24th November 2016

Social Media Strategy: Can't See the Wood for the Trees?

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You can’t see the wood for the trees

One of the issues we hear constantly from prospective SME clients is that they don’t have time for social media.

They have to devote so much energy to the day to day issues of running a business – whether that’s acquiring new business, servicing existing clients, or dealing with staff and admin issues, that something as seemingly superfluous as posting on Instagram just isn’t a priority.

And we get that.

In truth, this is actually another facet of a common issue facing SME owners, which is that they become so overwhelmed by day to day tactics that they lose the overall perspective that allows them to think strategically.

They can’t see the wood for the trees.

But the reality is that, to be successful long-term, business owners do need to think strategically and they do need to pay attention to social media.

When we’re discussing the importance of social media with our clients, we often use the example of fashion magazines. In their heyday of the 1980s and 90s, anyone passionate about fashion would religiously buy their magazine of choice, be that Cosmopolitan, Vogue, Elle, or whatever. And these magazines would be hugely padded with advertising – in fact you often had to flick through 10 to 15 pages of adverts even to reach the contents page.

This wasn’t necessarily an issue for the magazine buyer. In fact the adverts – beautifully shot, high concept, revealing the latest trends being pushed by the brand owners – were half the reason for buying the magazine in the first place.

Today’s fashionista doesn’t buy print magazines like she used to – magazine sales are a terrifyingly small fraction of what they used to be - but she’s just as passionate and engaged about fashion, now following her favourite brands on Instagram.

She flicks through their latest posts on the way to work, finds new designers based on recommendations from the beauty bloggers she admires and gets the latest trends from the catwalk through live-streamed video.

She’s part of what The Future Laboratory call Gen Viz.

Leading brands like Burberry have recognised this new level of access to fashion with their “show now, buy now, wear now” policy; all their new designs showcased on the catwalk – previously intended to set the scene for the following season – from now on will be online and in the shops, available to buy immediately.

Newly launched brands like NYX Cosmetics rely entirely on social media for building their market presence; our Head of Visual @rmpix shot a number of NYX’s UK department store launches earlier this year, where key social media influencers hosted meet and greet sessions with thousands of their followers.

The personal-feeling relationships they had developed through their social media platforms were leveraged by NXY to produce one of L’Oreal Group’s most successful-ever brand launches.

Obviously we understand that, as an SME owner, you’re unlikely to have the resources of L’Oreal (we can dream big!) but that shouldn’t preclude you from being able to climb to the top of a tree, survey the woods and take some time to think strategically about the direction in which you’re travelling.

What kind of demographic does your business appeal to – and which social media platform are they chiefly using day to day?

What times are they most active?

What kind of content drives their engagement?

These are all questions we can help you to answer with our #visualfirst approach to social media strategy. 

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