At Orbital Media, we spend a lot of time on social media. It’s part of our job, and we really enjoy doing it. But we often hear that some business owners consider social media more of a ‘time suck’, something that takes up a lot of time and doesn’t yield any results. In some cases, this can be true – but certainly not in all.
The real reason your social media activity might feel like a ‘time suck’ is that you’re approaching it in the wrong way. You could be a broadcaster, doing nothing but sending the same messages out and seeing no response. Or you could be spending so much time engaging that you don’t have time for anything else.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. With just a few tweaks, you could make the most of your social media and start engaging in a meaningful (and time-effective) way. So in our second instalment of 2019 social media resolutions, we’re going to talk about how you can stop your bad social media habits, and start seeing real results.
Imagine you’re going to a party. You don’t know a lot of people there, and so you decide to start up a conversation with someone you’ve met once or twice before – a casual acquaintance. You ask them something simple and non-committal, like ‘how are you?’.
And rather than responding with the usual ‘fine thanks, how are you?’ or a variation of it, they launch into an in-depth explanation of every moment of their life since you saw them last. It almost seems like they don’t even pause to draw breath or let you be involved in the conversation.
That is a human being in broadcast mode, and it’s infuriating to listen to. Yet it’s the default mode for businesses as soon as they get on social media. A consistent stream of promotional material, adverts and information about their company, that they expect users to share with the world willingly.
But the problem is, social media doesn’t work that way. And quite rightly, us humans don’t engage that way. Sure, sometimes broadcasting your message is what’s needed to increase awareness, but more often than not you need something more engaging so really see results. Constantly broadcasting your content doesn’t generate any interaction with your audience and will ultimately drive away potential customers.
Of course, it’s possible to go too far towards the other end of the spectrum. Here, you will find brands who are so afraid of being perceived as ‘broadcasting’ that all they do is engage. They chat with their followers and start conversations left right and centre about all sorts of things.
These over-engaging brands are happy to talk about local weather, TV shows, interesting news, or even what people had for lunch. But the problem is, this isn’t very successful on its own either.
All that happens is they are so afraid of taking it further and actually promoting their content, that they don’t mention it, and their relationships with connections stay superficial. This means that their approach doesn’t yield results either, as they aren’t creating real connections with their network, or promoting themselves effectively.
Is One Better Than The Other?
Honestly? No. Taken to the extremes, neither of these approaches work well, and can often do more harm than good. If you broadcast, you will see little to no engagement in your posts, a diminished social following and you may even find that customers are un-following your accounts because they are fed up of being ‘sold to’ all the time.
If you over-engage, you might feel as though you are making connections with a lot of people, but in reality, you are spending a lot of time talking to people on social media without developing a meaningful relationship. Ultimately, all of that time will give you minimal results, if any. But there is a way you can use both approaches to create an impactful social media plan and see effective results.
Get The Blend
While broadcasting and over-engaging don’t work very well on their own, they are an incredibly efficient partnership when used together. It’s a case of engaging in a conversational and personal way in some places, and broadcasting your company and offers in others.
In the midst of all of that, create content that is designed to promote and engage your audience at the same time. Competitions are a great example of this, along with giveaways and polls.
These promote your products and services, entice customers with free goods, and require some level of engagement to qualify. This helps increase awareness and prompts real conversations with your customers at the same time. A few other things you could try to create this blend include:
- Follow people back when they follow you
- Ask meaningful questions about your customers’ needs
- Hold longer conversations with open questions
- Promote yourself through ads
One more thing. There is no magic formula for getting this balance right. It’s a case of trial and error for a lot of businesses, which is why a lot don’t bother. But if you stick with it, give it time, test and measure your approach, you can find the right balance for your brand and your customers.
Yes, it can be time-consuming, but if you’re willing to put in that effort, try new things and test their effectiveness, you’re going to stand out in the market against your competitors, who won’t be.
Make 2019 the time to find that balance, do the testing, try new things and really turn around your social media performance. And if you aren’t sure how to do that, you can always ask us for help! Just get in touch with the team to talk to us today.