Why Businesses Should Do Social Media

Oftentimes, it's best to take the road less traveled and ask yourself why you shouldn't follow a certain marketing strategy. By laying out all the potential negative aspects and determining that the positives outweigh them, you're setting yourself up for success. This latter tactic is a prudent one that will lead to solid business decisions.

However, you can't always be pessimistic because you'll end up missing out on the opportunities. That's why we have Jay Baer, one of the top social media experts in the world, answer why you should be doing social media for your business.

Jay starts out by advising that you should do social media if it makes you money, saves you money, or both. There is a real opportunity cost associated with pursuing social media and you need to take it into account. People are active on social networks as a reflex and should consider whether or not this mode of communication provides them greater benefit than other forms of marketing.

Contrary to what you might think, not that many small and medium enterprises are enjoying great success on social media. Jay Baer finds that he is spending more time talking businesses out of doing social media than into it. This is because having an active presence on at least a couple of platforms is considered the norm, regardless of the return on investment. This is a fallacy you need to avoid if you don't enjoy throwing good money after bad.

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The Opportunity Cost Associated With Social Media

These first few lines may seem like you should be wary of entering the social media landscape in the first place. However, you should take it as some tough love that'll help you avoid the trappings of a sub-optimal approach.

People are constantly interacting with your brand on the web so it makes sense that you should have a social media presence. The question is: why are you doing social media? Business owners think that because they do social media, they will get new customers and sales. This isn't necessarily the case.

Importance of Social Strategy

Social media companies skew their algorithms to bring you users that have interacted with you before. As per Jay, social media is best used to get more dollars out of existing customers rather than focusing on creating new sales. It is a better retention mechanism than a new customer tool, for the most part.

You need a documented strategy based on metrics to determine what you're using social for. This will help you avoid wasting time and valuable resources. The best way to think about social strategy is to make a pie chart for every client. Calculating percentages of customer retention and acquisition should drive decision-making. Engaging in data-driven social media decision-making will help you avoid what Jay calls “random acts of social.”

This phrase includes the tendency to jump on every new platform just because it exists and out of fear that your competitors will find some unfair advantage by doing so before you. You can't spread the peanut butter infinitely thin because you'll end up doing everything half as well. Making the decision to sacrifice something that seems important for a goal that is of greater importance is the mark of a good business leader. This statement should be your guide for your company's social media presence.

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How to Go About Picking Social Channels

The intuitive course of action is to spend more time where your target audience spends its time. While this may seem obvious, it's also one of the things companies get wrong most often.

Jay states that in his experience, for SnapChat, there is a 300% return on ad spend on average but the platform's audience is 24 and under. Electing to be on Snapchat when you offer products to an older target audience doesn't make sense.

Choose a platform where you can do something disproportionately engaging. By achieving economies of scale, you will solicit engagement which will give you greater exposure and better results.

Smaller businesses should probably lean toward social channels that they prefer. This may seem contradictory to the previous point, but if you don't love social media, you won't do well on it. Social media shouldn't be a necessary evil for a small business because it won't translate well in your content and results. Ideally, you should find the platforms that your users flock to which you also enjoy creating content for.

Understanding That You Don’t Need to Be On Many Platforms

The main behavior that leads people to commit random acts of social is the refusal to measure business value. Unless you have the math to support a new social media presence, you shouldn't move forward. Your analytics department and creative should be separate. This will lead to better decision-making using objective data.

How Often Should You Revisit Your Strategy?

The social space is constantly changing and what works also changes all the time. The algorithms are powered by human behavior and changes in trends have the potential to affect your efficiency. Facebook tweaks its algorithm every single week so it's expected that you'll have to play some defense, so to speak. Revisiting your social media playbook and adjusting to the current status quo is important for keeping you in the game.

Jay suggests a shallow analysis every 90 days and a deeper dive twice a year. You don't need to change your overall strategy that often but you should also avoid a set it and forget it mentality. Champions remain at the top by evolving with the game. Conducting regular analysis will ensure your content takes advantage of the current algorithm trends.

Changing Strategy After Evaluation

Jay works with a major higher education institution that runs a Facebook campaign geared toward alumni. This university had a social strategy driven by a small number of topics that alumni are disproportionately interested in. Their initial strategy was to put out quality content twice per week.

Facebook made changes to its algorithm which caused the university's strategy to become less effective. After a shallow analysis, it was decided to change the content format, something that paid off in the posts they published without links. This worked for a while. After a deep dive, it was determined that the algorithm had changed sufficiently to require a change in strategy.

It was then decided to focus on throwback, nostalgic content. This causes high engagement which is followed by a second, more factual post. The second post benefits from the popularity of the first, emotional post.

From the university's analysis, consistent engagement is a marker for alumni donations. Thus, the institution's focus remains on campaigns that create engagement.

Follow Jay Baer

To follow Jay's work, head over to theBaerFacts.com to sign up for his newsletter. Jay offers valuable knowledge through his own life stories. Jay's statistics-driven approach blends well with his ability to impart knowledge through his life experience.