If a friend confided that their relationship wasn’t fulfilling them anymore would you suggest they carry on regardless? I doubt it. It’s far more likely you’d recommend a period of reflection, throw in some ideas for positive change, or even tentatively suggest a break up.
Now imagine that the relationship we’re talking about isn’t personal, but instead refers to your firm’s relationship with social media.
This was the case for one business owner we recently talked to: “Dysfunctional. That’s the only word for the role of social media in my business. I’d get rid of the lot if I could, but I can’t. We’re expected to be there…right?”.
It’s a confession we hear a lot and reflects the thinking of many small and medium sized businesses. If you feel the same way, you’re not alone.
Shift the Status Quo
Brands’ flawed social media relationships have been an industry hot topic for a while now. With many openly admitting there are social media platforms they wish (or are planning) to ditch.
It’s certainly fair to say that for most businesses the relationship they have with social media is love-hate, at best.
But why is this?
Let’s take one example. Facebook. As the biggest platform it has more than 2.4 billion active users (and continues to grow by 8% year on year). But these active users are drawn from a weird audience assortment, as the social platform attempts to be all things to all people.
Possibly the worst-case scenario when we consider that specific, tailored content engages an audience, and broad-brush content does not.
Not only that, but most business owners value phone calls and messages with their network and customers rather than Facebook messages and posts and see more tangible results investing time and budget through other channels.
“If I’m unlikely to see results on Facebook, if my audience isn’t there and isn’t engaging, why would I use it?” asked John Hammond, MD of JMH Technology, a fast-growing electronic security business.
It’s true Facebook provides quality when it comes to groups (a great way for businesses to engage with their audience is by creating a Facebook Group for customers) but if your firm’s page is purely about content distribution and keeping up appearances, then it might be time to reassess the value it’s delivering.
Thinking about a Break Up?
Social media is one tool in a growing arsenal of communications tactics available to your business. As a business owner you should constantly reflect on how much time, energy and budget is being spent and whether something else would be more efficient or successful in the long run.
Thinking about a break up with LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat or Twitter? Ask yourself these five questions:
- Is the platform contributing anymore?
- Was it ever?
- Does it enable you to build positive client relationships?
- Is your audience active on the platform?
- Does your target audience want to see you, and engage with you there?
Keep up the Relationship
While it can be cathartic to imagine ditching social media, we’d not advise a knee jerk decision. Auditing, and considering the social media relationships you have should not be the first step in a reckless divorce. It’s more like business therapy.
That’s because marketing is about staying front of mind. This means that your business needs to be wherever your audience is and communicate in a way that’s right for the social platform.
We encourage clients to remove their personal view of social media and to redefine their social media relationships. Starting with a strategy that establishes which social media platforms are worth investment, and which are not.
Not a go ahead to ditch social media for good, but a positive way to ensure there’s a lot less ‘hate’ in your ‘love / hate’ social media relationship.
Connect with Jill Willis via LinkedIn