Company administrators and boards of directors have been hearing about how social media has helped many companies broaden their marketing footprint and vastly increase their market share. As these corporate leaders browse social media sites, they are astounded when they see, in some cases, hundreds of thousands of likes on the Facebook page of their competitors, or tens of thousands of followers on Twitter. This can invoke an increase in heart rate, some perspiration, and an urge to call an emergency board meeting.
Most people gauge the success of a social media campaign based solely on the number of likes, shares and followers, and this makes sense because these are the publicly visible metrics that are immediately available. Obtaining a high number of these metrics is good of course, but does it really present a valid and useful indicator of success? It is possible to have many likes and little or no marketing value, while at the same time to have relatively few likes but a successful online marketing campaign.
Because of the capability of reaching an enormous number of people in a very short amount of time and at a comparatively low cost for the potential marketing impact, social media can help absolutely any business grow. It’s not only limited to hi-tech or Internet-related products and services. It can be easily fashioned to any and all types of businesses, from clay pot makers to a control cable manufacturers.
It doesn’t matter what business you’re in. The question is how should you structure your strategy to go beyond a seemingly apparent success with many likes, to a truly successful marketing campaign regardless of the number of likes you receive? Here are a few guidelines that will help you on your way.
Don’t aim to obtain many likes. Your ultimate goal should not be likes or hits. Your goal should be to get a meaningful message to many people. If the message is good and it is presented in the proper way, you will get a response. There is no magic method when using social media. Just like traditional marketing techniques, the message must have substance. Don’t forget this first and foremost aim.
When you speak to the people, expect a response. People don’t want another robotic social media bulldozer that just spits out scientifically designed memes for maximum mass manipulation. Unlike TV ads, print media, email and other static forms of advertising, social media allows your target audience to talk back to you. So listen to what they’re saying. This can be useful because it gives you a chance to show that you care about each one of them by responding to their messages. It also allows you to evaluate what they want and what will get a response, so you can adjust your campaign accordingly.
Don’t speak to the machine, but to the person behind the machine. Although it’s true that you don’t actually see your target audience, they are there, behind the miles of cable and the vast number of mobile and computer screens.
Behind those screen names and profiles are real people, so don’t approach them as you would a computer, but address them as what they really are… people.
All of the above don’t aim to generate likes, but to cultivate relationships. If it is used in this way, social media can be a very powerful platform.