Social media – the ruler of the internet. It was 12 years ago that Mark Zuckerberg first created ‘The Facebook’, likely not knowing just how big it was going to be. Today, you can’t go anywhere without seeing Facebook, Twitter and Instagram buttons. The internet as we know it today is run by social media.
But just how important is social media for marketers?
A lot of people have the thought process of social media just being a tool to share likes, interests and photos within your social circle. Sure, that’s a big part of it, but as a marketer why should you care about that? As a millennial, I’m here to tell you exactly why your business NEEDS social media.
First off, let me introduce myself. My name is Matt Bouwmeester, I’m 22 years old and I’ve recently just finished my advanced diploma for Advertising and Marketing Communications Management at St. Clair College. Most recently, I’ve started my internship here at Web Geeks Marketing. Now, let’s focus on the age for a second. I’m 22 years old, meaning I grew up with social media as it rose to its prominence. I’m a millennial, which means I work, live and breathe social media. Using social media for over half my life has allowed me to learn a thing or two about what makes it tick, and how it can be properly utilized. Now, I’m going to help your business successfully use social media, in order to generate awareness and profit for your brand.
Over 75% of internet users have social media accounts. That’s a staggering number when you think about the fact that there are 3.174 billion internet users worldwide. As a business, this should be extremely important to you. To go more in depth 71% have Facebook, 23% have Twitter, 26% use Instagram, 28% use Pintrest and lastly 28% have a LinkedIn. But you run a business, you know these statistics off by heart. I’m not here to bore you with more numbers, I’m here to tell you why knowing how to utilize social media is most important.
The fact is, social media is an extension of who you are. It’s like high school all over again, complete with judgemental and mean people who are going to judge every status and every article you post. Therefore, you must establish what you want your brand’s personality to be before entering the social realm. Once you choose this, stick with it. Nothing is worse than following a brand who cracks you up with hilarious posts one day, then depresses you with sad articles the next. People see right through fakes on social media, so make sure that your personality doesn’t come across as fake or contradicting to what you do as a business.
Whatever you do, do not be boring. Nothing can hurt your brand more than boring your audience to death. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be eccentric in everything you post, but if you’re a charity – pull at people’s heart strings. If you’re in the food industry – make people hungry with imagery. Just don’t post statuses such as, “Come to Mom’s Pie Shop. We open at 7.” These are boring, and uncreative. Social media is like a boxing ring, and brands are duking it out to make the best content they can to capture the attention of their audience. Being boring is not an option.
The Golden Ratio
This is something that’s so simple, yet so important in regards to success with social media. The Golden Ratio dictates the type of content you should be posting, and how often. It’s referred to as the 30/60/10 rule. Let me break it down for you:
30% Owned – Owned content is content that YOU created. For example, this content would include your blogs, videos and photos that are all original content made by you or for you. This keeps you in touch with your clients by giving them original content, but at the same time doesn’t flood their newsfeed. This is important because you need just the right amount of owned content. Any less and you’ll lose relevance. Anymore and you become annoying and seen as that one friend who doesn’t stop talking about him/herself all day. By keeping owned content at 30% you’re keeping it just right.
Here’s an example of owned content:
60% Curated – Curated content is content made by other people. These usually come in the form of links or retweets. “But Matt! I’m trying to advertise my business here, why am I focusing on other brands?!” Don’t worry my concerned reader friend, I’m not saying you should be blindly retweeting every article or video you see. When posting curated content, it’s important that you put your input on it as well. So for example, if you’re doing social media for your car dealership, you might want to post an article about the brand new Tesla that’s basically a spaceship. With that article you’ll want to post a status with it such as, “Why fly in a space shuttle if you can just buy a Tesla?”
The reason why the curated content percentage is so high is because it makes people want to keep following your brand. If all you did was post about yourself, users would lose interest extremely fast. By posting articles that are relevant to your business, but not about your business, your clients – who will likely have that same interest – are going to find your brand relevant.
Here’s an example of curated content:
10% Promotional Content – We have now arrived at our final destination of the golden ratio: promotional content. So what exactly is promotional content? Promotional content is your business’ call-to-action. This is where you sell your business.
“Why only 10%? Isn’t the point of making my business a social media account to sell my product?”
Well think of it this way – have you ever been to an electronic store where you have that really needy employee won’t stop bugging you to buy that computer monitor, all because he saw you look in that general direction? That’s what a social media account that won’t stop trying to sell their product is like. If a brand posts too much trying to sell their product, they become needy and annoying. If anything, it makes people NOT want to buy the product. This is especially true for millennials. We have extremely low attention spans and don’t have time to be bothered by a brand that keeps pestering us to buy its products. By only using promotional content once in a while, it becomes a gentle reminder that you are offering something that is of use to your followers. They don’t need to be hounded, since if they’re already following the brand, it obviously offers something of interest to them.
Here’s an example of promotional content:
While the idea of the golden ratio is simple, it can be difficult to follow. As a brand, you’re going to feel that itch for self-promotion all the time. It’s only natural. However, for your brands benefit, following the 30/60/10 ratio is the best way to success.
So now that we’ve talked about brand personality and following the golden ratio for social media, it’s time to talk about trends and how to utilize them. As a millennial, I’m very inclined to follow what’s trending. From fashion to technology, I like to keep up with the latest and greatest. As a brand, the best way to stay relevant is to keep up with social trends. It’s just like real life – if you want people to notice you, you have to stay trendy.
Just like in high school, trends can change weekly. What’s popular right now may be forgotten by next week. Remember that dress that no one could tell was obviously gold and white?
Yeah that was all the rage for about three days. Now if you mention it to someone they’d say, “Huh? Oh yeah, I forgot about that.” But for a few short days it was all the internet rage, and brands were jumping on board.
As a brand, this is something you need to be aware of, and utilize it properly. If something’s gone viral, find a way to implement it to your campaign. While that viral thing is trending, people are going to see your brand if you’ve implemented it creatively. However, these aren’t the only trends that your brand has to be aware of.
You also must be aware of how brands are sending out their messages via social media. Gone are the days where statuses are the only method for getting your message across. Brands utilize pictures, videos and games to advertise themselves on social media. What’s trending right now? Live video.
Now you can literally interact with your audience in real time. This is effective because it makes the audience feel like they’re a part of something, as if they’re right there with you. Think of it as seeing a band you like in concert. Yeah hearing them on your iPod is great, but when you see Slash perform that guitar solo in person, you feel a connection with what’s happening live in front of you. As a brand, this is something you’d want to jump on while it’s still fresh, because in a few weeks it might already get stale.
To Sum Up…
As a millennial, my life revolves around social media. To be honest, I think I might spend more time looking at my phone than not in a day. Social media has evolved from a site where people at Harvard could connect, to a full blown world globalized society. As a business, it is literally the most important marketing tool at your disposal, and it WILL benefit your business if utilized properly.