In the ever-changing world of online marketing, it is no longer a secret that maximising your brand’s potential through social media is a necessity, says Ian Sullivan, managing director of Paperhat Consorcio.
The interactive, instantaneous, worldwide messaging service has fast become the preferred choice of communication and consistent statistics indicate that it will continue to do so.
So is your brand maximising this potential opportunity or is it continuing to regard this prolific marketing channel as a ‘nice to have’? Regardless of whether your brand is B2B or B2C, public or private sector, profit or not-for-profit, social media marketing is a communication delivery channel that now demands every brand’s respect.
I can easily lose count the amount of times I’ve heard: “Social media? The graduate manages all that stuff.” What other marketing channel do you leave to ‘the graduate’? Probably none, purely because marketing your brand is a key function within your organisation.
Whose job is social media?
So why do so many brands still leave social media marketing to the junior team members? There is no real definitive answer, suffice to say that it is probably a combination of cost, ignorance and convenience.
Marketing your brand on social media is no longer a luxury. It has now become essential to communicate with your potential online audience. Gone are the days when it was only used by tech-savvy teenagers. Facebook has been around for 10 years this year.
That means those tech-savvy teenagers are now almost 30 years old. That’s a key purchasing demographic that feel natural communicating, operating and buying via social media. Couple this with the easier to access social media graphic user interfaces and you also see an older generation joining and interacting. Just ask yourself, how many people do you know that have never used social media?
Social media is ‘opt in’ marketing
The other key point to note with social media marketing is that it is an ‘opt in’ marketing channel. The people you organically communicate with have chosen to follow and hear from your brand. These reasons are why it is so important to ensure the social media marketing content has the full respect and budget to deliver your brand’s messaging as you would with all your other marketing channels.
However, the content, curation and messaging is just one part of the social media marketing strategy. Tone of voice, interaction, customer profiling, data analysis, timing, contingency planning, customer service and managing negative sentiment are some of the other elements that have to be considered every time your brand interacts online.
So where do you start? Strangely, not posting anything on your brand’s social medi. Take a step back as you would naturally with any other marketing channel. The key question is ‘what is my brand’s overarching marketing strategy?’ Understand clearly what message your brand is underpinning. Only then can you utilise the marketing tools to deliver the messaging.
The next step is to select the correct social media platforms that suit your brands audience. Due to the verity to choose from you may well end up selecting more than one platform. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn are the big four, followed by Google+, Instagram and Pinterest. Each have their own unique strengths, weaknesses and online audience.
Decide on your content
So now you have the marketing strategy, the social media platforms and most importantly, the consideration for professional social media marketing. Now comes the hard bit – the content. What are you going to publish? Beware, social media is extremely content hungry. If you post unique content once a day on two platforms you will need 10 items of content in a working week.
You cannot get away with posting the same content in the same format across two or more different social media platforms. The audiences your brand is communicating with are on their preferred social media platform because that is the way they like to communicate online. Your brand must respect that and communicate its content format accordingly.
Now go and build your audience. But why would you actually follow a brand on social media? Simply, because you are interested in what they have to say. Not just today, but at all times. Therefore to attract the right audience, your brand needs to communicate its marketing messages consistently.
It needs to consistently engage with like-minded individuals online who have a need or a requirement that your brand can fulfil. This is why switching your brand’s social media communication on and off will never work. It needs to be consistent. Only this way can your brand maximise its social media presence.
Ian Sullivan is managing director of Paperhat Consorcio.