Social Media marketing is growing in popularity at exponential rates. Everyone from international corporations to the local corner store is trying to figure out how they can get in on the tremendous potential for inexpensive advertising. But too often, businesses jump into the social media world with a plan to accrue followers and increase engagement, without the more foundational understanding of purpose.
A company can create a fabulous plan that generates thousands of followers across social media platforms and constant conversation, but if that plan doesn’t clearly connect to the purpose they have for social media, the plan is flawed.
For many businesses, the purpose behind social media engagement is largely lead generation. Occasionally, a business will have the exclusive purpose of brand awareness. And occasionally, they are hoping to be noticed by certain other companies, brands, or advertising markets. Usually, however, businesses are hoping for engaged people to convert to customers.
For those interested in generating leads, social media is one more way to advertise and market their product to potential customers. A Florida-based flower company has no interest in gaining followers from Minnesota and Wisconsin. They won’t turn them away, but their interaction on social media should not target these people. And a child’s clothing company shouldn’t generally be interested in interacting with fine dining restaurants. Their social media presence should interact with parents and places for young children.
But if companies aren’t careful to keep their purpose central to social media engagement, falling into the engagement trap is a real possibility. The flower company seeing their numbers grow from the folks up north might be tempted to focus more time and energy on growing numbers and engagement among those people, rather than among the potential client base closer to home. The clothing company might be energized by the attention from the restaurants, and use their social media to engage with those establishments rather than seek out interactions with parents.
We can easily fall into the same traps, which is why clarifying the purpose of our social media engagement is so vital to good business planning. We need to know exactly what our reasons are for being on social media. We need to know exactly what we hope to accomplish. We need to know exactly who we hope to reach. We need to know exactly what we hope these people will do. It isn’t until we have the answers to all of these questions that our social media plans can truly be effective in building our businesses and turning followers into customers.