Social media has drastically changed over the years, as has the way it fits into our current marketing strategies. What has worked as a standalone service in the past has become a part of something bigger. While social media is an incredibly powerful tool for marketing, it’s just that: a tool. It’s not a strategy, but a channel for distribution of your existing content.
One of the biggest problems we’ve encountered with standalone social is the expectation that we can just “do social” without any other content to back it up. But social has become noisier and a lot more competitive just over the past couple of years. Businesses can’t afford to crank out posts on social media without a content strategy. After having this conversation with hundreds of businesses, we’ve changed the way the people we work with look at social. We quit social media and shifted our focus to just creating great content.
Social Media as a Standalone Service
Social media works…if you have a solid content strategy.
Without an overall content strategy, social only works to get attention, followers, and likes. There isn’t anything wrong with having a good following on social media. However, social isn’t the end goal, but a way to connect with your audience and invite them back to your own platform. That’s not to say it isn’t important—social is a critical piece of most strategies. One of several companies that merged to form 1205 Marketing was a social media agency, so we know the importance of the role social plays in the world of content marketing.
But if social is so critical, why would you want to focus your efforts elsewhere?
You Don’t Own Facebook
…or any other social media platform.
As seen earlier in 2018, Facebook can make unfavorable changes on a whim and it can have a devastating effect on your marketing efforts if you’re only focusing on that one platform. Facebook made a change that affected page visibility and we had to quickly come up with more creative ways to utilize that platform. However, if you’ve taken a more holistic approach to your marketing strategy and focused your efforts on content, suddenly the impact is significantly lessened. Facebook is just one of many streams you use to publish content.
Think of social media like a door. If you invite someone over, you wouldn’t just sit there and talk to them at the door for hours. You’d invite them in–in this case, over to a platform you own. Social media is just the starting point.
Control How Your Content is Seen
On social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you don’t control when or how your content is seen. When you make a post on Twitter, it quickly gets pushed down by hundreds of other posts. Unless your followers see it right when you post it, there’s a chance it may not be seen at all. On Facebook and Instagram, it’s possible your content won’t be seen until days after it’s published unless your followers have their feed displayed chronologically. (Which is a huge problem if you’re posting time-sensitive content.)
If your audience is viewing your content from a mobile device, you don’t have any way of knowing how they’ll see your content. With mobile playing such a huge part in today’s digital ecosystem, it has never been more important to have control over how your audience experiences your content
Social is Just a Platform
While social does require an in-depth knowledge of the demographics it serves and some technical know-how, in the end, it’s just another platform. If you’re just pushing out pictures and posts that don’t serve a bigger purpose (your overall marketing strategy), you’ll ultimately blend in with all the noise on social media. But if you focus on creating powerful, meaningful content, you should be able to publish it to any platform, be it social media, your email list, or a website. Social media should be just one of many channels for publishing content.
If you take anything away from all this, let it be this: we don’t do social. We do content. When you focus on content, you can adapt to any platform, meet your audience where they’re at, and control how they experience your company’s message.