Social media and its role in marketing can be quite the puzzle – even for some of those who are sold on the benefits.
They check their “likes” and they figure that a bigger number is better than a smaller one, but beyond that they are perplexed. “What does it all mean?” they wonder. In short, I racked up a bunch of likes but the question remains: what’s the value of a like?
I was talking about this very topic this morning with Jay York, EMSI’s senior social media strategist, about how easy it is to overlook the fact that those likes so many people are chasing have more value than initially meets the eye.
But before we look at that, we need to re-visit briefly how it is that people interact – or don’t – on social media.
Most of us probably know people who are extraordinarily active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other platforms. They post their views on the presidential debate or share a fascinating article they read on a science magazine’s website. They let you know their child scored a goal in soccer, that they’re dining at an Italian restaurant tonight or that they just installed new kitchen tile.
They also routinely comment on, like or share what others post.
Then there are those who rarely if ever post anything. Essentially, they are spectators, not participants. But that doesn’t mean they’re unaffected by what they see because people retain a lot of the information they see even if they aren’t active on social media.
Both types of social media users come into play when you’re trying to measure the value of your likes.
Now let’s examine a few factors that Jay says give your likes more than face value:
- Relationship opportunity. Social media isn’t about a quick return on investment; it’s a long-term relationship. People interested in what you have to offer – let’s say its retirement advice – may follow you on social media even though they have no immediate plans to sign on as a client. But they’re drawn by what you have to say about investments and Social Security. Each day your posts and tweets glide by them on their newsfeed and they take a few moments to read them. Weeks, months or even years may go by before they are in need of your services, but when that moment finally arrives you are going to be at or near the top of their list of people to contact.
- The reach potential. People tend to think of likes this way: “I got 112 likes!” And that’s it! Maybe they think that’s great or not so great, but regardless they think that’s the end of it. But it’s not. When someone likes your Facebook page, for example, then their friends see that. In fact, much of what you do on social media has a greater reach than your immediate circle of followers because they can share your posts and tweets with their friends, who can share it with theirs. And if someone comments on your posts, likes, or asks a question, their friends will see that, too. Jay says it’s important to understand that it doesn’t even stop there because there’s impact beyond the internet. People discuss what they saw on social media at backyard barbecues, baby showers, cocktail parties and just about any other place where they gather to chat.
- Social media should be just one piece in a larger marketing puzzle. It’s at its best when it complements your other efforts, not when it’s a lone warrior responsible for the entire marketing workload. You can cross promote your social media marketing with your speaking engagements, website, radio show, or any other venue you use to build your brand. Make sure your social media icons are visible on your website. Use social media to let listeners know what the topic will be on your podcast. Use signs or a PowerPoint slide to let people who attend your public speaking event know how they can follow you on social media. Make it all work together.
The bottom line is those much-coveted likes bring value far beyond their actual numbers. They are about building a relationship over time. They are about long-term growth.
They are about your message reaching your audience, then being passed on to that audience’s audience – and beyond!
All that – and probably a lot more – is the value of a like!
Your like-minded pal,
P.S. If you need professional help with your social media efforts, give us a call at 727-443-7115 ext. 215.