According to Dictionary.com, a guru is any person who provides counsel or advice. What was a common term for a spiritual leader, in today’s world, “guru” has been used to exaggerate wisdom or exploit the naiveté of those who follow.
And if you’ve met a self-proclaimed, social media guru, then you’ve probably witnessed this exaggeration of wisdom first hand. Basing their so-called expertise on a handful of case studies or success in personal branding, some of these gurus are over promising and under delivering. Never a good thing.
With social media there are no hard and fast rules. There is no guaranteed path to success either. But if you’re going to give advice in this area, please, include the following in your teachings, oh wise one.
It’s Not Going To Happen Overnight
If you build it, they will come. That’s the infamous saying, right?
Well the fact of the matter is, there is nothing set-it-and-forget-it about social media. If a social media guru tries to tell you that they can get you a million followers in a snap, be skeptical.
The whole point of building communities with social media is to collect and connect the fans, customers and followers who support and love your brand. Of course there are ways to kickstart the growth of your communities like giveaways or discounts, but be careful not to undermine your business just for the thrill of chasing a certain number of followers that someone else defines as the ultimate target.
One Size Does Not Fit All
Look what we did for this brand, we can do the same for you. It’s so easy and simple, it’s unbelievable.
Unbelievable is right. Just because a strategy or campaign worked for one brand does not mean it will consistently achieve the same results for another. Also, sometimes the goals of one business are not the same goals of another.
Processes are what help marketers better organize their time, measure their costs, and set their rates and prices. But be weary if the social media marketing advice and services you’re paying for is so cookie cutter, there’s no room for customization that better fits your brand’s needs or goals.
Have A Voice, Preferably Your Own
This point goes along with “one size does not fit all”. Whenever and wherever possible, use your own voice. Not a persona, not a spokesperson but your genuine, true to tone voice. Unless you have a potty mouth or are inclined to be politically incorrect. Then maybe use the old adage, think before you speak.
Your voice is the cornerstone of your brand personality. Now that brands communicate with people directly, it just makes sense to speak as yourself. It’s the best way to keep your message authentic and your business transparent, two factors that have become increasingly important to consumers.
These Channels Work Both Ways
The days of the megaphone are over. Social media is not where you can shout your messaging at people and not expect to hear feedback. The good news is that some of the feedback is awesome and positive. Of course the bad news is, that sometimes it’s unpleasant.
In either case, you have an opportunity to step up and respond. There will be thank yous and sorrys to be given but just the act of acknowledging your followers can give your business a competitive edge. Customer service will always be a fundamental part of marketing.
Measure, Measure, Measure
Social media is not a wishing well. You don’t just toss in your coins and wait for the magic to start.
Of course there is always an element of the opportunity-meets-timing type luck in marketing, but with social media, the ability to measure means you can better understand where these opportunities are and how to make the most of them.
Take for instance measuring your most popular tweets against the times they were sent. Is there a correlation between engagement and the morning? Do all your afternoon tweets go unnoticed? Maybe here’s an opportunity to move all call to action tweets to first thing in the morning to drive more traffic to the website. Or use the afternoon to connect rather than just broadcast.
Use the data to tweak your messages and fine-tune your strategy.
It is easy to understand why people might turn to these so-called, social media gurus for advice. This ever evolving digital landscape can feel vast and unconquerable. There are peaks and valleys and sometimes it can feel like a complete hamster wheel.
Don’t give up. To stay competitive you need to stay present. Measure every gain and loss. Deconstruct these wins and failures to find the lesson. Experiment. Little by little and over time, you’ll gain your own wisdom needed to sustain and grow your social media.
What are your favourite tactics when it comes to social media strategies? Let us know in the comments below!