Companies know that in order to do marketing right, it has to be social. Huge companies like Coca Cola and tiny companies like your local mom and pop are all on social. But are they all doing it right? Not really. Better question: Is your company doing it right? If your company isn’t doing the following, it may be time for a social media strategy overhaul:
1. It’s Called Social for a Reason. Many brands are “active” on social, but few of them are really using it correctly. Social media is not a broadcast station. If your company is just posting without communication, it’s doing social all wrong. Social media is an open door between brand and stakeholder, a two-way communication tool. The true value of the medium is having the ability to speak directly to the customer, taking them from casual buyer to brand advocate. Engage with people, assign a community manager to your profiles to monitor conversations.
Caution: If your company isn’t ready to hear what stakeholders have to say about it, your not ready for social. Don’t believe me? Just ask Chapstick.
2. New + Traditional = Perfect. Simply creating a social media profile does not bring the likes/followers to you. I often have to explain to people that if they want their Facebook followers to jump from 10 to 1,000 in a month, they need to take the marketing offline (or invest in advertising). Use traditional forms of marketing to draw traffic to your social media profiles. Advertising should include a hashtag and Twitter handle or a Facebook page URL. Use those marketing dollars offline to get customers to engage online. Take for instance Petflow.com’s campaign that encourages customers to go to Facebook and share photos of their pets. The company uses its packaging to create awareness about their social media presence, and then follow up with a call to action to entice customers to act. From the looks of it, it has been a pretty successful campaign.
3. Combine with PR. Think of social media as the gateway to all of the world’s influencers. Whether your company’s focus is in consumer goods or B2B, there are journalists, bloggers and business owners/ industry leaders who are actively influencing people on social media. Engage with the influencers of the world for an RT, mention, Facebook post shout out, re-pin, etc. to boost your company’s rapport and reputation.
Likewise, thought leadership is a great way to position your company as an expert in your space. Publish blog articles about thought provoking topics and new ideas. Ask influencers engaging questions to get people really talking about topics in your respective industry. These things combined with the #4 below are extremely effective in social.
4. Everything with a message. While some brands are just broadcasting their marketing message, others are engaging quite a lot, but are not including a message in their conversations at all. A company must find a happy medium with these. Every single post, tweet, video or pin that your company publishes on its social media profiles should be informed by branding and messaging. Brand messaging combined with lifestyle and related topics creates a genuine yet targeted marketing approach in social media. Create a set of key messages for your brand and ensure that they are subtly weaved through every piece of content that is published. Emphasis on the subtle. (Reread #1 if you don’t understand).
If your company keeps these four things in mind it will be a lot more effective in marketing on social media. It may even see an ROI.
Samantha Afetian is a senior at San Diego State University graduating this December with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in public relations. She can be contacted at @SamAfetian or SamAfetian at gmail.com. Find out more at www.samanthaafetian.com.