The debate rages on locally about whether or not social media works for businesses trying to increase the reach of their marketing. Here are a few things I keep hearing and my thoughts to each.
Disclaimer: This may be a salty rant and you may not like what I say.
"We’re having trouble reaching the younger demographic."
I usually hear this from folks who love advertising on radio and television as well as in print. Here’s the thing: I know at one time those three avenues of advertising were your best and/or only option(s). At this point, if you are trying to reach anyone under 40 and you’re spending money on cable television, radio or print ads, chances are your ROI will be minimal.
Most people under 40 (and definitely people under 30) do not watch cable as they use streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Video. Filming TV commercials and paying to have them broadcast is an expensive process, especially considering the audience you want to reach will end up watching them on either YouTube or Facebook. Why not just shoot the same video and plaster it all over social media? You get to see how many people actually viewed it, shared it, etc., e.g. Trackable Metrics! And if you have tools like Google Analytics on your side, we can dive even deeper into the metrics.
The audio space for advertising is split up between Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, Podcasts, Audiobooks, satellite radio and the other 50 radio stations on AM and FM. So how impactful can radio really be in your marketing efforts? And don’t get me started on how radio stations do their research for listenership because every time someone explains it to me it sounds like pure fiction. By the way, did I mention trackable metrics? Not for radio, I didn’t.
Print. Who actually reads newspapers anymore? (In a non-digital way, that is and I mean people under 35— Hell, even under 50?) Newspaper circulation vastly decreased while digital consumption of news grew exponentially. There were even fake news sites influencing voters during the last election! It’s all digested digitally, so if you are going to spend money on ads with a news outlet, then make sure it is digital.
“All of our business comes from word-of-mouth.”
This is going to sound crazy, but if you do not do anything other than wait for referrals to come in. how could you possibly get business any other way? Seriously, I have people who never touched social media tell me this and I am left to wonder how they could get positive results from something that never happened. If you want new business from other sources, then you need to do things other than word-of-mouth. I know it sounds crazy, but what can I say — I’m a madman.
I understand you are getting new business from word-of-mouth, but is it enough? We get referrals all the time, but we want more than just a few things trickling in here and there because how much our clients love us. If you want more you have to do more!
If you are not really trying to grow, then yes, you are correct: you do not need anything other than word-of-mouth business, and therefore, all marketing would be a waste. Keep doing what you are doing and keep getting the results you have been getting.
“We did ‘The Facebook’ once and it did not work.”This one kills me every time. It reminds me of when I was 18 and I tried to change my brakes by myself and was unsuccessful. Instead of giving up and saying, “They just can’t be fixed,” I hired a qualified mechanic who actually knew what he was doing and fixed them in a jiff! My point is to hire someone who actually understands not only social media but marketing as a whole. I don’t mean hire a millennial just because they are a millennial. I mean hire a person or a company that understands marketing theory and — in practice — understands the different social channels and how they work. Age and gender should have nothing to do with it.
One of the keys to marketing is consistency. You cannot do something once and expect it to work. Don’t get me wrong: In some cases, this does happen, but it will be a consistent effort over time. You need to give a good marketing effort for months to gain momentum and start to pay dividends.
Just doing “The Facebook” is not the place to start. Begin with your demographic. Who are they? (Age, gender, income, geographic location, interests — the list goes on.) Once you dial that in, you can research which marketing channel is the best. It may be Facebook or it may be something else. Once you establish which channels, you can work on a specific strategy for each. Create content they want to see and a way to capture them for sales or retargeting.
I am not sure if I said anything here that will help you. What I hope I accomplished is pointing out your best bet is to engage with a professional, or do a lot more research before you decide “The Facebook” is not for you.