There's no denying, every company has jumped on the social media bandwagon as a way to reach us smartphone and social media addicts. It's not always right, that's why you need robust social media strategy.
It's fair to say, businesses are flailing. Consumer behaviour changes at an alarming and exciting rate. A lot of business are so entrenched in dogma, they don't know how to handle this changing media and consumer landscape.
Countless brands start social media accounts as they think it's a cheap and easy way to reach customers. They do this without thought. They look at the numbers of users a particular platform has and the amount of media attention it's getting and decide it's the way forward.
When putting a strategy, you need to consider:
The beauty of social media is they have a lot of info on you. They use black magic to tell exactly what personality type you are based on your posts and likes. And they have accurate info on what demographic you fall into. When it comes to targeting, social media leaves email in the cold.
It's ability to accurately target a specific persona means that your marketing isn't wasted on anti-persona or people who won't convert. However, that doesn't mean that a brand should spam every platform with both targeted and untargeted content. You need to consider who you are, what you want to say and where most of your target segment resides.
Is Snapchat the right platform for Castrol or Bic? Probably not. Is Instagram right for Bupa or EDF? Probably not. Is Pinterest right for GWR or Save The Children. That's another no.
You need to consider what you want to say on these platforms. If you're a travel brand, then Instagram and Pinterest are perfect for those inspirational photos of aquamarine lagoons and sweeping landscapes. If you're a food brand, what better way to whet people's appetite with a mouthwatering Snapchat. And Twitter is unrivalled for media agencies and viral content as it thrives on interaction.
There's another trend for marketing department to "buy" likes and followers, as it's pretty embarrassing to launch a Facebook page and have three fans and little engagement.
Likes, shares and followers
I follow brands and influencers on Instagram who hashtag the fuck out of image. While this will get loads of likes, it doesn't mean they convert.
The success criteria of social media is always based on interaction, but hardly every conversion. And let's face it, that's why it exists in the first place.
Sure, social media helps build brand awareness, brings it to life and aides one-to-one conversations with the public, but all of this is meaningless if they don't become customers and advocates.
Your Halloween meme got 20K likes and 5K shares. Your photos from the World Mobile Congress got loads of likes too, but then what? Have these translated into sales? Have you increased your marketing base? Has the brand perception gauge shifted?
If the answer is yes, well done, however, it's all meaningless if the customer experience once they've clicked through is shit and the aftercare isn't up to par.
I used to bemoan sending CRM comms to people knowing that the journey was broken. Why highlight your incompetencies. You might have KPIs, but you need to start with the product and the user experience from soup to nuts.
Most brands just know they need to have it and don't think about the content that's going to be posted.
You need to consider what sort of stuff. Is it the BBC mantra of inform, educate and entertain? Is it customer service or is it click-bait to get people onto a website? Social media is a crowded and noisy place. Make sure your content is good quality, your playing where you have permission and has a purpose.
You also need to add in a process for jumping on trends and news. And dealing with crisis and bad news. As well as a strategy for dealing with trolls, complaints and negative comments.
So while social media is an important tool for marketing, PR, customer service and experience, it needs to be handled with care and not used willy-nilly.