What Clients Asked Me About Social Media in 2018

Change isn’t easy. I’ve seen two extremes from businesses when it comes to the social media conversation. Either they’re heavy-handed in their assumptions that social cannot generate sales or they shy away from the conversation entirely. I’ve watched social be relegated to the back of the class; an ‘add-on’ that discredits its nature as a powerful digital medium. I’ve also had to side-eye those over exaggerated sales conversations which misrepresent the processes involved in building a valuable social presence.

In a past blog, I wrote:

One of the most enduring arguments I’ve heard against building an online presence is ‘My audience doesn’t use <insert flavor of platform here>. It’s the mantra of traditionalism; marketing rooted in familiar channels of television and radio, and sitting somewhere in-between the Selling and Marketing orientations. It’s unsurprising, but no less disconcerting. Change, especially in the local market, is much like a sleeping dragon hoarding their gold. If there’s a cost attached to it, it’s best to leave the beast to his dreams

There’s no doubt that our local market’s predispositions about social media tend to lean negatively. It’s why I am careful to lay details in an easily visualized way when presenting strategy and planning to clients. There has to be a clear understanding between a business and it’s agency or digital team for execution to be successful. This requires continuous transparency and education.

As I transitioned from corporate to startup in 2018, my experiences have varied. However, my encounters with clients have been similar. The difference now is how I’m able to approach the questions they ask. Here are some of the most popular concerns from the last year:

“We posted on Facebook a few times this month and got zero traction. What’s going on?”

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Facebook’s algorithm is, in short, a monster. Since its update a few years ago, it has given priority to pages that are regularly maintained. To tame this beast requires consistency – at least one post per day. Otherwise, the algorithm will not show your page on users’ timelines as frequently as is needed to ensure long-term growth and engagement. A content calendar is a simple way to plan posts on a monthly basis, and to determine over time what’s working and what isn’t.

“Our audience isn’t online.”

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This one isn’t a question, but there is an underlying question mark regardless. I’m not partial to blanket statements, and unless the above is preempted with infallible data, then I have to call it out. To discount where users spend their time based on nothing but gut instinct is a disadvantage for any business. Facebook’s Audience Insights is one way of understanding users demographics and interests. Google Trends is also a good place to track what users in specific locations are searching for online. Such research mitigates speculation and bases short and long term decisions on fact rather than fiction.

“What’s the ROI on social media?”

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What is the ROI on social? Is it engagement? Traffic to another source? The number of page likes? Online or offline sales? App downloads? Whitepaper downloads? The answer can either be all of the above or none of the above. Your ROI ultimately depends on the KPIs you’ve set to achieve your marketing goals. If the question is asked with the mindset that there should always be dollar signs attached to it, then that in itself is a fundamental issue. Regardless of what social channels you use, they should all be maintained based on your overall strategy and plan.

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