Social media evolves every year, and the evolution will continue as newer social media platforms come to the forefront and some of the older social media platforms take a back seat. Even the social media platforms evolve themselves. Let’s take a quick look at Facebook’s evolution.
Facebook started in 2003 as an online program called ‘Facemash.’ It evolved into ‘TheFacebook’ shortly thereafter, and in 2005, it became ‘Facebook’. It originally ran as a social media platform for Harvard students and then spread to other college campuses around the country. By 2006, anyone in the world could make themselves a Facebook account, as long as they claimed they were at least 13 years old and had a valid email address. Today there are approximately 2.6 billion monthly active Facebook users worldwide.
The message here is the evolution which is important to understand. Keeping up with the current social media trends may have an impact on your business. Knowing if and/or when to spend time marketing on social media is an important part of your thinking when it comes to your marketing plan and budget.
Social media is just that – social. There is a reason to focus on the word social here, as the messages must be social to your audience. Seeing if there is a good social strategy for your business may be easier than you think, but takes time and patience. In identifying a good social strategy and the implementation of this strategy takes time and money. If you believe that time is money, then this investment will be even higher.
How to Evaluate Your Business Market and Put a Social Media Plan Together
1. Track Success
The best thing to do is to see if any of your competitors are doing any of the social media platforms and having success with it. Measuring their success may be difficult to understand as some of the accounts may look successful, but actually aren’t. We have learned to evaluate lots of social media accounts and are amazed at what we find that look successful at first glace but really aren’t performing well. We reviewed a Facebook account a few years back of a client who was doing some of their social media on their own, and at a high level it looked like they amassed a decent following for a local business. They had over 1,200 followers, but after looking at their analytics, 95% of those followers were not in their market, meaning they couldn’t be potential customers. 70% of their followers were under the age of 18, so they wouldn’t be purchasing the product they were selling. In looking at their posts, there were very few likes and zero comments, so the optics were nice, but the results and value of what they were investing in time and money were wasted.
2. Identify the Value
Identify the value of how much time and money, it will take to be successful. What will your messaging be? Think of top of mind awareness, product sales, event attendance, and make sure you stay on point. If your social cause doesn’t touch on your target market, then it may not have any value.
3. Make Sure Everyone is on the Same Page
Communicate with the people who are doing your social media so they understand your goals and values. This can be delegated, but as an owner/manager, you need to have a sense of what it is doing. We recently spoke with a prospect who was paying for someone to update their Twitter. The company doing this was doing their job posting tweets, but were they really their job to post tweets? Or was it their job to utilize the social media platform of Twitter to help the client improve their business? They had many tweets but there were zero followers to the account, so these tweets were seen by nobody. No engagement, no interaction, nothing. Maybe this didn’t cost much, a couple of hundred dollars a month, but it was still wasted money. It may take more of an investment to do thing right (create engagement and sales as the bottom line) but it could be worth it.
4. Get Started!
Social media can’t be ignored but it does take some time to learn. Invest in learning about the current social media platforms and what they will (or won’t) do for your business. Create accounts in all the platforms, even the up and coming ones in case they take off. You’ll have your profile set up and ready to go when you need it and can keep an ear out for trends as they occur. Don’t let the media/news take you off course. You can easily Google “current monthly user of xxxx” and “average age of xxxx users.” This will give you a place to start. An example in a Google search for “average age of Tiktok user” shows 80% of users are between 16-34, and a follow up search shows 60% are female. If this is not in your prime demographics, then Tiktok may not be a social media platform to spend time in marketing your company. This doesn’t mean it may not change. Facebook used to be used by people of all ages, especially the younger age demographic when it first began, but today the average age of Facebook users in the US is continues to trend up, with over 55% being adults over the age of 35. This is very different than it was 10 years ago when usage was dominated by the 18-25 age group.
Social media may play an important role in your company’s marketing efforts. It is important when utilizing social media that your company stays on brand (which can include social/community cause,) stay consistent, and is a part of the social media community. When having an employee or a company help you with your social media, learn what you can, ask questions, and understand what they are doing and how it is helping drive sales and/or brand awareness for your business.
If you have questions about social media, reach out to us! We are open to the discussion any time – especially if you are a local business, which is our specialty.