As I interact more and more with my clientele, I do get a feeling that entrepreneurs and brands are still skeptical about choosing Social Media as one of the marketing channel. Even if they do, they lack consistency and give up easily without exploring the power and reach of social media.
When a brand decides to go for social media, it faces multiple challenges. Right from the basic establishment on the social networking platform to lead generation, with an ever-evolving field like social media, keeping one abreast and churning out maximum ROI(Return of Investment) is a herculean task!
To begin with, at the inception point, the brands should create a unified approach. This strategy should include inputs from customer services, PR, marketing and other relevant departments of their business.
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While devising the social media strategy, companies always face questions which seem easy but are rather difficult from the business point of view.
Few of them are listed below –
What different sites should a company target for their social media efforts?
It depends on the following factors –
- The business segment of the company, whether it is B2B, B2C oriented or both?
- Goals, visions and objectives a company stands for
- Culture, location also plays a vital role
If B2B – the company ought to rely extensively on LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter. They should also pay attention to lesser known sites like Quora and Toolbox as they have few but targeted audiences.
If B2C – the company should place Facebook as its primary priority, followed by Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube etc. B2C business segment has a lot of options to choose as it is not limited to any major group of people and can avail lot of opportunities, various generic social media channels can offer.
If both – the company has to thoughtfully choose the social media channels and divide the work in proper steps with a time frame for each.
The steps can be –
- Initial Buzz and Awareness
- Branding Campaigns
- Reach and Penetration
- Nurturing the reach
- Sales Based Campaigns etc.
The efforts should be well directed and focused towards building a robust brand presence online.
What are the biggest mistakes that companies make when it comes to social media?
With increased Internet usage, more and more companies are indulging in online marketing and promotional activities. But very few follow the correct path
- Little Understanding of Social Media
Social media being dynamic and ever-evolving, very few companies actually take efforts to make the best possible use of the medium. Social media is often regarded as a place of leisure. Brands are very casual in their attitude towards social media and overlook it, thus ignoring the golden opportunity where the crowd is already buzzing! It is more about building your presence where your target audience is!
- Vague Objectives
Often start-ups and small companies are unclear about the objectives which lead to inappropriate selection of social channels, unplanned efforts, investment and content.
- Lack of knowledge about ROI
Investing time, efforts, man-power and money without proper knowledge about the actual ways of measurement and ROI (Return of Investment) is another big blunder companies do.
- Being social and ignorant don’t go hand-in-hand
To maintain the loyalty of the customers, the brand should be prompt and polite in their response to the queries and concerns. One negative remark may cause havoc if gone viral and thus tarnish the brand’s image. Keeping in mind the “open to all” communication aspect of social media, the brand should ensure that they have swift customer care service.
What is the best social media software?
Judging the software can be entirely done based on one’s needs and requirements. A lot many options are available in the market from basic free tools to advance enterprise solutions.
With advancements in technology, every social networking site upgrades itself to a new level every day! Moreover new SNS with innovative concepts are jumping into the market. To gel up with the existing and incorporate the new ones, the social media tools need to improvise regularly. It needs to meet different requirements such as Social media postings scheduling, feeds aggregation based on keywords, CRM features, Customer Support, Conversation tracking, Sentiments analysis etc.
According to me, Hootsuite is one of the best social media software. It is a dashboard which helps you manage multiple Social Media Accounts of Multiple clients in a single interface. The ease in usage, user friendly interface, advance scheduling system, analytics, insights, reports, streaming is a lot a software offers.
Hootsuite is the only software which is being improved day by day. New social media channels are added and management work of all the networks is simplified in very few steps.
What questions should an entrepreneur ask before hiring someone to manage their social media for them?
Before asking the questions, it is the sole responsibility of the entrepreneur to explain his business segment, target demography, future plans, objective of the Social Media Marketing campaign, and expectations, to the Social Media Team.
Then the questions can be:
- Which are the Social Media Channels that can be leveraged for my business segment?
- How much amount of the efforts required meeting the goal?
- Does the Social Media Team follow White Hat Techniques and support genuine and honest work efforts?
- What is the cost estimation and the budget required? Can I also have the cost breakups?
- How is the work process followed?
- Who will be my point of communication for regular updates about the work? Will that person be available as per my time zones?
- How frequently can I review the performance? Weekly? Monthly?
How does an entrepreneur know if he is getting a good service from his social media providers?
An Entrepreneur should have major focus on the ROI – Return of the Investment. ROI should not be misunderstood as ‘Profit’. ROI is actually the money and the efforts you put in the Social Media activities and the return you get in terms of Likes, Shares, Buzz, Branding, Traffic, Passive Sales etc based on the net profit of the business. He must ask for the ‘measurement matrix’ to the service providers, to understand on what grounds he can measure the success.
Also, an Entrepreneur should also give priority to the quality of work and service. The Social Media Providers should be independent enough to perform their work with perfection. Frequent performance reviews should be done after giving ample time to the provider to start and stabilize the work.
Basic measurement is done on two broad parameters as
- Qualitative Measurement: in terms of Likes, Shares, Buzz, Branding (artwork, tone of content) and user engagement.
- Quantitative: Number of fans/followers, increase in traffic/visitors etc.
What tips / advice can you give relating to social media campaigns?
- Be humans and remember there are humans at other end too.
A social media campaign needs to be User-oriented. The users must find the content valuable, only then they will perform some action on the page.
- Know your desired actions
Prompting the users to take some action by using different Call to Action elements. It can be asking them to ‘tag friends’, share, fill the form and register for events etc.
- Try to initiate conversation
The variety in content with a great visual appeal helps in getting the attention. Write stories, fun, humor, informative posts etc to initial conversation. Knowledge sharing is the great way to attract more users.
Asking questions, initiating debates and discussions is also a trendy way to increase user engagement.
- Be Consistent
Consistent efforts are required to keep the page or accounts active and the engagement rate constant. Inconsistency may lead to low performance of the page.
- Learn to Map the trends and keep talking about them
People will agree/disagree and will comment about their opinions. Its an easy way to build engagement.
- Re-share the customer feedback, testimonials or brand related content shared by the customers. Customers love being treated as friends and they will respond in a very positive way.
Making the users take actions on the page or the accounts the way you want them to take is a knack. Triggering the right emotion in the minds of the audience should be done to sync the thinking process of the audience with the brand. If this happens, the customers will not limit themselves in showing their love for the brand.
So people, are you still apprehensive about social media?? I hope not…. 🙂
Please feel free to drop your questions and opinions in the comments below.
Image Courtesy: Google
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