For new businesses, reaching customers is neigh impossible when we’re all so socially distant. The silver lining for businesses though, is that this no-good pandemic hits us in an era where social media exists. It’s only about to get much bigger.
It’s a bandwagon. One that you must carefully consider before jumping on: Do you really need it? And if so, can you actually do it well? Otherwise, it’s just going to be money down the drain. Here’s 3 reasons why you might in fact be better off without social media.
Phantom Audience: Error 404 Audience Not Found
Before rushing to create accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, think about who your real audience is. For instance, the trend-setting crowd of Instagram or TikTok are probably going to frown upon any account insta-storying Industrial Surface-Mount Technology (SMT) clipboards like it’s cool (but if you could, that would actually be really awesome). This is a serious case of mismatch between the app users and your target audience. In other words, money down the drain.
Find out if your audience are business professionals or just average everyday consumers? How old are they? What apps do they use? How tech-savvy are they? What kind of content do they like to see? Where do they like to make their purchases? Through online platforms or physical stores? How do they respond to ads? Do they respond better to text or visuals?
We should aim to understand our target audience before we even attempt to market anything. The key is finding out what their online habits are and using the appropriate app to reach out.
Instagram or LinkedIn?!
There’s a reason why there are so many different social media platforms. They cater to different markets, and that helps you decide where you should be! If you’re a B2B brand, Facebook and LinkedIn might be a better fit for you as the users are on the older side as compared to Instagram. LinkedIn users are business professionals too, making it the perfect place to do some marketing without wasting reach on everyday consumers.
If you’re selling everyday consumer goods, be it nail polish or handbags, Instagram is the way to go. It’s a lifestyle-focused platform for you to showcase your products in an aesthetically pleasing way. The better your posts, or feed is, the more attention you get.
And if you can’t reach your target audience either way, maybe you’re selling reading glasses for the elderly, you can always turn to the tried and tested methods of TV and newspaper ads. Afterall, old is gold.
Accounts That No One Wants To Follow: Businesses That Just Aren’t Sexy
Let’s face it, some industries are just not sexy. But that’s okay! The problem comes when we try too hard without thought. Social media is all about the the visuals, and unless you’re prepared to make your goods look good, you might end up with an ugly page and hurt your business more. So always check your capabilities against your options, and don’t bite off more than you can chew.
You’ve Got To Work It!
Spicing up the dull can reap incredible benefits if you are prepared to get creative. Look at your business and craft a new narrative, or approach your business from a different perspective. A good place to start is to think about what your business is up to in the grander scheme of things—what causes are you supporting? How does your business help the world? Why do you love what you do? These make you far more relatable to a general audience, and people will recognise your never-heard-of products to be part of a much sexier cause.
Take a look at Who Gives A Crap. They sell toilet paper. Mmm, sexy.
To get past that, they regularly post about their partnerships with other organisations that bring clean water and sanitation to millions around the world. They also start conversations about important issues such as reducing single-use plastic usage and recycling with their audience. To the world, they are no longer just a maker of toilet paper rolls. They are now championing sustainable sanitisation, and look good doing it too.
This is one way you can use social media if you find yourself in one of those unsexy industries (sorry!). Think inwards, add some creativity, and steer away from simply pushing your products.
The Struggle of Being YOU: Breaking Through the Social Media Chatter (and Noise)
Social media is extremely oversaturated. Don’t believe me? Think of any 10 brands right now and they probably have accounts on one or more apps. The question then is: how do you break into this space and if this is even the right choice for you?
Think About Why You’re Here
It starts with finding your unique identity. In such a crowded space, finding a spot for yourself and the people that are willing to listen can be an uphill battle. First and foremost you should have a purpose for going on social media. Other than pushing your products, think about what else you want to achieve. Do you want to build a movement? Do you want to change the way people think about your product or industry? Do you want to connect with your audience? A true and sincere goal is akin to a lighthouse guiding you through this tough journey.
And by unique, I mean staying true to yourself and being sincere. What quality do you have that other brands lack? Perhaps you’re down-to-earth, funny or quirky? Let your innate qualities shine through and the audience will do the rest. That’s how you develop your unique brand personality and attract like-minded people. It’s a process that can’t be rushed. With your goal in mind, social media is just a process that requires trial and error to find out what really works for you and what your audience likes to see.
Try Hards Are Annoying Than Attractive
But of course, don’t try too hard to break the mould. Too many avant-garde ideas could potentially result in a forced and messy feed. By trying to get a piece of every pie, you’ll leave your audience confused too. Who can tell what you are and why you’re here with so many ideas bouncing around? You’ll come off as insincere and phony too. There’s nothing people hate more than try hards on social media. So, as a rule of thumb, it’s good to be creative, but only within your means.
On the flip side, if you intend to do what everyone else is doing, you aren’t exactly providing any extra value that they can’t get elsewhere. So why would anyone pay attention to you? And once again, it’s money down the drain. — Celeste: is this part still relevant? Doesn’t seem to fit anywhere.
Keep It Real
The last issue will be striking a balance between real and curated. Some brands struggle with this and end up with a feed that feels too curated and manufactured. It almost takes the fun out of social media! I don’t know about you but the best part of social media is the viral memes that we can all enjoy. Don’t be afraid to throw in a twist and do something out of character once in a while. Be spontaneous! Jump onto whatever viral meme that’s making the rounds now (within reason of course, don’t forget everything else you’ve read so far)! I’m sure your audience will enjoy the occasional chuckle. Afterall, you’re not a wooden block and neither are your customers.
Do Your Best Within Your Means. Love It All The Way. Don’t Regret.
At the end of the day, there are 2 things to consider, what you need and what you can do. Social media might seem like the most natural step you should take but it could cost you more than you know. Don’t rush to jump on the bandwagon just because everyone is doing it. If it were really that easy to boost your business there would be a lot more millionaires right now. FOMO doesn’t help much either, FOMO isn’t what brings businesses to new heights. Time, effort and commitment to your brand does.