Like Me? Follow Me.
We all know that social media has had a significant impact on the way businesses market themselves online. In fact, it's becoming increasingly uncommon to discover a brand that isn't experimenting with sites like Twitter and Facebook. Yet recently, I've been feeling a little disenchanted by the way some businesses are choosing to promote their brands.
Many accounts I see are simply using social media to 'push' their products and endorse services, without really understanding how to create an effective social media campaign. The importance of this is not exclusive to the big brands; there are too many smaller businesses trying to establish their social media presence with ill-advised or non-existent strategies.
If brands have become more savvy about social media, then so have consumers. Users often don't want to read a stream of generic, automated tweets, nor do they want to follow and interact with businesses that are blatantly trying to promote their services. It's the same for celebrity Twitter endorsements, which continue to be used by brands as a 'quick fix' way to encourage sales and drive extra traffic.
For a sizable fee you can pay celebrities like Kim Kardashian and P Diddy to tweet about your service in the hope that this will appeal to your target market. This may work in the short term, but users are wising up to the commercial advantages of social media and this could threaten the productivity of your campaign.
Social Media With Substance
Why invest time in social media if the end result is uninspired and transparent? Soon this blatant approach will have little or no effect for businesses as consumers become desensitised to "amazing offers", celebrity endorsements and shameless self-promotion.
There are so many ways to creatively enhance your business using social media, and none of them involve paying Kim Kardashian thousands of dollars. It is an exciting time for businesses to use social media and those that take the time to invest in a good strategy are the ones who will reap the benefits. A good campaign is an art form, so i would advise businesses to think carefully about their approach.
Yesterday we showed how a simple idea from Burberry helped the brand's social media campaign conquer London Fashion Week. So, how do you ensure that social media is used to creatively engage your customers?
1. Know Your Market: Recognise who you are targeting and choose your social media platforms accordingly. There's no point subscribing to every social networking site if the people you want to influence are not there. Once you have decided this you can devote time to ensuring your interaction is relevant and appealing.
2. Research Your Competitors: How are your competitors using social media? There is a lot to be gained from the mistakes and successes of similar businesses and this will help to outline your own strategy.
3. Be Creative: Apply your knowledge in an original and remarkable way. Each post or tweet should be a part of a cohesive strategy that gives your customers a reason to connect with your business. Although it may be tempting to self-promote, taking the time to be creative and build a persona will prove more effective in the long term.
4. Know What to Expect: Understanding what to expect from social media is an important part of ensuring your efforts are beneficial. Unlike other elements of online marketing, social media may not have an immediate effect on your revenue. It may take time, but the end benefits are invaluable to the reputation and branding of your business.