For small business owners the social media marketing landscape has become both expensive and confusing. And compounding things, we see the president spending millions, flouting rules and causing mayhem. Meanwhile we all get pinged for the smallest infractions (case in point: FromAtoSHE got slapped for describing our content as ‘kick ass’ in our Twitter bio). If you think there appears to be a two-tier system these days; you would be right. The rules are becoming increasingly difficult to interpret and follow and just when you think you’ve nailed it; you are left scratching your head again. Right? Let’s take a look…
POTUS Takeover of Twitter
The President of the United States (POTUS) has not just used Twitter prolifically, he’s leveraged the platform to lie, threaten, mock and so on. The New York Times did a round-up in November that found Trump tweeted more than 11,000 times (and has likely added about a thousand since then). Sadly more than half of those tweets were directed as an attack on someone or something. And as of today, he’s used Twitter to dangle the option of war with Iran. For many in the Twittersphere, warmongering on the platform has been a line crossed. They have been calling for CEO Jack Dorsey to not allow his place in history to be as an enabler. But as Twitter has communicated previously, if you are a world leader, you can do what you want. Yup, two tier.
Does Twitter Matter to Social Media Mix?
Well, you might not really use Twitter as part of your social media mix, right? In fact, according to April 2019 research by The Pew Research Center, only a small number of users actually tweet and it’s a very narrow demographic. Here are highlights from the report:
- The 10% of those who are most actively tweeting on the platform are responsible for 80% of all tweets created by U.S. users
- Prolific tweeters are more likely to be women: 65%
- Most active tweeters are more likely to post about political issues — 69% of the top 10% most prolific tweeters say they have tweeted about politics; compared with 39% of Twitter users generally
So what does this mean for women-owned businesses? Well, first, you may actually have the right audience engaging on Twitter. But, unfortunately, it could be hard to interact if the topic isn’t politics. That said, it will be interesting to see the fate of Twitter when Trump does eventually leave office. For women business owners it might be worth continuing to engage and hope that the tone does improve and women are ripe to focus on something besides POTUS. In the meantime, expect an inconsistent application of rules!
…And Then There is Facebook & Instagram
Many of us like to pretend Instagram isn’t Facebook…but alas the social media companies are one in the same. Which means the same inconsistency in rule following abounds on both platforms (today Donald Trump Jr. posted a pic on Instagram holding an assault weapon with Hilary Clinton’s face…). And even worse, when it comes to the power of the purse it’s no level playing field. Since Facebook began reporting on political ad spend, Business Insider reported in Nov 2019 that $887 million had been spent on ads about social issues, elections or politics. So if you find it frustrating to follow Facebook’s terms of service don’t expect much attention at your spending levels to resolve.
Where to Focus Social Media: Community & Commerce
So there is good news and a positive path ahead. We believe that women don’t exploit their own personal networks enough. If we all shared our greatest fans and supporters with one another we would start to build even larger networks of influence. Every day we all introduce friends who have similar businesses. We swap services and give tips and support. Many businesses have lost sight of how this type of organic activity generates the highest ROI in the end. The key is to focus social media activity on generating organic engagement and then save your spend for the new commerce tools and platforms. A few specific tips:
Don’t Obsess Over Social Media Numbers
It’s a ‘forest for the trees’ type of conundrum we find ourselves in. While obsessing over followers and likes we often lose site of whether users *actually* like what they are liking. Are these people who actually will use your product or service? Do they have solid followers and friends? Quality over quantity without a doubt count. Also if you spend too much time focused on the numbers, you begin to miss the new tools and tricks that actually make a difference.
Look for Partnership Opportunities
Female business owners can often lack the confidence to ask for what they want. But partnering in any capacity can be a powerful way to grow. Back to the network effect: if you find like-minded business owners; the natural way to grow is to exploit your collective networks. Look on social media for businesses you admire and reach out. It’s really that easy.
Stay on Top of New Tools and Platforms
Often when we think we’ve figured out one aspect of a social media platform, it changes. For instance, for everyone paying for ‘likes’ on Instagram, the platform is testing the removal of like numbers. Or when algorithms change and so on. It can be so frustrating. That’s why it’s important to stay one step ahead. Social commerce tools are going to play an increasing role on all platforms and, of course, Instagram is well on its way. How are you leveraging? What else is new and interesting? You may be tired of watching your kids ‘vogue’ throughout the house memorizing TikTok moves. But is it a platform that you should explore for your business? Nothing should be off the table.