Social media minefield
Brands that use social media can be either highly successful or just downright annoying, according to Ali Sinaei, head of online advertising at Bayt.com. Here’s how to get it right.
November 16, 2010 10:02 by Samuel Potter
We’ve all heard it before: Social media is a great platform to engage consumers and increase brand value. So, instead of boring you to death with another discussion on how consumers are increasingly using social networks and how important it is for brands to exist on these platforms – blah, blah, blah – I’ll jump right ahead to the real question.
That question is: How can a corporation make use of the unstoppable force of social media?
Here are six dos and don’ts you need to be doing – and not doing – to win with social media.
Do: Know Your Audience
Linked In. Twitter. Facebook. YouTube. Flickr. Digg. StumbleUpon. Scribd. MetaCafe. NetVibes. There seems to be an endless number of social networks, many of them quite successful.
The first thing that a marketer needs to do is to establish which social networks his or her consumers are actually using. There is very little point in a shipping company building a huge profile on Facebook if their target audience is more likely to be on Xing or LinkedIn.
Do: Keep the Communication Meaningful
Always remember why your prospect or consumer is using different social media platforms. Users are often on social media sites to see and be seen, to connect with friends or just keep in touch. They are not likely to want to be inundated with blatant advertising. To create “brand ambassadors” out of these consumers, you need to speak the relevant language and be very, very patient. If it suits your brand and the platform they prefer, try to engage users by using fun. If “fun” is very far from your brand values, you can be informative and provide relevant and interesting information that you know your audience would appreciate.
Be at their convenience – remember, you’re in their world now.
Do: Supplement Search Strategy
Web search advertising is extremely important, not only for driving traffic to your site, but also for retaining brand dominance. However, bear in mind that search advertising is common fare for most companies now, and even though positioning counts for a heck of a lot, consumers still rely on the most old-fashioned marketing weapon of all: Word of Mouth. To an extent, I don’t care how many times I clicked your ad and went to your website to hear YOU wax lyrical about how great you are; if I hear from a friend that your competitor is better, I’m going to put a lot of faith in that. Make sure that you exist on all the social media channels that your consumers are on, so that not only can they build a stronger relationship with you, but they can also be your brand ambassador to their network as well.
In short, Search places you up there, and allows you to be found, but real relationships can be built through connections made via social media.
And the don’ts…