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Social media marketing is hard.

It's not that Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and their cousins are so difficult to figure out. Mastering the art of earning people's attention, building trust through valuable content and engagement, and storytelling consistently within social platforms are the daunting challenges. Especially if you are a business.

If your business wants its social media marketing to achieve real objectives, be prepared to spend a ton of time, thought and effort. The long and winding road to social media marketing success requires creative content, testing, analysis, monitoring, expertise, patience and strategy.

That's a tall order. 

So, how do businesses of any size win the social media marketing game?

Their content needs to meet consumers at the Intersection of Intent.

What Consumers Want

At the core of the disconnect between most brands and consumers is the fact that both exhibit different intentions for having social media accounts. People generally go on social media platforms multiple times per day looking for one or more of the following:  

  • Distraction
  • Entertainment
  • Connection
  • Inspiration
  • Communication

If my fiancee is relaxing after a long day and sees an interesting Tasty video in her Facebook feed, she stops scrolling and watches it. If she sees a cute corgi picture on Instagram, she'll stop scrolling, like it and tag me in the comments. If I'm scrolling through LinkedIn's Pulse feed looking for a quick read in the morning and I see a headline and an image that interests me, I'll click on it. I'll read the article. On and on and on.

Consumers don't want much to come between them and their cooking videos, cute puppy pictures, relevant news or daily inspiration.

What Businesses Want

As consumers use social media platforms for all the reasons mentioned above, businesses are trying to figure out how to grab their attention. Businesses want consumers' time, which is probably the most valuable asset we all have. Social media platforms can be attractive channels to market in because of the time spent there by monthly active users. So, businesses sign up for accounts, they designate a person to oversee all social media activity, and utilize the platforms for:

  • Distribution
  • Engagement
  • Conversions
  • Data
  • Research

What consumers want out of social media and what businesses want are different.

The Intersection of Intent

The sweet spot for social media marketing success is what I refer to as The Intersection of Intent—where brands intentionally deliver the type of content that provides consumers' what they are looking for.

If we want to reach people while they purposefully distract themselves on their phones, marketers need to deliver entertaining or inspiring content. Brands need to blend into the information-seeking experience. Or the connection experience. Brands need to communicate WITH people, not AT people. Whatever experience people are seeking on their preferred social platforms, that's what marketers should attempt to simulate.

The sooner your business starts creating social content for its target audience and not for yourself, the sooner you'll see your community grow. Meet your audience at the Intersection of Intent, and you'll start to see more referrals, more engagement, more clicks, more shares, more leads and more sales. 

Social media marketing success does not happen overnight. Be patient and always bring value.

Thanks for giving me your attention and reading this post. If you liked this article, please share it. If you have something to say about the topic, please comment below.