Social media marketing about posting on Facebook and Twitter, in the same way that being a car mechanic is all about changing tyres.

Constantly misunderstood, and oversimplified, a quick Google search of social media marketing will give you loads of experts telling you how to ‘do’ it, offering training, and advice. Then, in equal measure, you’ll get those telling you why promotion on social channels doesn’t work, and why you need to do something else – usually the thing they’re selling.
As with most subjects, when put under the microscope the truth lies somewhere in between these two extremes. Take note religious fanatics…you naughty little rascals.

1. Social Media Marketing is a Tactic – Not a Strategy

Doing only social media, to reuse the mechanic metaphor, is like only putting one tyre on the car. Your marketing strategy should be made up of a series of tactics – SEO, social media, pay-per-click advertising, maybe some other things…the main thing is social media compliments other tactics – it isn’t the strategy.

2. Social Media Begins the Prospect’s Journey

If you think people are going to see your clever Facebook post or ad and buy something…think again. A social media post should be the beginning of your prospect’s journey to purchase, not a sales tool on its own. Think about it; you wouldn’t walk up to a prospect and say, “I have a thing, so buy it,” would you? Maybe, if you’re overly aggressive and probably wear football jumpers to work, but for the rest of us, it’s unreasonable – but that’s what we expect social media marketing to do for us.
Start with an ad or post, have it lead to a landing page with an offer, and a smooth pathway to purchase.

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3. Understand – Don’t Guess

If you’re going to have Social Media Marketing as part of your overall strategy, make sure you understand how it works, and the impact on your target personas.
Every platform has different algorithms and rules for presenting content, so get to know them. There are so many sites out there with every piece of information you could ever hope for, so put aside a few hours each day and get learnin’! To start, try Buffer’s blog – they have heaps of awesome information and really know their stuff.

Everything works in the right environment. Make sure you’re testing, measuring and being honest with yourself about the effectiveness of the tactics you’re using. If they don’t work, and it’s due to something immovable, like your target market not being on social media, then get rid of it and replace it with something else. Otherwise, change, adapt and improve.