Do you remember what the Internet was like a few years ago? Facebook seemed to be everywhere, and building your online presence felt less intimidating.
Things have changed in 2021. While we can thank technology for helping the popularity and success of subscription businesses grow, gaining traction on social media (and online in general) is as challenging as ever.
The digital landscape is continuously evolving and since so many entrepreneurs wear many hats in their businesses, there’s hardly any time to keep up with the countless changes.
Exhibit A: TikTok. In 2020, the app was almost banned from the U.S. In September, the company reported that it now has more than 1 billion users, becoming the seventh social media platform (out of 17) to do so.
Today, there are more than 4.5 billion social media users across all platforms, according to Hootsuite — more than half of the world’s population.
Each and every single one of these users could be your next subscriber as long as you know how to reach out to them and are able to convert them. Read on to learn how to easily optimize your social media marketing strategy in three steps.
Step #1: Listen to & Understand Your Community
Never assume that you know what your community wants. Instead, listen to the people you’re trying to reach most. Get to know them and understand their different behavior patterns on the various platforms they use. Your content cannot be something made specifically for you.
“Your community dictates, so you have to listen to them,” says John Roman, CEO of BattlBox.
Roman, a SubSummit speaker and big believer in staying on top of trends, says that building a community should be every subscription entrepreneur’s priority. It’s not an exact science, he specifies, especially when attempting to conquer new platforms like TikTok.
If you visit BattlBox’s TikTok account, you’ll notice more than 250,000 followers, see more than 1.7 million likes, and likely feel pretty dang impressed, especially given the fact that the account is less than a year old and is on pace to be the company’s most followed page across all platforms.
What you don’t see on BattlBox’s social profiles – or any company’s, for that matter – is the work and thought process put into building an efficient social media marketing strategy and curating content for a new platform.
“TikTok is the easiest way to get an audience, but it’ll make you want to bang your head against the wall trying to figure out how the algorithm works and how to find your audience on there,” Roman says. “It’s a lot of trial and error – and it’s mostly error.”
Building a community on TikTok can be tricky since you have virtually no control over who gets to see your videos. The platform allows you to scroll through two feeds: “Following” and the “For You Page” (or FYP). Ultimately, everyone is fighting for visibility on the FYP.
Well, almost everyone.
Samantha Foster, CEO of The Pink Envelope — and who reviews subscription boxes from all over on YouTube — says she’s perfectly content not following the trends, the hashtags, the dances. She already has a loyal following and she wants to make sure her people are happy.
“My engagement is extremely high and my conversions are extremely high because I’m hanging out with my people on my platform,” she explains. “My average subscriber, or woman, who hangs out with me is 35 to 65 years old. They’re not on TikTok, so I’m not on TikTok.”
Keep your subscribers in mind when investing your time and resources in content production. It may mean you will have to establish yourself on platforms you’re not particularly interested in or familiar with, but the rewards are well worth it, according to Foster.
“I think anybody can be on YouTube,” she adds. “But I don’t think that’s the case with all platforms.”
Step #2: Give Your Brand a Face
What do these three pictures have in common?
Each of the brands represented above (The Pink Envelope, BattlBox, and Aisling Organics) has a face to represent it. None of them are operating in the same market and competing with one another, yet they are all investing their time and resources in making their respective brands personable.
Krysta Lewis, CEO of Aisling Organics, did not jump on the TikTok bandwagon at the same time her friends did. In fact, it took her more than a year to create an account and realize the potential the platform has for her business.
Lewis created two accounts when she began her TikTok journey, one for herself and one for her company.
“When we started to see my profile outperform not only the business profile on TikTok but our other social media pages that we spent the last five years building, I knew that I was onto something,” she says.
Lewis explains that her personal profile outgrew the Aisling Organics tenfold. She is now more than ever the face of her brand — something that could scare away a lot of entrepreneurs who like staying behind the scenes. Unfortunately, in 2021, there’s nowhere to hide.
“I know most business owners don’t want to be an ‘influencer,’” Lewis says, “but nowadays, that’s what consumers are looking for. They’re looking for the face behind the brand. They want to get to know you for you.”
Step #3: Repurpose & Automate Your Content
Repurposing content will save you time, money, and stress — just ask the BattlBox content team.
Roman explains that when his team creates a piece of content, it gets used everywhere. The content might be slightly altered for each platform, but it’s still the same base: “You’ll see it on Facebook, you’ll see it on Twitter, you’ll see it on YouTube. It’s not unique to Instagram,” he says.
Linking your repurposed content across social media platforms can unify your community and increase your engagement — as long as you keep track of where your community is and is not.
A good social media marketing strategy can use repurposed content through a giveaway or a coupon code, but it won’t work if you ask your community members to use platforms that they don’t like.
For example, BattlBox recently created a YouTube video that told viewers to comment on one of BattlBox’s Facebook posts for entry into a giveaway. Roman and his team saw dozens of responses along the lines of, “Well, I don’t do Facebook.” The incident was shocking, yet eye-opening.
The lesson from that, at least for BattlBox, is that many customers are only active on YouTube, not Facebook, so that’s the content that needs to be prioritized. This can make things tricky when Roman and his team try to focus on other channels, but it’s far from impossible.
To maximize efficiency, Roman uses a software that enables BattlBox to post content on all platforms at once. This allows him to ensure that his team is focusing on the platforms that his community prefers while not abandoning the less-used platforms.
Top 25 Social Media Management Tools & Platforms
Foster also uses a posting software in her social media marketing strategy. However, she suggests focusing on your community’s one to two most active social platforms and handling those manually rather than automatically. These are the platforms where you should focus on really engaging with your customers.
Lewis agrees. Staying active on the platforms you’ve built a following on is important, as long as you know where your efforts need to be going.
“I really do feel for the businesses out there who have spent so much time and effort into these social platforms that seem to then just fall off the face of the earth as something new comes along,” Lewis says.
And if keeping up with the latest social media trends, hashtags and dances isn’t for you, that’s something you also need to be aware of, says Foster.
“Please don’t stress doing that; it does not bring anything to your brand,” she explains. “Refocus somewhere else. Maybe you just want to work on Google search engine optimization (SEO), maybe you want to not use social media and you just want to get some ‘kick-a’ search terms and take over some rankings.”
No matter what you decide to do with your social media marketing strategy, keep your community’s interest at heart, and make sure your content relates to your audience. After all, what’s a subscription without a subscriber?
- Actively listen to your community and implement strategies based on what you’re hearing and seeing.
- Do not be afraid to show yourself as the face of your brand. People want to get to know you just as much as they want to know your brand.
- Invest in social media automation to be able to focus on the couple of platforms on which you’re seeing the most growth and engagement.