What can social media do for you?
“I guess we could tag some on”
“I’m not sure we’ll see the value of it”
“It doesn’t feel right for our audience”
Just some of the comments I hear about social media. Still. It baffles me for a couple of seconds at first. Then I quickly delve into the reasons why social media is an essential communications medium and should be included in any and every marketing strategy.
I find myself almost suspicious of companies or brands not on social media or online now. Even if there is just a simple LinkedIn company page it satisfies my suspicion. Strange right? But then again, let’s go back 25 years. Can you imagine not being able to find a company in the Yellow Pages? Same concept, it may as well not exist. Particularly for our modern day Millennials and Gen Y’s who have been raised in an online era.
What exactly IS social media? It’s evolved from what it initially was, which was simply a place for us to reconnect, and to communicate with each other online. It’s fundamentally still that (Tumblr, Reddit, Facebook), but brands have stepped into the channels turning them into strong, viable marketing tools thanks to algorithms, targeting and paid advertising options.
There’s still an element of backlash about algorithms and paid media (I still see it in numerous social media manager groups I’m a part of), but let’s look at the simple economics. There are 1.65million active Facebook users per month and 100million daily Twitter users. For the channels to run smoothly, with no down time, to release new features and technologies that keep us coming back — they need to be funded. Companies and brands advertising on the platform pay for their very existence. So, yes, those videos, sponsored posts and adverts might be annoying (to be fair this is usually a case or poor, or lazy targeting), but they are the reason that the channels exist at all. They’re the reason you can laugh at the latest video your Mum accidentally posted, the reason you can share in someone else’s joy or engage with your favourite brands.
Has this interruption of paid marketing messages taken away the authenticity of Social Media for the end user? Perhaps. Does that make it any less of a viable communications and marketing tool? Not at all. It makes the channels an even stronger contender for your marketing campaigns.
What can social media do? Create live, dynamic, engaging content. Create content that sparks interest and intrigue. Communicate the correct, and relevant information. Steer the conversation. Learn from the conversation to improve the brand, products and how you position both.
Facebook — you might launch a product video, a behind the scenes video, a competition, live stream to introduce your audience to key individuals or influencers.
Twitter — an influencer campaign creating advocates for the new product, a series of tweets incorporating popular hashtags to generate conversation, twitter chats or polls.
LinkedIn — an industry press release, a Pulse article, identifying new connections, connecting with new stakeholders, sharing news in relevant LinkedIn groups or creating your OWN LinkedIn group.
Instagram — using products in unique ways, demonstrating the brand through real employees, a product video, an influencer campaign.
Snapchat — send exclusive content, stories and offers to your followers, surprise live interviews, demonstrating a new live product or launching a competition.
So there’s the content. But social media can also, which none of those other mediums can, is target. Instead of reaching a circulation of 135,879 with a local magazine or billboard or generic eDM– target a circulation of 1,300 who you KNOW are the right audience. Men, aged 25–44, married, follow Company X, like technology. Send them through to your website where they’ll find relevant, interesting content, ask them to enter their details. Boom — you have a lead. Not only that — the right lead from someone who has already taken positive action towards your brand or product.
So why, still in today’s modern digital marketing era, is social still thought of last, and allocated the least budget?* It provides an opportunity to connect on a very personal level to your audience with content that they enjoy and solutions that they are looking for (even if they don’t know it).
Social media has disrupted our personal lives, it’s time to fully embrace it, and let it disrupt our traditional views on marketing campaigns.
Contact me on email@example.com for help on your next social media campaign.
*I realise this is a generalist comment, but it’s based on my own experiences and frustrations I have noted from fellow SMMs.