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Social Media Strategists Recommend Nike’s Motto

BOARDMAN, Ohio – For businesses looking to take the dive into social media platforms, the most common advice area consulting firms have is simple: Just do it, Nike’s motto.

There can be complexities, of course, but the best thing to do is just get a foot in the door.

“Don’t worry about perfection. You might make mistakes but you can learn from those mistakes,” said Joe Kuzma, a social media consultant at Farris Marketing. “It’s OK. The worst thing you can do is inaction.”

All 11 participants at The Business Journal’s recent social media round table advised companies to devise a plan for their social media accounts that includes setting goals and a budget, platforms to use and how often to post new content.

While access to almost every social media site is free, notes Richard Hahn, president of Keynote Media Group, there are costs associated with using social media. To have more people see one of your company’s Facebook posts, he explained, you can pay to have a post boosted.

“Initially the cost is management and creating content. From there, there’s a cost the platform expects from you,” added Alison Oyler, digital content strategist at Innis Maggiore. “Facebook is making it harder to reach consumers organically. They expect you to make an upfront investment through boosting a post.”

And whether a business has $50 or $1,000 per month budgeted for social media, everyone has access to the same tools to reach their target audiences.

“I can buy a boost that reaches certain ZIP codes, certain income levels, whether or not they have children, and either men or women,” Hahn said. “I can be very specific and target them easily.”

Any business’ goal should be to have customers – followers on social media – spread content to other users. There are plenty of ways to drive that engagement, whether through video, pictures or information. Jeff Ryznar, owner of 898 Marketing, noted that posts that drive engagement generally accomplish one of three things: educate, entertain or inform.

“Good engagement is the low-hanging fruit social media offers: the likes, the shares, the retweets. Bad engagement is none at all,” he said. “Even a negative response can be turned into a positive and you can’t hide from those. You have to take the good and the bad.”

There should also be a dose of human interest in shared content. Consumers are rarely happy with being shown technical information or marketing pitches over and over. A popular post one of Hahn’s clients was a picture of that client’s manager’s newborn baby.

“The rules are being made as we go along, but it’s a social marketing tool, with a big emphasis on social,” said Tom Delamater of Delamater Media Group. “We want to focus on the end user: Who are they? What are they about? And what are their interests? That’s how you get engagement.”

With some 1.6 billion users, Facebook is by far the most popular social media network, followed by Twitter and, for professionals, LinkedIn. But, noted CYO Marketing founder Dennis Schiraldi, there are key demographic factors as to who is using what.

Facebook is becoming increasingly popular with those over 40, while Millennials are turning to other sources. Teenagers, meanwhile, are active on platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram.

“There are even things like YikYak and Jelly that people haven’t heard of,” he said. “There’s massive adoption among the Instagram and Snapchat platforms that you can tap into.”

And with the younger platforms, he added, video is becoming the main way to disseminate content. Even social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are constantly trying to figure out how to bring videos to their users.

Even so, Schiraldi said, it’s better to be deep than wide with a social media presence. Focus on just a few platforms and use them well rather than try to do everything at once.

“You need to figure out where your community will be and where the best return on investment is,” he said.

Regardless of platform and audience, Hahn concluded, what’s most important is the content being pushed out.

“What you put up will keep me coming back. If you just talk about your business, that’s not engaging,” he said. “If you talk about your people and things other business, even coupons, it’ll keep people coming back.”

Also participating in The Business Journal roundtable were Jim Komara, digital media manager for Palo Creative; Bill Sherhag, director of digital media at iSynergy; Evan Sobinovsky, interactive designer at Prodigal Media; Holly Fritz, sales manager for IDMI.net; and Jim Houck, owner of The Houck Agency.

Editor’s Note: The first part of the transcript from the round table was published in the May edition of The Business Journal. The second part will be published next week in the MidMay edition.

DOWNLOAD round table pages from our May edition.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.