Posting consistently on your channels can be a time-consuming and expensive task, so it’s easy to become disheartened if you aren’t seeing a return on your investment. But with 4.7 billion people worldwide now actively using some form of social media, it is, of course, a fantastic place to start.

Social media is a platform that helps us to reach and connect with our ideal audiences, where we can show ourselves in our best light and kick off those important conversations.

It’s a bit like finding the perfect date on a dating app – a way of finding and nurturing new relationships. While dating apps might not be everyone’s cup of tea, the comparison is a useful way of gaining a fresh perspective in order to humanise your marketing efforts.

Look at where social media sits in your own marketing mix and consider how you can better find and build mutually beneficial relationships via a multi-channel approach that you can take to the next level.

Finding the ideal brand follower is much like finding the ideal date – read on for some top tips on finding your own happy ending...

Putting yourself out there with social media

We can assume that, by being on the app in the first place, our dream client is open to discovering something new and making new connections. And just like a dating app, the algorithm uses the information it knows about you to put you in front of your ideal match, or in our case, those who are most likely to value our content. This makes being present on the platform a solid first choice to start your search for the perfect customers. However, we must be aware that our audiences, when using these platforms, are also likely to be ‘window shopping’ and swiping through to pass the time.

Social media is considered ‘top of funnel’, so to be successful we must consider the user's current mindset when on the platform. They are there to be entertained and to browse - they are unlikely to make any meaningful decisions or want to be confronted with them either. So at this stage play it cool, don’t be too keen and don’t ask users to submit an enquiry or purchase your product too early.

Making sure your audience ‘swipes right’ and starts a conversation

To attract our ideal audiences on social, our content must feel personable and genuine by communicating clearly who we are, what we do and why. Any images or graphics you use must be visually appealing at first glance and be easy to understand.

We only have a very short time to make an impression so use high-quality, unique content to help cut through the noise. No one likes a date that talks entirely about themselves either. Use this platform to spark up that initial conversation, ask your audience about themselves and post relatable content that will resonate with them.

Every piece of content you put out must be open-ended, and be easy for users to respond to. Otherwise, your new connection will start and end as many conversations do on dating apps, dull and cut short with no meaningful exchange made.

Don’t be a catfish - be authentic and consistent across all channels

Once your audience starts to consider you and your services or products as an ideal match for them, they are likely to do some additional research to make sure you are credible. This will involve looking you up on your website and across your other social media channels.

It is crucial to ensure your branding, key messages and purpose are consistent across all channels. If your website isn’t up to scratch or you haven’t posted on your Facebook since 2018, this could be a turn-off for any potential new customers.

Take it off the app

A dating app’s function is to help you find a match and spark an initial conversation, but you wouldn’t continue your communication on the platform indefinitely. The same goes for social media.

Once you have established a rapport, it’s time to consider asking your audiences to connect with you off the app. Having contact with your audiences across multiple touchpoints will help integrate your brand into the lives of your ideal customer, putting you at the forefront of their mind.

Email marketing and social media work hand-in-hand to nurture these new relationships. You can say to your audiences that if they like your content, they can receive exclusive offers, deals or insider information sent straight to their inboxes. Meaningful call-to-actions (CTAs) are a great way of doing this, they help users understand what actions they should take having read your post. Once they have signed up, email gives us a more direct approach to staying in touch and forms the next stage of the sales funnel.

Staying in touch

A well-executed email welcome should help ease your audience towards making a purchase or submitting an enquiry. At this stage, the key is to keep the conversation going and encourage your audience to convert.

According to recent studies, email marketing has a considerably higher click-through rate than popular social platforms, not to mention a much higher conversion rate. This is largely down to the mindset of the audience at this stage in the marketing funnel. They are committed enough to have shared their details with you and are in a much better position to purchase, compared to when they knew you only on the app.

So, is social media marketing like online dating?

The main takeaway here is that, as marketers, we shouldn’t forget that our ideal audiences are real people. Much like building a new relationship online, our new connections need time to get to know us and to build their trust. They will look for various indicators in our online presence to decide whether we are worthy of their interest, if we are who we say, and whether they should pass on their details - and ultimately invest their energy into going on a date.

The date stage in this analogy is of course when our audience decides to use our services or buy our product; a financial investment in this case. Continuing to build your relationship off-app on a platform such as email marketing steers your new connection into a different mindset. A user who is scrolling social media and procrastinating is not ready to make any important decisions. But someone who has chosen to stay in touch on another platform is much more likely to be - and one you can happily build a future with.

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