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Social Media Marketing for Business: Expectation Vs. Reality

Posted on Jul 8th, 2015
Written by TopRank Marketing
In this article

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    When a fast food chain releases a new menu item, there is typically a lot of hype and promotion around the product. These efforts can lead to certain expectations of what consumers can expect when purchasing the item.

    Sometimes reality meets the expectation, but more often than not, it doesn’t.

    Anytime you explore new opportunities within digital marketing, it can lead way to a certain set of expectations for performance, audience reaction and a host of other variables.

    While the reality may not always meet the expectation, there are many benefits to incorporating social media into your digital marketing routine. According to Social Media Examiner’s latest report, these benefits include:

    • Increased exposure
    • Increase in website traffic
    • Development of loyal fans
    • Access to marketplace insight
    • Lead generation

    That same report found that Facebook (52%), LinkedIn (21%) and Twitter (12%) are the most important social media platforms for marketers.

    The examples below provide a glimpse into some common expectations that new (and even more seasoned) marketers have about social media marketing and the sometimes harsh reality.

    #1 – Set Publishing Expectations


    Expectation: When tackling social media for business, it can be easy to assume that you’ll have endless ideas for content and will be a publishing machine.

    Reality: More often than not, companies are strong out of the gate and then quickly tire from the attention needed to create and curate compelling content.

    Solution: One way to engage your audience is to consistently publish content on your social channels. If you create a routine for publishing, they’ll know what to expect. Tools like Buffer are great for scheduling out your social media content for the week. You can also set up rules for posting frequency and time of day within your preferences. Additionally, Buffer has a handy content curation feature that makes it simple to choose a piece of content that is relevant for your audience and incorporate it into the publishing schedule.

    #2 – Assess Organic Conversions


    Expectation: Based on all of the awesome content you’re producing, it’s only a matter of time before those contact forms are flying in!

    Reality: More realistically, a strong social media presence will likely lead to an increase in referral traffic to your website (if that is where you’re pointing followers).

    Solution: An organic social media can be used in combination with content marketing efforts to drive lead generation. While it may not always be a direct conversion to sign up for services, there are other conversion opportunities. For example, use social media to lead your audience to gated content on your website or to a subscribe form to receive updates from your company.

    #3 – Effective Community Management


    Expectation: Responding to brand mentions and inquiries is easy.

    Reality: Keeping up with brand mentions manually can become incredibly overwhelming.

    Solution: Continue to create quality content that your community will find useful and use Social media monitoring tools like SproutSocial, Topsy and Social Mention to help identify and respond to mentions of your brand.

    #4 – Improve Advertising Effectiveness


    Expectation: Using paid social automatically means that you’ll have more conversions (likes, shares, comments) for your facebook page and website.

    Reality: Social advertising merely provides access to more people, it doesn’t change the quality of your message.

    Solution: To get the most out of social media advertising consider the following best practices:

    • Use clear and concise messaging
    • Incorporate strong visual assets
    • Beta test ads by publishing organically first
    • Use platform targeting features
    • Rotate ads frequently to avoid ad fatigue
    • Design ads with mobile users in mind

    #5 – Don’t Take the One & Done Approach


    Expectation: You can successfully publish all of the exact same social messages on every platform.

    Reality: People use different social media sites for different reasons.

    Solution: You need to understand your audience and the social media sites that they use in order to get a true sense of how to position messaging for each platform. The way that most users interact on LinkedIn is vastly different than they would use an Instagram account. Keep this in mind when creating messaging for your business social media profiles and pages.

    Begin Setting Realistic Expectations for Social Media Marketing

    True social media marketing success requires hard work, patience and attention to detail. Chances are, if you invest your time and money wisely, you’ll begin to see some of your social media expectations become realities.

    What have you found to be the most shocking reality about social media that you hadn’t expected?

    Images Via Shutterstock: 256990276267812159152294633172622741174332258173481875168059315