You must be thinking that in my two previous blogs I wrote about the most important parts of digital marketing without writing about the social media… Did you think that I missed it? Did you?
We have been talking about Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned Mediums and in this blog, I will be writing about the second part of ‘Owned’.
If website is the hero, SOCIAL MEDIA is the SUPER STAR
Social Media entered our lives sometime around 2003, the likes Orkut (remember?) and Facebook were the new buzzwords and people were getting a hang of these platforms. Facebook as a platform grew over us and it turned out to be a great way for people to connect and communicate. It helped connect with old friends and even the new ones you wanted to know more about ;). More and more people got glued to various social sites so much so that now Facebook is now the third largest country in the world. How much ever people deny and say that they don’t like to be on Social Media, they are present and actively using one or the other platform. So, Social Media is something you can’t miss.
Even for marketers, Social Media is a great way to reach and engage consumers with interesting content. It helps in approaching consumers in a much more targeted way unlike any other traditional media like Television, Print, etc.
Having worked on a lot of Social Media campaigns from setting them up, to defining their success factors (KPIs), to driving them, I can share the following imperatives from my experience:
- Be omnipresent – Be available on all the relevant platforms. Be it Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Quora…anything and everything visited by your consumers. It helps consumers find and engage with you wherever they are. It also helps in search initiatives in many ways. By the way, just to clarify, by being present I do not mean you need to spend money on promotions. What you need to do is create your brand’s pages on all the relevant platforms by filling complete information on the profiles so that the page looks authentic. Also, post your brand’s communication on the Social Media pages regularly.
- Create engaging content – While product information is of utmost importance, one must not forget that one cannot win on Social Media by just blowing one’s own trumpet. To engage with consumers, you need to do more. You need to post content which consumers would love to see or relate to. Content that not only engages your consumers positively, but also make them share it with their friends and family. Some of the content buckets you can consider can be celebration of important days, things to do/know related to the category you are in, inspirational quotes, contests, real consumer stories/ testimonials, DIY tips, etc. But again, the caution is to keep the content simple.
- Be always on – After setting-up the page and defining the kind of content you want to put on the page, you need to devise a calendar which will help you be present online. It is important to be present 24x7x365 days so that the consumers are engaged all around the year. Social Media gives you the chance to actually publish fresh content every day. But that is not what you should be doing. Define and schedule the posts and updates strategically, so that a variety of content is placed in front of the consumers, at the right time. Don’t be sporadic in your posting.
- Don’t complicate – Well, after having the content buckets and its posting calendar in place, it becomes really important to choose how much to say in one piece of communication. I would suggest the KISS strategy (Keep it Simple and Sexy). Choose your key communication messages wisely. Do not put too many things in one post. The ideal way to go about this is the “one picture one message” approach. For that matter, Facebook does not allow promotion of posts containing more than 2% text. . The writing is on the wall for delivering clear message it’s important to keep it simple… so go Kiss J
- Think mobile – Designing content basis platform and device is most important as we want consumers to not only see our content but also engage with it. Statistically, 80% of India consumes content on mobile. While designing content make sure your creative is mobile friendly. Pictures, fonts, and the call to action should be visible clearly on a mobile device. As an example, imagine sitting in a boring meeting, you browse YouTube or Facebook. Will you turn your phone horizontally to see the video? Most of the people see the content in a vertical format and hence creatives should be made keeping that in mind.
- Create Videos and GIFS – Video content is the new drug. We all love stories and videos allow us to show, tell and explain stories better. More video content helps consumers to engage better with. According to scientific studies, people retain 70% of audio-visual communication. It can be just a two slide story or a two-minute video. Don’t forget to have subtitles in your video. I am sure you know why I am saying that ;).
- Link your website, shamelessly – While the page is yours, Facebook is owned by Mark Zuckerberg. You want your consumers to come to your platform i.e. your website. The same is applicable to all Social Media platforms. It not only helps you to engage with your consumers, but also indulge them with more brand related content available on your website.
- Link to ‘Shop now’ – This does not need any further explanation. One should not miss the opportunity to sell on any of the Social Media platforms. Consumers tend to spend money shopping online. You just need to promptly and redirect them to a page they can buy your brand from.
- Always reply/respond – Unlike any other traditional media, Social Media is all about a two-way communication with your consumers. Real time. When consumers engage with your content on Social Media, expect them to ask you questions, raise queries and post feedback. They know you are reading it and they expect a prompt response or issue resolution. Ensure you have the right people responding to consumers with the right messages/resolutions at the right time. Set-up a response time-frame and publish it on your handles for people to know. Set-up an escalation mechanism. There have been instances when I, as a consumer, have used Social Media to love or hate brands. When my issues have not been resolved on time, I have turned nasty. You would not want that to happen to your brand.
- Not everything will work right the first time – Well, I learnt this the hard way. Always be prepared to fail and learn. All your posts will not necessarily get the same kind of response in terms of reach and engagement. Every content piece is like an ad and not all ads you create work with consumers. Try to learn from posts that did not work well to avoid the same mistake in the past. The reasons for a bad result can be many – bad creative, bad timing, sub-optimal spend, etc. You don’t want your posts to just do “OK” but you want them to do “great”. So it’s important to fail miserably a couple of times to understand what exactly works and what does not.
While all the points above are applicable to all of Social Media, below is a brief description of each of the key platforms. This will help you understand them better and will also highlight specific purposes of each of them… So here we go:
- Most actively used social media platform – with the widest reach
- Helps reach and engage consumers
- Promotion is really simple, inexpensive, and you can easily run it yourself
- Important: Now it is imperative to promote every post you publish on your page. The new algorithm of Facebook does not necessarily show all your posts to all the followers of your page if people have not engaged with your posts. This can happen even if they have liked and followed your Facebook page
- This is a micro-blogging network
- Helps drive conversations and plays an important role in influencer marketing
- Promotion, like Facebook, is simple, not as inexpensive, but you can easily run it yourself
- Important: Most Twitter users use the platform to reach out to brands for complaints and review of the products & services and bad reviews tend to get more attention. So, beware!
- Most actively used video search platform. Today, YouTube is the No. 1 search platform in India. Yes, it has crossed Google!
- People visit the platform to watch videos of interest across genres.
- Promotion is expensive and needs experts on the job
- Important: Interesting content once posted on YouTube works as hard as you do and can go viral in no time. What you should do is create content relevant to your brand and ensure people like it. Link your YouTube content to your website and other social media pages to drive views
- The most actively used platforms for visual and video content.
- Extremely effective in influencer marketing
- Promotion on Instagram works exactly like Facebook
- Important: You can link your promotions on Facebook and Instagram – making them more efficient
- The most actively used platform for working professionals
- People visit the platform to seek information on categories and organizations, company updates, selling B2B services and hiring/seeking jobs
- Can be very useful if you have to do professional/B2B marketing and share updates about your product/organization. Promotion on LinkedIn is expensive
- Important: Even if you are not into professional/B2B marketing, you should maintain a detailed, well written company profile to strengthen your reputation in the industry. Do not forget to share links of your website and social media pages on your LinkedIn profile
- The most actively used Q&A website, where the questions can be asked and anyone can answer them to the best of their knowledge
- People visit the platform to seek answers to their queries or specific questions and to seek consumer feedback
- Important: You should definitely maintain a page on this platform. You can answer questions related to your brand or category and easily link them back to your website and social media pages. The only word of caution here is to be thorough with your topic
While I have tried to list the latest understanding of each of the platform, I strongly advise you to keep looking for newer updates on each of the platforms that you actively use. Change is the only constant when it comes to the rules of the game on Social Media. The algorithms, platforms and offerings keep changing and trust me you would not want to be left behind on the same.
Coming to the end of my blog, I want to confess that I love Social Media Marketing. My friends call me “Facebook Raonka” (Raonka being my last name). I am blatantly always online, looking out for conversations, trends and campaigns happening on each of the platforms I love calling it “social listening”. Imagine a job that pays you to be on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or for that matter even on WhatsApp. It needs a lot of hard work and dedication.
Uff I am working so hard all the time…I need a break 😉
In the next blog, I will cover the last (but definitely not the least important) topic – SEO. Until then, Go social…in the Digital space!