The buzz of Web 2.0 – which was the foundation of “social marketing” is now well over 16 years old. Older than some of your users and Facebook as a platform is already losing these young users to other means of online social activity (one of the reasons they bought WhatsApp in the first place!).
Time to look at “social marketing” again and a little Friday clean up session here:
Most of our customers get “social” wrong or only partially and that should be stopped for the sake of wasted marketing dollars.
First of all: “Social Marketing” has different aspects to talk about before you start to create a “strategy”. Let us split the big hype into practical areas of work:
- The major goal of social marketing is to bring users to you, not to bring your users to Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat. If you link to your Facebook profile from your homepage: ok, but that is basically the wrong way (let me exaggerate a little bit here).
- Social Marketing also implies that people share your content (aka Content Marketing) because it is of upmost interest for their peer group. That can be a stupid joke with a cat (that would cover the interest of laughing and feeling good) or it can be a video of a machine stamping steel parts (that can look impressive to engineers and might be in their realm of interest).
- Communication is the core of social. Engagement is the core of communication. And that builds that bridge back to (1): in the end you want the users to come to you and trust your brand. Even if you have no backlink and no direct channel from your social activity to your homepage, you represent an approachable entity and when I come to you, I got the feeling I know you.
So, to clear the big major misunderstanding right up: linking to your twitter profile and your social activities is not “doing social” – bringing users to landing pages, that communicate clearly what you want and they trust you, BECAUSE you are social is the key.
Blasting links out into the social networks is also not the way to “do social”, but creating shareable content and finding the right peer groups to COMMUNICATE with is!
Social Marketing and your work
Employing a social media manager is basically part of a broader brand strategy (we are here and we want your business) and in the ancient days (like 20 years ago ;-), that was simply a toll-free number and offering a hotline. Now there is more activity involved:
- Define a character for your company or product, that you want to represent for the next 2-10 years (things change anyhow, but just start here) – that is part of your brand identity. Even if you are just a small 2 (wo)men team: get your character as sharp and clearly defined as possible. That can be: funny, innovative and quick. It can also be “secretive” or “aggressive” – point is, you have to build up that character now with social marketing for the next years – so, choose wisely, not quickly!
- Empower your representative (or yourself) to live that character online. Representing values for a company requires training. Most smaller companies we talk to forget that. It also requires a person, who is willing and able to represent these values. Getting a vegetarian into the social marketing team for your burger store might just not be a good idea.
- Less is more: think about the last 10 things you shared and how many of these 10 things had real monetary value for the brand/product involved. Do not blast every senseless information out. Choose a clear message (that includes a joke, info snippet, update) and target the interest group for that snippet – eg. for my peer group, I have shared infos of online marketing experts and one product I bought myself. (Side note: for that sharing of the product I got an email of the marketing department with a $20 voucher and a big thank you from the vendor. Nice attention from them! I am sharing it again – see?)
- Learn and improve, remove the clutter: If you see that things are not shared and do not hit any real interest: change your ways. For example: I have learned for my geek posts (database configuration and coding stuff), that the interest groups are very small. But on the right platforms they work. A database config is not for LinkedIn and a new product announcement is not for github.
So, “social marketing” has grown up. It has produced children like “content marketing” and “influencer marketing” and basically it cooks down to get the communication about your product or services and bringing the horde to your pages where they (happily) convert into customers in the end.
Interesting links and articles
- Hubspot is a pretty good tool to help you do social marketing and they use the techniques described above quite well for themselves: they write good articles about it: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/proven-social-media-engagement-strategies
- Some predictions for 2018: https://www.plannthat.com/top-social-media-trends-2018/
- The dictionary of Social Marketing by the German/American Ryte tool: https://en.ryte.com/wiki/Category:Social_Media to get your terms and buzzwords ryte… aeh, right…