Is Your Social Media Strategy Sending the Right Message?
Post it. Tweet it. Pin it. Instagram it. Blog it.
These are just a few terms that have been added to the long list of marketing strategies aimed at consumers today. With the click of a button, a company can announce new products, accomplishments, and interact with customers all in one place. In our constantly connected world of iPhones and Androids, consumers have access to an instantaneous stream of updates on their favorite brands.
In theory it would appear that social media is every marketing specialists’ dream come true. But believe it or not, there is a right and wrong way to use it. Numerous companies have fallen into the trap of spending major cash to produce a measurable ROI (return on investment) but fall short on expectations.
So, why is that?
Often times, companies spending large amounts of money on social media are ignoring the other important components of a marketing strategy. Social media is a great tool to use, but it should be used alongside the larger marketing activities to help increase awareness. Using social media as the only aspect of a marketing strategy can result in an unclear or overlooked message. (1)
Another trap many companies fall into is the loss of ‘human’ interaction on social media sites. The posts and tweets contain only information on the brands, not the people that make up the brand. According to a 2013 Nielsen study, 84 percent of people trust recommendations from people they know, while only 42 percent of people trust banner ads. In order to send the right message, a company must find a way to humanize an otherwise abstract entity. It is important for employees to share content that reflects themselves, the employees at their company, and their community rather than just sharing sponsored banner ads and corporate messages. In a 2013 KRC Research study, only 39 percent of employees were found sharing positive messages about their employer online. People are more likely to interact with a company through social media when they feel they are connecting with a real human being, and not just a computer generated response. To give customers the ‘face to face’ feeling of interaction, it is important to answer questions and comments with responses that a real person would say, rather than a corporate ‘public relations’ type response. A customer is more likely to continue interacting with a company through its social media sites if they feel the company is taking their questions and comments seriously and replying with sincere feedback. People relate better to other people, rather than the brand of the company. (2)
A great way to engage with customers is through interactive social media posts, like questions or contests. This shows the customer that the company wants them to interact and voice their opinion. Starbucks has a great example of an interactive social media series with #HowWeMet. Hundreds of people have liked, shared pictures, and commented on the #HowWeMet with sentimental stories of meeting husbands, wives, and best friends while at a Starbucks. (3)
The key to successful social media usage is personable interaction between employees and customers. Be real, people connect better with other people, rather than inanimate entities.