Social media in its contemporary incarnation is a far different beast than it first seemed in the mid-2000s. That’s thanks to a few key things: the far-reaching consequences of digital mobility combined with ongoing (and generally unpopular) interface and algorithm adjustments.
Marketers once anticipated YouTube would become a dominant player on the social media stage following the rampant 2015 assertion that all digital media was in the grips of a ‘pivot to video’. Time-tested editorial strategies were thrown out the window in favour of film from that point on – but some evidence now suggests the Great Pivot was more design than destiny.
The formerly youthful Facebook of today is now both a pervasive and perfunctory adult habit. Facebooks’ user base is dominated by those aged 25-45 in Australia. Youth have moved away from it in recent years to avoid being on same platform as their parents. Marketing ability there has since stagnated for that age group – because that age group is also quite thoroughly averse to advertising.
Instagram advertising, on the other hand, is far more recent than Facebook. But the rules pertaining to website linking make it a much more effective brand awareness channel than an active lead generator.
Instagram was once separate from Facebook, Facebook once looked like MySpace, and MySpace once surpassed Google as the most visited website in the United States. Now its former vice president of online marketing refers to it as ‘a massive spaghetti-ball mess’.
All of these fluctuations in the last decade add up to one universal marketing truth.
Contrary to popular belief, social media is not a one-size-fits-all-businesses approach. Omnipresence is overkill, and if you don’t have anything to say on a particular platform, you don’t need to say it. A focused and strategised approach to a handful of channels is best practice.
In true Roobix style, our best performers on social media always prioritise a distinguished target audience. Roobix is the primary marketing partner for one of the largest convention centres in WA. Our social media team identified that this client required the correct selection of mediums for both B2B and B2C audiences because of the split nature of their service offering. That consideration lead to the selection of LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
The client attracts significant events in long lead cycles, so LinkedIn was a perfect platform for them to market their services to a target audience who already understood what was being sold. LinkedIn is the best place to promote events, strengthen relationships with other professionals and reach decision-makers quickly. That last one is key – a common barrier to B2B marketing is the inability to reach executives and procurement teams. Plus, commercially minded audiences require proof and LinkedIn is the best place for long-form content like case studies.
On the other hand, the client still required a strong B2C social media strategy because they regularly host significant shows. This second strategy had to function without alienating the B2B audience. That’s why we selected Twitter and Facebook. As a general rule, a business should only use Twitter if they have something to say and they need to say things often. This works particularly well for service professionals and suited our clients as they regularly posted time-sensitive updates like event information.
This is how detailed situational analysis can shape your social media marketing. But it’s also worth noting that using social media is a risk. After all, it’s a highly visible, one-stop interface for all of your public relations. When mismanaged, social media becomes a slippery slope into the dead zone of either brand cheapening or brand tarnishing.
A prominent mattress company demonstrated this when it got political on Twitter last month. When a social media manager cannot appeal to one target audience without alienating the other, they risk profit. This Twitter thread following on from said prominent mattress company’s call-out of shock jock Alan Jones is the proof:
A social media account manager must decide – with serious consideration for established brand tone and position – whether brownie points earned from one group are worth the loss of business from the other.
That’s why modern social media management is a far cry from the old laissez-faire method of posting whatever comes to mind for the sake of it. Social media should be treated as carefully as any other marketing initiative: with well-crafted, acutely tailored content and professional assistance.
Although engagement techniques will continue to ebb and flow with the channels themselves, engaging a strategist is a pretty foolproof way to tackle the beast. Ever wonder how hotshots like Nike or Tiffany & Co are so consistent online? A strategist will painstakingly construct the tone and personality behind your brand and show you how to carry it forward.
Not touching your social media without a strategist present is our professional advice. But we know it’s tempting. The key is to share what resonates with your target audience and not what you believe you have to offer.