Social media isn't always easy. There's a whole breed of people out there who are selling the idea that social media will change your life and allow you to reach ALL the people and get ALL the sales, and that it's not hard. This is a lie, because as much as we really love social media and are big advocates for it's benefits, there's no doubting that it's hard work and it's only getting harder. The algorithm that social media sites are imposing means posts are getting less reach and engagement, which means that even once you've gone to all the effort to put a post together and get a great photo, the chances it's actually going to get a fair chance on social media is quite slim.
Since it's not always easy, and there are so many articles floating around with fancy tactics and terminology, written by people you probably don't know... we thought we'd get real about social media, and throw down some things that have actually worked for us online, in the hope that they'll do the same for you. Here goes!
Posting often does work
The trick to making sure you do get a fair chance online is all about being consistent with your posting. So many times we've had content that we've thought would do really well online, and it's been a complete flop! Most times where we've gone wrong is that we haven't posted anything for a while before that post. The concept of the algorithm means that "the rich get richer and poor get poorer", in the sense that if you haven't posted or had engagement for a while, your next post is likely to get squashed. Vice versa, if you can consistently get some decent engagement, that's only going to build over time, but you need to keep posting.
Getting strategic about what you post is key
Social media is social for a reason - people don't want to be sold to all the time. More often than not, the posts that do well on our feed are the ones that are photos of Dan and I together, working on projects, or updating our people on our life! This makes sense because your supporters initially are family and friends, and it's important to know that this isn't a bad thing, in fact you need to use this to your advantage! With the point above in mind, before you're about to drop a great piece of your content (for us that's likely a great video we've made that we want people to see), we'd post a photo of us to get the engagement on the page up which will hopefully mean our next post does well! Get smart about the type of content you're posting, and long term plan, not just the short term outlook.
Likes aren't representative of the conversations happening offline
We've had so many people chat to us and mention specific posts or events that have happened lately, which we thought no one was really taking notice of! People we don't even know are constantly telling us that they've been following us online for quite some time and are finally ready for a video - who knew! If we looked at our likes only, we wouldn't be super stoked with our numbers, we're no influencers, but we're creating impact offline despite this and people are talking about our business without us present in those conversations.
We've built our business on our network, and our social media - it does work
We've paid a grand total of $40 for FB ads over the past two years, we don't do any other form of advertising apart from putting our work on our website and our social media sites, and we've built a full time business from just that.
Investigate FB ads
Yes social media is free, but if you really want to get some traction or reach specific audiences, ads are a great way to do this. They're cost effective, you get great targeting options, and a whole lot of feedback from your ads that you wouldn't get in traditional advertising (e.g print media) so it's well worth investigating. HERE is a great podcast on "Facebook ads 101" that will tell you the ins and outs of FB advertising - Stevie is a pro on this, and puts everything into language all business owners can understand!
Ultimately social media is the way you start the conversation and introduce people to your brand, then the conversation needs to continue and you need to seal the deal in other ways rather than just online. Social media won't make you a success if you don't follow up, be a good human, have a good product, or engage with your people!
Our advice would be to LEAN IN, enjoy creating some content and sharing news about your business regularly, but keep in mind it's only one avenue of communication in your bigger marketing plan!