Previously, we have brought up the idea that companies should include social media into their marketing strategy. However, perhaps that alone is not enough anymore. According to Harvard Business Review, 79 percent of companies currently have or are going to add social media to their marketing strategy.
According to the same study, however, only 12% of these businesses feel they are effective users of social media. Obviously, there is a disparity here, and many businesses do not seem to be getting the results they want through social media.
Why? One big factor is that many businesses seem to be “charmed” by the idea of social media marketing but do not really know what is needed in order to make it successful. In other words, many businesses are not ready to get into social media marketing.
Here are three reasons why you may not be ready:
1. You see social media as “the little guy” in your marketing tactic.
When coming up with new campaigns, these are businesses that first look toward the “big boy” marketing tactics, such as billboard or subway advertising, and put social media way down on their list of marketing tactics. Why do businesses do this? Many businesses realize that social media can be really inexpensive. Given the small budget, they instantly place the social strategy in the “kiddie pool” section of their marketing toolbox.
These businesses do not realize a social campaign has the potential to have more impact than any of the “big boy” marketing tactics. One great case study of a company who truly saw the value of social media is Appliances Online, a UK-based appliance e-commerce company.
In five months, with 60 percent of their marketing budget devoted to content marketing, they have gained 500,000 followers on Facebook. Now, they have more than 1 million Facebook fans, allowing them to promote campaigns and products to a large audience without spending close to the amounts companies would for those “big boy” marketing tactics.
Advice for businesses: Put your social media strategy at the forefront of your marketing strategy. Do not be afraid to spend large amounts of your marketing budget in order to build your online empire. Unlike traditional advertising, the impacts of social advertising lasts a lifetime.
2. You only care about sales.
These are the businesses that snuff at their social efforts after realizing that it doesn’t lead to sales directly. Sure, we understand that sales is the number that ultimately drives your business, but there are many things to consider before a target audience ultimately becomes a consumer.
What we must realize is that social media is not supposed to be a sales channel. Most Facebook users, for instance, become a fan of a business page in order to consume content and stay current about the brand. The table below explains why people become brand fans on Facebook: (Notice that the words “sell” or “buy” do not appear at all in this table.)
Advice for businesses: Given that most Facebook users become fans in order to support a brand they like, your primary objective on Facebook should be to create a lovable online presence. Therefore, it is important to truly understand and interact with your community regularly and avoid “selling” too often. No one in social media wants to be sold anything.
3. You are too controlling
These are the businesses that try to control everything within the company. Any decisions that need to be made must go through layers and layers of approval before they get executed due to the fear of mistakes.
We must keep in mind that the spirit of social media is all about spontaneity, as it focuses mainly on the here and now. The world of social media is extremely fast paced. Not only is the platform itself changing rapidly as updates are introduced almost daily, the audiences are also rapidly changing as things happen everyday that change their behaviors.
With social media marketing, businesses cannot afford to be slow in their decision-making. If they are, they will not be able to take advantage from the quickly fading social media fads.
Advice for businesses: Learn to trust your social media community managers. Allow them to act spontaneously, enabling them to catch the viral waves that quickly come and go in social media.
As many brands can tell you, social media marketing can be extremely effective in creating large impacts around your target audience. Just think about companies like Appliances Online, where they only need to spend 30 minutes and close to zero monetary investment in order to reach 1 million people.
The problem arises when businesses do not invest enough effort and money on social media to build a large enough online empire to truly reap the benefits of this strategy.