Let’s face it—it’s hard to keep up with the social media landscape these days. As soon as you finally have a solid strategy for marketing your brand on Facebook, then you start wondering, “should I be on Snapchat? What about doing Facebook Live? Instagram stories?” And suddenly, your head is spinning in feeds and ads and content, and you’ve lost sight of your marketing strategy altogether.
To avoid insanity, the best remedy above all is to keep your company and your customers at the forefront of your social media strategy. Keeping that in mind, here are a few key points to make the most of your social media knowledge while reducing the time you spend on it.
Lay Out Priorities for Your Team
Just because Snapchat introduced a self-serve Ad Manager or Twitter rolled out new buttons for direct messaging doesn’t mean you need to start using ads on Snapchat or direct messages with your customers on Twitter. It doesn’t mean you need to be on Snapchat or Twitter at all. To determine which channels and features (ads, video, messaging, e-commerce, etc.) you should be utilizing, ask yourself a few questions:
Why are you on social media in the first place?
It can be embarrassingly easy to lose that focus and fire you had when you first hopped on the social media marketing train. Get back to basics: what is the purpose behind your posts? Are you trying to get a specific persona to buy your product directly on that channel? Is it more to show that you’re keeping with the times? Or are you simply hoping to increase brand awareness? Whatever it is, keep your initial purpose in mind, and prioritize your primary channels from there.
How well do certain channels and/or features align with your brand?
Say you’re a company offering a variety of legal services to attorneys going into court. You probably don’t need to spend a lot of time on Pinterest, right? The purpose, aesthetic, and consumer base of that channel doesn’t necessarily align with your brand. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by social media marketing, it’s probably a good bet that you can save some time by nixing Pinterest. Maybe it’s better for you to spend time advertising and engaging on LinkedIn or Google+, which both tend to convey a more scholarly and professional brand feel.
Determine What’s Worth Your Attention
In HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2017 released in May, the evidence is clear that marketers are antsy to try the latest channels, especially if they feel like everyone else might be hopping on board. 39% of marketers surveyed by HubSpot plan to add Facebook video to their content strategy, 48% are planning to add YouTube, and 24% are planning to add messaging apps like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. However, when broken up by seniority in the company, the pressure to add new marketing channels is primarily coming from the top more so than the individual contributors who might hold a better grasp on the efficacy of each channel. 52% of C-level executives say they plan to add YouTube while just 42% of individual contributors plan to; 32% of C-level execs want to get on board with messaging apps, but only 20% of individual contributors share the enthusiasm.
Image Credit: HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2017
Don’t get sidetracked by trying to keep up with social-media-Joneses just because something new and shiny just came out. How can you determine what’s worth really paying attention to?
First, follow the social media channels themselves to get the updates directly from them, rather than hearing sensationalized news from others—this tends to create more of a bandwagon effect than news that’s actually worth your marketing time and money. Keep the facts straight by getting the news from the source.
A second key tip is to always, always, always remember your target market and what motivates them. Is your target market paying attention to these new channels? Will time you spend creating posts or engaging in new ad features get through to your personas? If you’re selling retirement annuities, it might not make sense to try to move forward in, say, virtual reality. But if you’re a travel app targeting young, adventurous travelers, that might be worth looking into. On a high level, it’s a good rule of thumb to bear in mind different generational social media preferences when selecting your social media channels.
When in Doubt, Stay Calm and Use Your Resources
Once you’ve determined your priorities and the best ways to use them to make them work for your brand, take a step back and look at the big picture. Ensure the social media strategy you’re moving forward with doesn’t lose sight of the basic marketing fundamentals we all know and love. Verify that these are in line with your business goals for the future. Chances are, if you’ve made smart, well-informed decisions about your social media mix, you have a good handle on future company goals and are moving in the right direction.
If you’re an individual contributor or a strategist who’s responsible for managing social media channels in your company, make sure you’re carving out time to focus on your posts, ads, and engagement. Stay mindful when you’re posting. It’s easy to get caught up in the “scroll”—be sure you’re executing more than you’re consuming. And if you’re feeling lost and having a mental block, check out some of these helpful resources on all things social media marketing: