23rd September 2014
Social Media’s been with us for a while now but actually using it in a successful marketing strategy is still rare to see. Certainly for small to medium size businesses this is true.
Successful Social Media Marketing is not easy or free and not done properly it doesn’t even work.
People mistakenly consider Social Media to be an easy cheap option but the reality for most businesses is that it is neither. It is true that certain categories can do really well quickly and easily. One example springs to my mind about a colleague of ours at Touch Marketing. Establishing a fan site for fishing was immediately successful and relatively easy for him. Success was fast with the availability of a massive ultra engaged and ultra passionate fishing audience just gagging to hear yet another story about the best place and method to catch fish.
So the moral of this story seems to be Yes! Social is great when you have a ready-made target audience. But what about the small businesses that make Stainless Steel, sell Plywood or move furniture? Is Social Media Marketing appropriate for them?
The answer is still yes – but with caveats and conditions. This excellent blog Digital PR makes the point very clearly and concisely establishing a few truths about the reality of Social Media Marketing. I’m paraphrasing freely here so all credit to Digital PR for these observations.
Facebook is NOT an owned channel. “It’s time to stop thinking about Facebook as an owned channel and start thinking about it as an earned channel.”
As a brand on Facebook you don’t own your fans or the platform. Facebook is geared up for users not brands.
Facebook is NOT free. “Building and maintaining an engaged community requires resources – both human and financial. In order of importance”
- Get a Strategy. Understand what you are trying to achieve, the type of conversations you want to have with users, how to make it interesting. Then create a reporting template that somehow measures these things over time.
- Great content is mandatory. “Facebook is a content-hungry platform requiring a constant stream of great content and conversations.” Infographics, videos, photos, quotes are all good sources of creative ideas. Help people by showing your users how to do things. Engage with them sincerely.
- Community Management. “Get a good community manager” This is where most businesses going it alone with social media FAIL. By considering the medium as a necessary nuisance they need to cover off, many businesses get a junior person to manage their social media. If not Junior then someone in a traditional marketing role like a designer or account manager juggling lots of other roles. Success on social however, requires insight, understanding, commitment and most importantly time. You need to understand branding, PR, design and the zeitgeist. It’s a skill.
- Paid Media Support. “How much you need to spend on Facebook promotion depends on how well the three steps above have been done.” Paying fees to Facebook to promote Posts, content and competitions etc definitely works but again it is a strategic recipe that requires all the steps above are done properly in order to get the most out of it. You can easily waste money as you can with something like Google Ad Words.
Finally, to answer the question is Social Media appropriate for my business I would like to leave you with my own observations.
Having been in media and advertising for many years both here and overseas and now doing a Masters around Social Media in Auckland, everyone needs to understand that Social Media is here to stay. In other words it’s how people talk to each other now, share information, get opinions and get reviews and advice. Social Media Marketing in Auckland needs a strategy and a company should get good advice before proceeding. There is a saying in the marketing worlds
“Social Media is easy until it is done right”
Like the telephone and TV a few generations ago Social Media networks have moved the goal posts. Companies that Scrooge like, ignore this fundamental shift will simply be left behind, ignorant about the latest developments even within their own industry’s. The technology has come of age and people now expect to be able to see what’s going on, get an opinion, find a tradesman, and learn new things just using their Social channels. It’s immediate, verifiable, reliable and huge.
Businesses need to change their attitudes toward the medium. “Not interested”, “I don’t care”, “I’m a technophobe”, “it’s just a fad etc are all things I’ve heard at Touch Marketing. But doing business is no longer a static thing because communication no longer is. It’s fluid, varied and instant, even internationally and that has changed the business playing field.
Customers can do so much more than looking for you in the Yellow Pages to find out what you’re selling and Business owners need to understand this has fundamentally changed the advertising conversation. It’s not so much look what we’ve got, come and get it but more, look what we’ve got, come and talk to us about how it can help you and while your down here I’ll show you a lot of other cool things you can do too.
Check out this infographic from one of our clients with their results
Hey I’ll even give you some free stuff. Businesses that offer more will sell more. The maxim hasn’t really changed but the parameters of what constitutes customer service have considerably widened.
Social has put users in control; it’s a beauty contest, a customer service contest, and a knowledge contest and users will choose and go to what’s best for them.
There is an upside. Your business can, be do and sell so much more.