The How of Social Media Marketing

In the previous entries in this series we have discussed Business Branding, history of marketing, and vague broad ideas.

Now to get to the gritty side of things.

If you are a small business owner who wants to utilize online platforms you probably will take a look at it, maybe you will get someone to do it for you.

One of the first things you will see is ‘buy ads on Facebook, or you will disappear’. There are countless articles explaining how to do ads, how to set it up, how to pay for it. You can target a specific audience, of a certain age group and gender.

Facebook ads cost a lot, but a quick statement about the algorithm.

Written into every app, or out of, the algorithm is the basic set up of a program. When you update your apps you are updating the algorithm. Facebook and Instagram are notoriously secretive when it comes to their codes and structures.

Nerdy Background…

Algorithms were all coded by people for years and years, they started in the most complex mathematical groups. Nowadays the machines that build algorithms are all AI. Incredibly cool and smart people called Data Scientists write and monitor algorithms, particularly AI.

An AI, Artificial Intelligence, is a self-learning program. There are countless examples of this all over the web, robots learn to dance, graphics learn themselves walk, programs solve the equations required to build a rocket ship, etc. but the most effective and powerful example of AI is Facebook and Instagram.

The idea of machines rising up and taking over the world is an outdated idea. We in South Africa know this better than anyone, the lights go off and the machine dies, this is not rocket science.

However, the idea of AI is not to replace humans or to replicate our thought process and become like us. The best AI is self-monitoring information gathering bots.

Facebook is constantly gathering data, we all know this, but don’t talk about it. Instagram gathers data, Google and Youtube. Any app that requests permission to your location, your private files, or your gallery gathers data.

In the modern world, mountains, and mountains of data are gathered every hour.

Think the secret libraries of the Vatican times a million, or to be more accurate and even harder to comprehend a billion.

We are the I-generation, and I stand for information.

These AIs are being developed and researched all over the world, they are imperfect, like all things. However, what you need to know, as a Social Media Marketer, or small business owner, these algorithms are reactionary.

One example is Pinterest, you can search one thing over and over but the picture that the feed presents you that you click on is the stuff you look at.

The same with Instagram and Facebook. These are not Search Engines, these are Social Platforms. When you click on something you will see it, when you engage with something, you will see it.

Now, back to the start.

When you do not click on something, let’s say a Facebook Sponsored Ad, you will not see that in your feed.

Who do you know that clicks on sponsored posts?

Let’s imagine your business is a technical college based in a small town, catering to a specific group. How many people will search for a technical college, how many people will receive the paid ad?

When starting a marketing campaign you need to think about certain things.

  1. Budgeting, of course
  2. What you hope to get out of it, and how to go about achieving that
  3. How much time do you have?

Social Media Marketing is a patience game. You must apply yourself, and find what works for you.

Sponsored posts can reach people, but will it reach your people?

I haven’t used sponsored posts, as of yet I haven’t had a reason too.

If you want to have a good page that supports or increases your business patience is essential. If you want to have a big page that reaches a lot of people, you need dedication and patience.

But when you are a small business that has to grow within your community, be authentic.

Authentic is another one of those overused words, but let’s be honest, with the surplus of AIs, impersonal media, oversensationalized garbage we are bombarded with every day, the importance of authenticity is unmeasured.

When making a post, you need to keep in mind where you share it. Each platform has its own way of doing things, audiences respond differently to different things. Take time to understand that.

Instagram is polished, although this polish must be carefully done, you can have the best-looking page and absolutely no one interacts with you because it is too perfect.

The same with Facebook.

Be real, be human.

Share your posts yourself, Social Media is Social. People on Facebook look at their friends, they want to know about their community. What you do must fit into a space of active/inactive marketing. Give something to your viewers, whether it is a reprieve from a hectic world or information, do not make the people you want to reach feel like they are just a statistic targeted by a far away AI.

Utilize organic reach, and stay constant.

Happy posting Dollas.