A survey of 328 marketing professionals by Decipher on behalf of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association and the American Marketing Association reported that seven out of ten marketers were expected to increase their spending on social media in 2014. However, BRANDfog’s 2013 CEO Social Media Survey revealed that many CEOs/CMOs are not ready to adopt social channels for marketing due to the fear of negative feedback, not having enough time to manage social networking accounts, the absence of an effective strategy, and the lack of knowledge about how to use social networking channels for marketing effectively. These surveys seem to show that while companies recognize the marketing potential of social channels, they are not quite sure about how to go about implementing a social media campaign and succeeding.
So, what should marketers do to allay these concerns? Here are three things that they should focus on.
Say ‘Goodbye’ to Mass Advertising – The first thing you must do to gain customer loyalty and reap better profits from social networks is to eliminate the idea of mass advertising (print ads, television ads, radio ads). Mass advertising is based on one-way communication traffic where businesses talk about their products or services and mass consumers just listen to them. On the other hand, social networks are interactive platforms on which businesses directly get in touch with customers, have conversations with them on a one-to-one basis, and build strong relationships with them. Marketers can win customers’ hearts on social networks by providing them with quality content, listening to what they have to say and providing suitable replies – all of which is impossible with mass advertising.
Focus primarily on your Customers, Not on your Business – The success of social media marketing primarily depends upon how marketers understand their targeted customers. Instead of merely promoting your business, focus on your customers. The content posted on the social networking platform should complement the needs and concerns of your customers rather than just highlight your products and services. Getting as many followers or fans as possible and blasting them discounts and promotion offers is not a good strategy. Rather than treating customers like numbers, evaluate their mindset and make offers and discounts based on this. Take customer feedback very seriously. Your quick and intelligent responses to their feedback would help you build a positive image among your audience. For example, take the case of leading mobile service provider O2. By responding honestly to outrageous tweets on an outage owing to network problems in 2012, the company succeeded in changing public sentiment dramatically, according to a report published on Wired.
Do not post irrelevant content â€“ If you post material that is irrelevant, it will have a negative effect on your brand. Post only content that is relevant and significant with regard to your business brand. This is to ensure that the message that you convey via social media platforms must be one that is relevant to your business.
Promote Positive Word of Mouth Marketing – Social networking sites are an excellent Word of Mouth (WOM) marketing platform as they allow customers to market your brand to friends and followers in their circle with a ‘share’, ‘like’, ‘tweet’ or other social signals. However, it is important that you treat every customer well and build a strong relationship with each of them for positive WOM marketing. Listen to what is being said about your company, brand and product on social networks and use those responses for your marketing campaign. Participating in discussions will reveal your expertise in the concerned field. This will help create a positive image among your customers and may encourage them to recommend your products to their friends. Generate marketing messages with enormous sharing potential (viral marketing), find influencers who are experienced, knowledgeable and authoritative in your field and get them share those messages. To search for influencers, you can use Commun.it, Simply Measured, and Twtrland on Twitter and Ripples on Google Plus.
Evaluate Current Performance and the Various Trends over a period of time to plan an ideal social media strategy. If your business is doing well, you cannot afford to rest on your laurels. Detailed evaluation of the businessâ€™s current performance must be carried out and new approaches should be planned in keeping with various trends.
Make the best use of social media to build a community that has a genuine interest in your brand. It is important to stay active on your social media accounts and establish your presence. Businesses may find it challenging to manage and respond to the large number of customers and prospects on social media platforms. A social media optimization company can provide valuable assistance in this regard. Whether you are a beginner or an established brand, experts in local social media marketing can be of help, implementing different suitable social marketing strategies that will work best for you.