This story first appeared on PR Daily in May, 2015. Something strange happens to some PR and marketing professionals when they approach social media for a brand.
Brand managers can forget what social media is truly about and begin to shout at their potential audience, assuming people will happily participate with their content and ultimately buy their products. When they start marketing their brands online and see no results after a month, they give up and claim that social media doesn’t work.
Even after several years of businesses using digital marketing, this circle of social media failure is still happening. Why?
I chalk it up to three problems brand managers run into when entering the digital marketing space:
Problem No. 1: Brand managers still do not understand what social media truly is and how it works.
Solution: Treat content like it’s your product, because it is.
Your biggest asset on social media is content. If you treat your content like a chore, it’s exactly how it will come across to your audience.
Your ultimate goal is to get people plugged into your channels and sharing the content you provide. If I like your content, I am that much closer to trusting your company and ultimately buying a product or service you provide.
Problem No. 2: Companies do not have a clue how to communicate with their customers.
Solution: Humanize your content, and move beyond marketing.
People do business with people, not brands.
Customers will want to know the person behind your Twitter account, and they will quickly ignore companies who hide behind the curtain.
Blagica Bottigliero said it best in a Digiday article: “Building a relationship with your audience isn’t just targeting your ads towards them, but a bona fide human conversation.”
To achieve this, ask yourself these questions when creating your social media content:
Would you be excited to be a member of your social community?
Would you share the content you provide?
Does the communication from your business come across as personable and trustworthy? Why or why not?
Viewing your content as a consumer, rather than a marketer, will help you humanize the voice of your content. In turn, this will increase engagement with your target audience.
Problem No. 3: Brand managers assume what types of social media messages their customers want without listening to them.
Solution: Use employees as advocates to listen to your customers.
Don’t dive blindly into the social media pool. Take the time to learn how your targets navigate social media and how can you participate with them. You must be able to communicate on a level that shows your customers you value their input and are paying attention to them.
In order to accomplish this, your employees must be empowered as brand advocates across social media. Daniel Newman wrote in Forbes: “Businesses that focus their employees on being social where their customers are move faster, reach farther and connect more successfully with their customers.”
Remember, social media is an online showcase of your company’s offline behavior. Be genuine and consistent.
By immersing your business in the communities created by your target audience, you will be able to organically grow its reputation. With time, your brand will become a trusted and influential presence online.