Starting a successful business in today’s world requires a high level of social media competency. Consumers expect to see brands on social media, and may even follow brands and directly engage with them on certain platforms.
Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO and co-founder of VaynerMedia, realized early on that almost all businesses, large and small, struggle to develop and execute a smart social media strategy. He’s a well-known industry expert who started his company to help other companies better utilize social media.
Vaynerchuk appeared on Marie Forleo’s show, MarieTV, to discuss the future of social media. He said that many brands make the mistake of thinking of social media merely as platforms to distribute content when in reality, each platform offers a unique way to natively tell stories. Social media marketing takes time, effort and resources, and posting the same photo on each platform is no longer going to make the cut.
“You have to respect the context of the room in which you’re storytelling.” – Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO and co-founder of VaynerMedia
Vaynerchuk also points out that social media allows you to build relationships with your customers, but you have to do more than push out content. You have to communicate with them and show them that you care. Moreover, word-of-mouth spreads faster than ever, so businesses can’t afford to ignore customer complaints on social media.
My biggest takeaway from Forleo and Vaynerchuk’s conversation was the theory of jab, jab, hook. Essentially, the theory says that businesses need to give, give and then ask for the sale from their customers. On social media, this means repeatedly trying to provide your customers with value until you’ve given them enough to finally ask for the sale. Most companies treat social media as a place to sell things, meaning they spend too much time on the hook, and no time on the jabs. This is an ineffective strategy because your customers will see that you don’t really care about them and you’re only trying to sell them things.
It can be extremely overwhelming for startups to begin forming a social media strategy. There are multiple platforms to choose from, each with a unique audience and posting style. Thinking about your goals is a good way to help simplify this process — what are you trying to accomplish on social media and who is your target customer?
Once you answer these questions, you can start thinking about what platforms you should be using and what kind of content you should post. For example, if your goal is to use social media to grow your customer base and increase brand awareness, and your target customer is 18 to 25-year-old women, Instagram and Pinterest would be a great place to start.
Social media marketing is a must for startups and established businesses alike, but it’s not easy to get it right. Once you start thinking of social media as platforms for community and connection, and not places to hard sell, it’s a lot easier to wrap your head around. Most importantly, take it from Gary V. and don’t forget the jabs.