Social media marketing has been on the minds of marketers since the rise of Facebook and Twitter more than a decade ago, but its most stubborn opponents still view it with the same resentment, and the same argument: it’s not a profitable strategy.
To their credit, social media marketing isn’t a money-making miracle machine. Accumulating 10,000 followers might seem cool, and make you feel like you’ve gotten an edge over the competition, but if those 10,000 followers don’t buy your products, what are they actually worth?
Let’s explore what, exactly, a social media strategy needs to become profitable.
1. Reasonable expenditure.
Some people start a social media campaign because they see it as a “free” strategy. It doesn’t cost anything to create a page for your company, nor does it cost anything to make a post (unless you decide to boost or promote it). But if you want to see significant results, you can’t treat it like a free strategy; you need to be prepared to invest in it, whether that’s in the form of paid ads, talent to join your team, or raw time to invest in your efforts.
You also can’t start just posting blindly to social media and expect prospective followers to like what you’re posting. Before you get started, you should have a formally documented strategy that dictates your goals, your target audience, and how you plan to grow over time. This document will guide your decisions, help you recruit new people to your team, and give you a template you can improve upon over time.
Profitable social media strategies are consistent. If you treat social media as a novelty, you might post with heavy volume one week, but post nothing the next week, and your activity could change drastically from day to day. Followers want to know what they can expect from you, so if you go through these rapid changes in volume, you’ll alienate the very people you’re trying to attract.
Some social media accounts can get by with posting once a week to keep their followers happy, but if you want to strike a profit, you need to be more active than that. Depending on the platform you’re using, you should be posting at least multiple times daily, and engaging with your followers on a nearly constant basis.
Social media is a platform for exchanging value; if you want your customers to buy from you, or even give you a “like” or a comment, you need to give them some value in exchange. That value can come in many different forms; for example, you can take “value” literally and give them discounts or special deals, or you could provide them with value in the form of practical or entertaining content.
Jayson DeMers @jaysondemers