When I first started my business, I read article after article about how to best build my brand using various marketing methods, social media especially. I was a bit unnerved to discover that engaging potential customers via social media involved more than just posting consistently.
Well, duh, right? I mean, everyone knows that each social media platform follows its own set of rules for what, when, how, and why to post. But the larger question revolves around whether or not a business should use every social media option just because it’s available.
The answer is “no.” As I discovered with my own business, I spend my time and efforts much more effectively when I remain true to myself and I am selective about the modes of social media (and any marketing method, for that matter) I use.
Jane Friedman follows a similar approach. In a recent article, she discusses why being mindful of a general marketing strategy is much more efficient than focusing too much attention on individual marketing tactics. The issue, Friedman notes, is that the latter is so much easier to define and put into practice than a strategy is. “[T]actics are seductive because they are tangible, and offer the feeling of improvement and progress,” she explains.
No doubt, when you can focus your sights on analytics–expanding your reach and increasing the number of likes you receive or the number of views your page gets–you can easily lose sight of larger marketing goals, that is, converting potential customers to actual customers. As I’ve noted before, marketing should not be a numbers game. The number of people you reach is less important than who you are reaching. In this instance, the number of ways you market is less important than how you market to reach the right people.
In her article, which focuses primarily on authors but easily can translate to business owners and entrepreneurs, Friedman explains that understanding yourself and your audience determines a successful marketing strategy, not tactics. You shouldn’t necessarily use a specific marketing scheme just because others in your field are. “Always question and assess,” Friedman states, and base your answers off of what you uniquely have to offer your audience and customers.
Certainly, a marketing strategy is less clear than why Instagram posts perform better when they use hashtags and emojis. Your strategy likely will change over time, as your business grows and your customer base changes. But having a sense of where you want to go in the long run will benefit you far more than focusing on distracting, immediate details. As Friedman explains, “[T]he more you’re focused on your own long-term outcomes and how to wisely use your time and resources, the better prepared you’ll be to consider or experiment with new tactics, adopting or discarding them as you see fit.”
Marketing tactics have their purpose. Once you’ve decided to use a certain social media platform or take a certain marketing approach, you certainly want to create content that works well with that mode of marketing.
However, never lose sight of your overall marketing strategy. Your strategy is what makes you and your business uniquely yours, and it’s what connects you the most to your customers.