire career I was taught (and know through my own experience) that diverse marketing strategies are the key to success. We are never taught just to rely on one or the other but rather what is referred to as an integrated #marketingstrategy. It's like the old saying goes don't put all your eggs in one basket and that is the case for marketing. We need to remember when marketing to our audiences that one size doesn't fit all. While some people spend most of their time on social media others don't have the time nor the interest and instead channels such as email marketing or even blogs are their preferred choice. But if you're like me and know that you have multiple target customers who reside on different platforms and prefer to be communicated to in different ways then you know that you can't just rely on a single marketing channel.
Kimanzi’s second point where he states “The platforms aren’t yours” is also true – we only need to look at the drastic decrease in organic reach to see this. He stated that when you build a large social media following you have to realise that those people are their (the platform owner) customers and not yours. They may be following you, but that social media platform has complete control of what they see and do. He suggests that social should be a lead generator with the ultimate goal of getting those leads to visit your website and signing up for your email list. I always tell my clients not to discount #emailmarketing even today. And the reason for this is that email marketing lists are more often than not your customers or prospects that actually want to hear from you and want to hear about your brand. They have specifically signed up for communication from your business which essentially overcomes the issue of noise brought about by social media due to the increased competition. New business is entering the market every single day due to the ease of setting up a social media account.
When we look at the current situation we are in with the #Coronavirus, it has become extremely obvious to me the much higher volume of posts from small businesses trying to get their message across. And while they are doing what I am telling every one of my clients to do and that is to keep your brand alive during this time, they need to remember that a blanket approach simply doesn't work. We can't just post something up and share the hell out of it and expect to get a good return on investment. No matter the situation we should always be targeting our audience by ensuring that our content and messaging not only stays true to our brand but resonates with our ideal customer.
Ensuring that we research our #audience and identify our #idealcustomer will make it much simpler to understand which channels work best for our brand. We can’t just assume that our entire target audience is sitting on social media platforms. Understanding and considering factors such as demographics and generations can give us great insight into which channels will resonate with which parts of our target audience.
So when you sit down to develop your next marketing plan of attack, make sure that you consider an #integratedmarketingstrategy and realise that one size doesn’t fit all.