Social media: Don’t do it until you’ve answered these 3 questions

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By Chris Manley, CEO, Engenius

The past few years it’s been hard to avoid the hype around social media. Every business feels like it needs a profile on every social media platform, from Facebook to Snapchat to Instagram to YouTube. Why? Because we keep reading in the pages of business magazines and on blogs from “highly authoritative” sources that we should do it. Well, here’s my advice: Don’t do it.

This is your free pass. If you’re a marketing director and your boss keeps telling you to “do” social media, hand him this column. For years I’ve heard the hype and seen countless businesses hire interns to set up every type of social account possible, and now I see a lot of stale social accounts posting the same bland content.

It’s time for us all to rethink social media, starting with asking ourselves why. Why “do” social? Why create a Facebook account? Are you succumbing to peer pressure because other businesses have already done it? Being bullied into doing something is a terrible reason to start.

No matter what your reasons, absolutely, positively, confidently, don’t do social media until you’ve answered these questions:

  1. Who is your audience?
    The first question has nothing to do with social media. It’s an age-old marketing question: Who are your buyers? To whom are you selling? Who is your market? Is your audience 18-24-year-olds? Is it baby boomers nearing retirement?
  2. Where is that audience already hanging out?
    If your target is 18-24, Facebook isn’t your platform. Likewise, if it’s baby boomers, Facebook might be the best place to be. (Think of all those near-retirees who keep up with their grandkids through Facebook and Instagram pics — you might be one of them!)
  3. What are people doing on social media?
    Quick answer: not working. If you’re B2B, marketing on social media is a totally different animal than marketing through LinkedIn or your local business magazine (like this one!), where the audience is focused on business. When people are scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, they’re likely trying to escape work. Think about the mindset people have while crafting your messaging on social. Many businesses use it to build a “feel good” spirit to their brand — not to push specific products and services.

These are the first three of many questions you should be asking before engaging with social media. Be smart about social. It can be a valuable tool for building your brand and increasing brand attachment. But if you’re not asking these questions and just following the crowd, do yourself a favor and just don’t do it.

Chris Manley is the CEO of Engenius, a marketing firm specializing in helping businesses navigate digital marketing through strategic web design, search optimization, and digital advertising. You can contact him at chris@engeniusweb.com or by visiting www.engeniusweb.com.

 

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