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Guest Column: Social media - are you doing it the right way?

18-November-2013
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Guest Column: Social media - are you doing it the right way?

Years ago, social media was created for people across the globe to connect, share the happenings of their lives with family and friends, and sometimes share their social and political opinions. Seeing the evolutionary stage of today in the field of communications, when the world is getting more technologically advanced, something like this was much needed and welcomed by people, who now were getting social savvy.

Where there are people, there needs to be marketing, and not just marketing, but the right kind of marketing, in a right way. This is when brands explored the opportunities lying under the broad umbrella of social media to build strong relationships with their consumers. Brand marketers saw social media as the best medium for showcasing their marketing objectives and deliver a long term promise to their consumers. But, have you ever wondered where are those promises made by brands now? It’s evident that most of the brand marketers are still not doing social media the right way!

If looked into deeply, social media for brands has been around for long internet years, and it will remain. But have the brands explored its potential enough? Think again! If you as brand managers are still wondering what this means, the answer to that is a lot more can happen.

There are a lot of reasons why brand managers are still doing social the wrong way. There is still an air of confusion existing amidst the social media strategies implemented by brands. Let’s see what are those reasons or confusions, what brands are doing wrongly and what brands should actually do.
 

The meaningful brand message: Most of the brands and their brand managers think that their brand consumers consider and care for their brand as much as they do. But surprisingly, this is not the case as they actually spend a large percentage of lesser time thinking about your brand in reality. Maybe they do not want a relationship that you want to build with their mindset and behaviour. Maybe they are just looking at your message and not grasping it with interest. In fact, brands should think about evolving with content that turns out to be meaningful for its consumers even at the time when they are not thinking about it.

Are we talking too much about ourselves? On social media, it undoubtedly becomes impossible for us to talk about anything but ourselves. As brand managers, have you ever wondered what leads to zero or little engagement on social media? Well, talking only about ourselves is one reason. The idea of marketing a brand combines positioning it and promoting its unique selling point across the social platform. Brand specialists are good at this as they know the in and out of a brand; what consumers need, etc. But, when you ask a marketer to do something like this and talk about their consumers’ requirements and what they actually want, it is not easy for them. So, ideally brand managers have the power to do it right. Are you doing it right?

Too many cooks spoil the broth! It’s true in case of social media content that goes out these days too. The amount of approvals a piece of content has to go through by the time a post actually goes out – it looks completely different from how it was designed. There are brand managers who make an effort to post content that relates to the consumers, their behaviour and their mindset; but at the same time there comes someone who takes a decision to keep it on the lines of selling (not forgetting the legal, ethical and leadership standards). This is where the post takes the form of something that does not stand relevant to the consumers, but only to few. Therefore, it is very important for brands managers to get everyone and everything related to the brand message associated with the social strategy.

Do you follow the ‘proper planning prevents poor performance’ strategy? If you step into social media without a plan, then the above mentioned reasons are most likely to occur. Entering the social media world with no plan is like doing everything in a traditional way; just talk about the brand, let people look at it, put a stamp of proof, which later invites low engagement and then let everybody consider social media of no use. Yes, you got it right! Social media does not work without a plan. You need to clearly understand what your consumers need from you and also what identity you want your brand to create on this media. Design a content strategy that defines your vision and supports your consumer’s needs.

In a nutshell, the things brands might be doing it all wrong on social can be because of:
·       Lack of strategy
·       Great expectations without consistency and effort
·       Non-realistic goals
·       Considering social media as a low priority
·       Thinking that anyone can do it is completely wrong. Will you ever hand over your car keys to         somebody who doesn’t know how to drive? No, right? Then why do you do this with social media?
·       Posting stuff in large intervals, maybe in weeks, etc., to mention a few.

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