Here’s how to make sure you make the most of your time and money.
6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
A recent Pew Research Center study revealed that social media had overtaken print newspapers in the U.S. as a primary source where Americans go to consume news.
However, for as much user-data as there is on the internet related to social media consumption, the fact remains that today’s consumer doesn’t want to be sold to via their iPhone screen on Facebook any more than they enjoy watching a commercial on their television.
As social media has evolved, consumers have evolved as well. Social networks today are much different than what they were ten years ago – they’re publicly traded corporations, which are in business to monetize its user data.
Therefore, to have a chance at winning through social media marketing, you need to understand the rules and play within the boundaries of each social network. For example:
- If you experience declining organic reach, spend money on ads.
- If your customers are tuning out every post about your latest sale, stop selling and start engaging them.
- If you do not see a return on your efforts, reassess and analyze the value that social network brings to your organization.
In recent years, Snapchat was a social network whereby many marketers – myself included – spent a lot of time building up communities, only to have no choice but to pivot over to Instagram and ride the momentum wave. It happens.
Social media isn’t free, and it’s not new anymore. It’s a business, and for yours to thrive, you need to find ways to stand out in the coming year.
Sell less, do more.
In the video above, I share five tips to get the most out of social media in 2019, and if you watch until the end, I share a sixth bonus tip.
Related: How to Become a World Class Speaker
If social media is a focus for your business in the coming year, below is a breakdown of what you need to do to dominate:
1. Facebook ads
Social media is a pay-to-play game, meaning you have to spend money to see a return. Earlier in 2018, Facebook made it public knowledge that content posted from brand pages is not prioritized by the algorithm. In other words, if you’re a business and want to ensure that your content is seen, you need to pay for the reach. Less than 1 percent of existing brand page fans will ever see your content.
To maximize your return on Facebook ads, you should set a monthly budget, have a clear objective (i.e., bid for engagement and conversions vs. views or impressions) and run targeted ads. This will help you reach your ideal customer based on demographic, location, and interest-based data.
2. Instagram and Twitter search
In a previous article, “How to Use Instagram for Lead Generation,” I shared how you can maximize your social media reach by running searches for places and people to find your next customer. To go one step further, set up saved searches on Twitter as well around the people and topics that you want to sell to. If you’re in business-to-business, tap into LinkedIn to identify who it is that you’re trying to get in front of — to sell to — and then head over to Twitter and group your prospects into a curated list. On occasion, “like” the content posted from your prospects and engage with them back. If you’re business-to-consumer, create saved search results around the events or topics that your target customer is speaking about to give your community manager(s) a curated list to engage from.
3. Third-party sites
One of the biggest mistakes that brands and companies make on social media is pushing users away from the site they’re currently on (i.e. Facebook) to get them to a website. If you’re using social media to drive website traffic, you need to pay for it. Otherwise, leveraging existing platforms such as Medium.com or LinkedIn to blog from your profile, or even Facebook Notes, can drive greater organic reach (for free) than by linking to your latest blog post on your business page. My advice is to tap into the organic reach that a more traditional platform gives you to create free brand awareness.
4. Private groups
As social media continues to become overly saturated with content from brands and people, we will continue to see a rise in private groups such as Social Media Masterminds on Facebook and other exclusive, members-only communities similar to forums in the ’90s and early 2000s. Unless your day-to-day job involves social media, the average consumer is passively using it to get news updates and engage with their friends which is why your brand should consider creating a private group or community for your most engaged “super fans.” By creating a private group, you can now tap into a smaller yet highly engaged community of fans which creates a sense of value to them. In the video above I share a real-life example of how you can create a group for fans and consumers of your industry or product.
5. Maximize established social networks.
Throughout 2018, due to algorithm changes and Cambridge Analytica, marketers debated if Facebook would cease to exist — while debating on Facebook itself. Along the way, new social networks such brought a new sense of excitement and thrill to be one of the first. While rolling the dice and landing on the next Facebook can be rewarding, it can also be a waste of time. Businesses do not have 12 to 18 months to wait for the rest of the general population to catch up to a new social network. If you want to win right now, you need to take chances on the platforms where you can get the most significant return on investment possible, period.