Social media is a vital component of any business's marketing machine – from the global giants to the neighborhood corner store. We're well used to videos going viral – the latest hero is Rahim Mohamed, whose TikToks showing him making sandwiches 'Ocky Style' have turned his Brooklyn bodega into a tourist mecca. However, it's far more important to build up a community within your community. Social media doesn't make or break a business – KFC Germany hasn't quite been canceled in the wake of encouraging their customers to celebrate Krystallnacht, although they're having to eat a lot of humble chicken pot pie - but it can be a valuable tool for market research and qualitative insights as well as sales. If your socials are stagnating or your followers are falling off, it's time to examine strategy. Let's take a look at five common challenges.
Using the wrong platform
Social media stands still for no one, and a scattergun approach is both bad targeting and time-consuming. 77% of Canadians have a Facebook account; however, younger users either abandon the platform or ignore it entirely. If your customer demographic is Gen Z, Snapchat is their favorite. If you're a niche operator, Reddit can be effective - 20% of Canadians say they have an account, and almost all say it's their most used social - however site rules that only one out of every 10 posts can be about your business mean you'd have to become an active part of your angle's community to be seen as a trustworthy voice. There's little point in having social accounts you can't commit to; hone your offering according to your time resource.
Content isn't tailored for your market
YouTube is the second most popular social media in Canada, with 62% of online adults using the platform. However, the big boys moved in a long time ago, so advertising on YouTube will be an expensive endeavor. 41% of Canadians 16-64 who use it do so to watch tutorials and how-to videos, while 17% regularly view vlogs. An ad for a restaurant will be put in front of many eyes; however, it will, in all likelihood, fall victim to the 'Skip Ad' button long before it's had a chance to showcase the place to them. A cooking demo or a chef vlog? That gets viewers invested in your eatery. While TikTok now lets users publish videos of up to 10 minutes, its users run younger and almost exclusively watch content on a phone rather than sitting at a PC, making it a better host for blipverts.
Not enough content
Once your content is tailored, you will have to make sure you're putting enough out to keep getting followers. The volume of posts you should make does vary from platform to platform; Facebook and Instagram, for example, should be around two posts per day. However, for a platform that's a little more fluid, such as Twitter, the recommended number of posts shoots up to 15. These are not hard and fast numbers; you may see engagement if you don't meet them, especially once you have a strong core following. Of course, there's the fear of going the other way and posting too much - if you're clogging up people's timelines with similar posts all of the time, you may find engagement dropping.
Lack of engagement on your part
Of course, you're not the only business on social media; likely, all of your competitors are also. How do we amplify a voice and gain a bigger share of viewers' attention? Firstly, engage, don't broadcast. When someone takes the time to comment on a post, reply. If they share it, like the share on their page. Get smart about what to post and when to post it. Research what hashtags are trending and what hashtags your followers are using and may latch on to. Forbes reports that only 64% of businesses collect data from their customer's socials - that's invaluable - and free knowledge you can use to cultivate content. Research shows that even while working locations and patterns have changed in the last few years, the best times to post are still weekday mornings, with Saturday being a dead-air day. So while it's a crowded field, there are some easy steps you can take to separate from the pack.
Online branding runs way past having your logo as a header on your socials or making sure your business name is visible in pictures or video. An article by LHH explains the importance of online branding for individuals and the same rules apply to businesses. A 2020 survey revealed 79% of employers polled have rejected candidates based on social media content. Customers will conduct their own audits and do likewise. Don't try to be all things to everyone; you'll only trip yourself up. Instead, view your business's online presence as a venue for your business's core values. Our article titled ‘Why You're Struggling with Consistency’ explains how being consistent is a key approach in not only social media output but life in general. Be sure what you're trying to be consistent with. As the generations grow up ever more online, it's easy to deduce who's being authentic and who's jumping on a bandwagon. Social media is a great democratizer. It's helped turn micro businesses into small businesses into bigger businesses without the huge capital outlays of traditional marketing. Making it work for you is making it work with your tribe.