Social Media for Business: Setting the Record Straight
by Rachel Strella
17 Apr 2016
I was recently interviewed as part of an expert series for mediashower, in which I was asked several intriguing questions about my experience as a social media manager. I would like to share some of those questions – and my responses – with you, in hopes it will shed light on the ever-changing social media industry.
What are the biggest lessons you’ve had to learn as a social media manager?
The biggest lesson, by far, is learning how to manage client expectations. There is a lot of misinformation about what social media can do for a business – and it’s often compared to advertising (and even called ‘advertising’ by some of our clients). Social media marketing is relationship marketing; it was founded to establish or enhance relationships.
There is a lot of education involved in this industry and even those who say they understand social media’s role in the marketing pie, are still quick to pull the plug when faced with financial constraints.
Why is creating a strategy so important for success on social media?
A business must have a social media strategy in place in order to actualize results. What are we measuring if there are no concrete social media goals or methodology for reaching them? When we work with clients for the first time, we first establish clear social media goals. Then, it’s mandatory that we create a social media strategy that serves as our roadmap for managing their efforts.
What do you think is one of the most common misconceptions business owners have about using social media?
I see a lot of businesses fall into one of two categories.
-They believe it’s something they can just ‘do’ meaning they can delegate to the intern and check the box that they are using social media. It’s really not that simple. Like with anything, they have to know WHY they are doing it and what they hope to achieve with their social media marketing efforts.
-They think it will generate immediate revenue. While meeting marketing goals are a precursor to generating sales, a business can’t rely on social media marketing alone. The actions generated by social media only fill the upper tiers of the sales funnel. This is what makes ROI so difficult to measure in social media marketing.
What advice do you find yourself repeating over and over again?
Be human. It’s important to humanize their business. Taking the human approach is successful for the simple reason that relationships are built on trust.
Integration is vital. Bridging the gap with social and operations as well as outside marketing can really help move the needle. Relying on social media alone, especially for small businesses, is a risky venture. The more a business can synergize, the better chance it has for achieving favorable results.
Stop with the shiny object syndrome! There are always new sites and tools to employ. And it’s like clockwork, that at least one of my clients will want them. Whether it’s Periscope, Snapchat, or the WhatsApp… if someone heard about it, they want it for their business. I believe they think they will be ahead of the curve, but really they need to understand if it’s something of value to their target audience.