We only know what we know. And there is SO MUCH information out there that it would be virtually impossible for one person to know EVERYTHING (despite what some people may tell you). So we ask questions to fill the knowledge gaps. But what if you’re asking the wrong questions?
We have spoken with and worked with so many business owners, department directors, and aspiring business owners over the years and one thing is pretty clear: If you’re asking the wrong questions, you likely won’t have a successful marketing strategy. Also, if you don’t know what questions to ask you either need to find an expert who isn’t just going to take your money and run, or you need to do extra research on your own to fill in the knowledge gaps.
Here are a few questions we’ve gotten when people are looking for marketing help. While it’s good to ask questions, make sure you’re focused on the right things.
Can I get a huge following on social media if I’m not famous or good looking?
Yes, this was a question I encountered. The reality is… Social media is very saturated these days. Unless you’re jumping on a new platform and it doesn’t crash and burn within the first year or so it can be hard to just join social media and get a huge following. There are a few things you can do to grow quickly like purchasing followers and using engagement pods – BUT YOU SHOULD NOT DO THAT. It’s best to grow steady even if it feels slow. You can increase your following through paid ads as well, but you still need to really work at growing.
REALITY CHECK: asking about growing a huge following on social media means you’re looking at vanity metrics. Sure it may appear great if you have a lot of followers, but the real success comes from focusing on engagement with the followers you have and your conversion rate (how many become paying clients). You can have 1 million followers on social media, but if none of them are engaging with your content or buying into what you’re selling… what’s the point? Focus on posting consistently and creating opportunities for dialogue with your followers.
What’s the best social media platform?
No one likes the answer to this question, because it really depends.
REALITY CHECK: The question you should be asking is where does my audience hang out online? The best social media platform is the one where your audience is. For example, if you’re targeting an older crowd, TikTok is likely not for you. There is lots of data out there about what age groups are on each platform – and you can also get a good sense of things by having a peek at what your competitors are doing. Even better? If you have existing customers as them how they want you to communicate with them! You might be surprised. But that kind of feedback can help shape your entire marketing strategy.
Can you just run some ads on social media?
Let me start by saying that I completely believe in paid social media marketing. However, I don’t think that it should exist without an organic strategy. You could just run some ads… then what? What happens when people go to look at your profile and they see no content? Or worse, if they see content that was posted 6 months ago? For me, I question whether the business still actually exists when I see this.
REALITY CHECK: You need to establish yourself on a social platform and create opportunities for dialogue with your organic strategy before running ads (or do it at the same time as part of a bigger growth strategy). The ads are like the toppings to an incredible ice cream Sunday. Get that content strategy in place and regularly interact with other users on the platform. You’ll even find that your social media ads will likely be more successful in converting customers.
Can I have the same content across all platforms?
This is a tricky one because it also depends.
REALITY CHECK: It depends on what your overall goals are for each social media platform you’re on. If you just want to maintain a digital footprint but it’s not a focus, then yes, having the same content is fine. However, if you’re looking to create a meaningful strategy for each platform, you need to build and nurture your audience on each platform. That means creating content specifically for each platform. For example, on Instagram its common to see up to 30 hashtags per post. It looks funny if you see that on Facebook. Also certain platforms like Instagram you can’t share links directly in the post itself, but you can on others. Lastly, if you want to work to grow your audience and engage on each platform, you need to give them a reason to follow you on multiple platforms. If you’re sharing the same content everywhere, they only need to follow you on one platform.
Candace Huntly is the Founder at SongBird Marketing Communications, an award-winning agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in media relations, influencer marketing, organic community engagement, content, and adapting strategies for any sized business – large or small. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making the approach unique to you.
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A version of this article was originally posted to the SongBird Marketing Communications blog.