Social media marketing is a digital bridge that humanizes the brand online with offline benefits.
I’ve been working in the social media space for over 12-years. In terms of digital that has to be at least 4 lifetimes! During that time there’s been a new generation of business managers and entrepreneurs who have ‘grown-up’ using social media for fun and personal use.
However, the leap in understanding social media as a business tool often remains a frightening mystery for many.
Recently I was chatting with a smart, young – aka a Millennium, woman who launched a food venture. She had a new, pretty website complete with eCommerce features. However there was not a social icon to be found.
Toby/Bloomberg Marketing: Why?
Food Entrepreneur: It frightens me.
Toby/Bloomberg Marketing: Why?
Food Entrepreneur: People are mean online. I’m working very hard to build a brand and I don’t want people to hijack a social channel.
What I’ve come to realize, from working with thousands of people in my consulting and training roles, is —social media education is both emotional and logical.
The lens of how social media marketing is perceived differs for each person and within each company culture. Addressing fears/concerns, or facing the elephant in the room, should be one of the first steps in creating consensus regarding developing a social media roadmap.
Sorry to say, there are no canned or simple answers. However, here are a few ideas to get you started in how to evaluate the elephant in the room.
1. Trolls. For some like my friend the food entrepreneur, fear of trolls that might sabotage your brand is at the top of the list.
Tips: Listen for negative reviews or trolls sabotaging your brand. Watch your channels. Set up Google Alerts or Talk Walker Alerts. Create a reputation management plan. Each situation must be reviewed and action taken based on its merits.
2. Sales. Other people might have a concern if their financial investment (note: social media marketing is never free) will produce direct sales results.
Tips: Tricky depending on your product or service. For eCommerce and sales made face-to-face including telephone – include a “what influenced your purchase decision” question. Track direct orders from Facebook and Pinterest. Track website conversions. Add tracking codes. Consider additional forms of Return on Investment e.g. reach, awareness, amplification, relationships.
3. Technology. Call it technology or call it tools new platforms continuously emerge and the try and true e.g. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest update and change terms at a drop of the hat. How do you keep current?!
Tips: Determine which channels you receive the most success from in terms of your goals (see Track below). Spend the majority of your time on these networks.
Identify a channel or two that is interesting to you to sandbox. Your focus is to learn and play. Perhaps you see a growth in your customers beginning to explore that platform like SnapChat. Or maybe the technology is a new feature of a platform you currently use like Facebook Live.
Subscribe to newsletters or blogs. Follow the network on Twitter and Facebook. Create Google Alert or Talk Walker Alerts. Attend conferences. Read books. Search out webinars.
4. Track.What to track, how to track and how to make sense of the mountain of data is another valid concern.
Tips: This is should be an easy fix. Go back to your roadmap and review what you wrote that determines success. Return on Investment e.g. reach, awareness, amplification, relationships. Often less is more.
5. Time. Of course, the one on so many people’s list is T-I-M-E. Even if you subcontract the execution there are reports to read, content decisions to make and results to evaluate.
Tips: Another tricky one. Of course it’s dependent on your content direction and the number of social channels. Begin with developing a simple, topic driven content calendar. Lucky you if there are people who will support you in content development.
Keep in mind content can be text, video, photos, graphics. You can modify content to fit different channel but please don’t take the lazy route of dumping the exact same words in each channel. Play to the strengths of the channel.
Build time for engagement, listening, analytic review. Blog posts take longer than a tweet. What’s the sweet spot ~ perhaps 3-hours a week???
What are your tips to combat social media fears?