February 22, 2024

Social Media is Not the Answer to Everything

Businesses around the world have dropped so many marketing tools to put all their eggs in the social media basket to try to leverage the “free” services.

What if I were to challenge that this “free” service is actually costing you everything.

You might be scratching your head right now, wondering why an agency that offers social media is writing this. Well, it’s true we offer social media, but we have strict criteria that it has to be one of the services in a mix and not the only one.

You want to know why?

Businesses were wanting the same results from social media alone that they got from doing different things like media relations, creative activations and partnerships. But you can’t get the same results from social media alone.

People have bought into the idea that social media is the only way to market right now. That ship has sailed for many audiences.

What if the reason so many businesses are struggling has nothing to do with the post-pandemic world or the economy and everything to do with how we are marketing businesses? I wrote recently about how so many of the tools we are using were developed during a period of time when we required solitude and separation (the pandemic). That time has passed, and we now need to get back to connection.

When is the last time you found your new accountant or CPA on Facebook? How about your hair stylist? Think about it, how do you actually find what YOU are looking for? The answer to this question is complicated.  There are some things that are unsafe to select off some random ad. And let’s be honest, you usually scroll right past those ads anyway. So why would you expect your business prospects to do something different?

If you were to ask someone 30 and under, they will say TikTok. I say to that cool… cool… You are really putting your life recommendations in the hands of random people who know how to get attention and build an audience. What are their credentials? I know this is a generalization and there are some really talented people on TikTok, but we have to teach discernment.

If you ask someone 30-40, they are probably more focused on Instagram and their friends. They like to find out about opportunities and products from the people around them through their social channels.

If you ask someone 41+, they will likely say they barely use social media these days because it has destroyed the best parts of life and/or they are sick of all the ads. It frustrates them that they aren’t seeing many friends in their feeds because of the new algorithms. I fall into this category. The last couple of years, I have gone back to calling and texting friends on their birthday. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Facebook reminder, but I’m not posting my love there. Which means, I’m missing all of your promotional posts and ads too.

If you ask someone 60+, they will tell you that they try to stay on it, but just don’t love it for more than looking at family updates.

Now these are just generalizations and there are always exceptions to the rule.

My point is that it’s a mixed bag. We have to get back to the basics and ask the right questions. Here are some questions we are asking at Olive:

  1. Who is your target audience?
  2. How do they get information about the product or service you are offering?
  3. How can we creatively make real connections?

So often, we market something a certain way but don’t even acknowledge that we wouldn’t even reach ourselves that way.

For example, we were having a team meeting, and I asked my team when the last time was that they watched the news on TV unrelated to work. They all looked confused, but hello… they are not watching it. Who watches the news? Ask a slightly older audience this question and look deeply at the stats, you will see it’s very specific audience.

If you are trying to promote to a wider audience, you are in trouble if you think reaching your audience through social media only is enough.

You need to get creative. That’s why at Olive, we are focused on the concept of relationships and connection.

This is not exclusive to all the other marketing and public relations tactics. You also need to focus on relationships and connections in your social media strategy. For example, there’s no way I would ever buy supplements online without knowing they have partnerships with trusted authorities.

When you ask people how they find out about service providers, they often say referrals or Google. How are you going to tackle that? Here are some ideas:

  1. For referrals, you need to develop close relationships with your existing customers and partners. How do you do that? You make them feel special and give them stuff to talk about when you aren’t around. You make them feel supported and part of something. You deepen your relationship, and you knock it out of the park, so your customers feel like they are bringing value by sharing your information with their network. I wish I didn’t have to say this, but I do… this isn’t a weird manipulation tactic… it has to be authentic.
  2. For Google, you have to have strong SEO and powerful content. If you want to win the SEO game, you can tackle it a few ways. If you are a restaurant or community service provider, you might not need an SEO partner, but you definitely need a great website and powerful link backs to ensure you are leading. You also want to make sure that your business profile is updated and robust with quality content. How do you get powerful link backs? You secure media coverage and create powerful content on your website. You make sure your stories include the key words people will search for when they are trying to find you. You ensure you have great reviews by being great and building relationships with your customers that inspire them to share about it.

Here’s a mind bender for you. If you chat with people 41+, they aren’t posting anymore. We have all heard it… “I’m on a social media break.” This is because we spent the first 25 years without it, and life was good. We can still remember our reluctance to post that first picture because we didn’t want people to see what we are up to. Life was not such an open book, and the anonymity was rich for some of us.

We scoff and roll our eyes when we hear about another “cancelled” celebrity and often chat about how we wish we hadn’t seen something in our feed. We worry about our kids and spend a lot of time emotionally trying to process everything on our radar. For some people, they worry why they are no longer getting so many likes and feel sad about how they used to get hundreds of likes and now only 10. Trust me, it’s not you. This is a strategy to get people to spend money on boosting posts. Social media has its benefits, but it has also done so much to break the spirits of society, people, and businesses.

I’m not saying it doesn’t have a place, I’m just saying, we have to get creative and think outside of the box. I asked someone the other day if they are on social media, and he said no. Then I asked how he found out about things before social media. We all laughed and agreed we used to find things on the bulletin board at the coffee shop in the morning. Then we admitted that we feel completely disconnected because we are off it. Well, here’s a big opportunity!

It’s not complicated. It’s just that we need to stop to question whether or not we really need to post another post or make a flyer. Maybe we need to establish promotional partnerships. Maybe we need to have an event. Maybe we need to secure thought leadership stories or SEO-powered headlines. Maybe we need quality content and a powerful newsletter. Maybe we need to set coffee meetings. Maybe just maybe, we need to stop thinking of social media as “the” marketing strategy and get back to the basics.

At Olive, we believe that when you develop a heart-centered campaign, this comes naturally. It’s about deeper relationships and connection, which is why we are calling ourselves a Relationship Agency.

Interested in learning more? We’d love to chat about the best strategy for your business.