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Social media has made its mark and morphed into a ‘must-have’ platform to interact with customers, build a fan base and lead generation for most companies. The social media landscape has redefined the way we treat each other as individuals, the way customers interact with brands and the way employees interact with employers. Brands are quickly coming to the realization that the act of marketing is no longer just the sole responsibility of the marketing department. The viral nature of social media demands that brands find allies to distribute content as far and wide as possible. The best content benefits from having industry experts, bloggers, PR and Social Media professionals, business partners, employees and customers – join in the rallying cry, each providing a unique spin on the information.

Having said that, companies need to establish clear and defined guidelines in the dissemination of content in Social Media – to avoid making costly mistakes.

Focus on communicating what you do, not what you sell

Selling directly and incessantly to your prospects is a definite turn-off. No one likes to be sold to while hanging out with their friends – in the digital space (or not). Communicate about your brand’s mission, vision and values through online conversations within your industry. Create conversations surrounding current issues with your consumers to find out what makes them tick. Relate to how your company’s product and services can help to problem-solve these issues. Subtlety does wonders while hard-selling may cause unfollows and further instil the notion – that your company don’t care.

Do not post confidential information

Social platforms can be a conduit for unintentional release of confidential information relating to your company’s trade secrets or other forms of data leaks. The repercussion can range from minor embarrassment to serious legal, financial and reputation damage. It is imperative to pre-empt the stakeholders or employees who are involved in the distribution of content on the potential risks that they are exposed to. Get them to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDA) pegged to either their employment or service contracts.

Engage with your audience by welcoming all opinions but do not defame or disparage others

Social media is the place where connections happen hence it is imperative to welcome all opinions. Leverage on the positive comments to spread goodwill and treat negative comments as reviews to your brand’s shortfall – strive to be better. Having said that – do we have to reply to all comments? Not necessarily, learn to differentiate between a genuine complaint that requires attention to that negative comment coming from an anonymous troll. Take it private if you must (for damage control) or post an explanation (relating to the incident) but never resort to arguing with your audience on social platforms. It pays to be the bigger person.

Pick the right social platforms to engage with your target audience and be consistent

The big names in the social media game are always changing and these platforms run the risk of becoming dated a year down the road. Invest in social networks that connect you to your target audience and build the relationship through consistent postings. Spending resources on social platforms that gathers little or no engagement is a form of misdirected targeting that bears no result. Look at the data of the different platforms and segment its users by age, interests, geography, income and gender – then select according to your company’s marketing strategy. For example, LinkedIn is better suited for B2B (business-to-business) companies seeking leads, with a more traditional focus. Technology and Media industries can reap benefits from video hosting sites such as YouTube to showcase explainer videos or other original content. There is no one-size-fits-all solution on which platforms to best invest in but you can leverage on the data analytics to ascertain if you are receiving the highest ROI.

Viral content – a boon or a bane?

In many of our articles, we have emphasized the importance of churning valuable content – be it to educate, to inspire or to engage with online users. While it is challenging to predict if your content is viral-ready, treat every of your social media content as having the potential to be so. Going viral can either be a blessing or a curse. It may help to raise awareness of causes and pique people’s interest. However, the essence of the actual message can get diluted or lost in translation. In worst-case scenarios, viral content can potentially cause confusion or deepen misconception. The ALS ice bucket challenge brought in USD115 million in donations but there were concerns whether participants understood the purpose of the challenge. There is an unspoken social responsibility that is pegged to viral content. Context is as important as the content – it adds specificity (gives meaning) to your content which builds a connection with your customers, that ultimately rouses conversations.

Sources:

  1. Successful Digital Marketing in a week, Nick Smith
  2. The Social Employee (How Great Companies Make Social Media Work), Cheryl and Mark Burgess
  3. Julien Samson; https://writingcooperative.com/why-context-matters-in-writing-f52ad075c07a
  4. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2018/09/12/are-you-prioritizing-the-best-social-media-platform-for-your-business/#1cca58537150

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