Social media is a powerful marketing tool when it’s used to its full potential. But knowing what each platform offers and choosing which will work best for your business can be a bit of a minefield.
SmartCompany and MYOB brought together a panel of experts for a recent webinar, hosted by SmartCompany editor Eloise Keating, to discuss their experiences with different platforms and unpack the various elements of social media marketing.
Sabri Suby, founder and head of growth at digital agency King Kong, discussed the importance of social media authenticity, while MYOB’s head of marketing and digital sales Jane Betschel highlighted the customer journey across all platforms, and Mia Plecic, founder of Slick Hair Co, brought her experience of building a new business to the session.
On-trend or tried and true?
With so many emerging and existing platforms, it can be a bit daunting to determine which might work best for your business – should you try to capitalise on the free organic reach of the latest on-trend platform or pay for marketing on one that has stood the test of time?
Plecic says during the pandemic she chose TikTok to share behind-the-scenes video content, and hasn’t looked back. One of her first posts had more than 3,000,000 views, and drove $35,000 in sales overnight thanks to TikTok’s organic reach.
She now has 2.6 million TikTok likes and 76,700 followers and uses the platform to not only drive sales but funnel customers to her Instagram account, website and email database.
“We’re on most platforms, Instagram is a big one for us. We have a really large audience on Instagram and we share a lot on that platform,” she says. “But I can’t go past TikTok – [it] has been such an incredible tool for our business growth.”
In addition to evaluating platforms that are experiencing fast growth, Suby also looks at those with longevity and a high number of active users. His go-to platform is YouTube, due to its marketing traction over time.
“It works in a very different way to other social media platforms; you produce a piece of content, you put it out there, and it just gains more and more momentum over the months and the years. It’s really an asset that continues to work for you,” he says.
Suby says most platforms inevitably shift to a ‘pay to play’ model, where users have to pay to keep their organic reach at a viable level.
The journey vs the destination
Understanding your customer’s journey and the role of various platforms, apps, sites and tools in that process is vital in shaping a social media marketing plan and delivering a good ROI, Betschel says.
“That’s the magic, that’s what we’re always trying to find out. We call it multi-touch attribution, we try to understand all the different things that are happening [in that journey],” she says.
“It’s so important because otherwise you don’t know where to invest more money.”
Social media is an important tool to help grow your mailing list too, which Suby believes is fundamental to business success.
“The ultimate goal of everything for me is to get people onto my email database,” he says.
“These platforms come and go. I could turn all of my marketing off for six months and not even feel a blip, because I have a monster email [database] that I’ve built a relationship with.”
Authenticity is the key to success
All the panelists believed that being authentic was the key to social media marketing success, and allowing customers to ‘peek behind the curtain’ builds trust and loyalty.
“It’s just about being really genuine and sharing what your story is,” Suby says.
“With social media, if you try to play the middle game and you try to please everyone… you end up just being vanilla and mediocre.
“If you can bring a little bit of flair and character and not try to cater to every single person, then that’s how you form a deep connection with the people that are engaged with you and with your brand. It should be 80% value and 20% pitch.”
Plecic says she tries to be as authentic as possible in her vlogs to establish a personal connection with customers.
“We’re building a relationship with my potential customers by being completely vulnerable and open, and sharing my journey as a young female entrepreneur.”
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