Social Media is as Important as Any Other Aspect of Your Business

I read an article on DigiDay this morning about big brand social media managers, and how they feel their jobs are viewed. It seems slightly ridiculous that there are still companies out there who don’t even consider social media when they put together a marketing strategy, especially when Facebook has just celebrated its 10th birthday and every social platform out there just keeps on growing.

OK, fair enough, if you’re a one man electrician business, it’s not necessarily going to be the first thing on your list, but if you’re a brand that is looking to connect with relevant customers in order to drive sales, you really need to look at having some sort of social media strategy, at the very least.

Social Media Management is NOT Messing Around on the Internet

A massive misconception that many people believe is that managing social media accounts and putting together social media strategy is the same as managing and updating your own social media accounts. You’ll get a lot of “Oh, so you just sit on Facebook and Twitter all day?” when you tell people what you do. Yeah, that and the rest. But how many videos ideas have you seen through to completion which have then gone on to have hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube? I’ll bet that the last status you posted about your child’s potty training didn’t go viral.

social-media-meme1“Messing around on the internet” as one social media manager put it in Digiday’s article, is all part of social media. Except it’s not messing around, we’re just doing our jobs. Just because many parts of working in an office don’t necessarily need the internet (although, in 2014, is this really still the situation?) doesn’t mean that there aren’t some for whom it’s essential. I wouldn’t go up to someone in accounts and tell them to stop “messing about on Excel” (where do you think all those hilarious pie charts are created?), so stop telling us how to manage something you know nothing about.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve tried to explain to people that connecting and engaging with people on social media is actually really simple. However, ‘simple’ doesn’t necessarily equate to ‘easy’, all you really need is common sense to make it work. Think about what you like to share and what makes you take time to read or share something on social media, and then put that into your strategy.

If you know your brand inside out, you have almost everything you need to be able to put together a social media strategy. The only remaining input you need is that knowledge of social media and what works, which is where we come in.

Stop churning out corporate brand messages and running shit competitions just to get likes. I always liken social media to having a shop on the high street. You wouldn’t run a competition in store just to get more people into the store, because those people are going to be irrelevant. They’re just there because they want to win something, they’re not there because they like your brand, and they’re certainly not going to come back to your store as a returning customer.

All people want online is content that makes them laugh, or content where they feel like they’re getting some value. It doesn’t even have to be getting something for free, I mean how many people do you see sharing the results of quizzes on Buzzfeed, like “I got Oregon in ‘Which City Should I Live in?’” and “I got 100% Northern in ‘How Northern are you?’” People want to see and share things that they can identify with.

The number of people who assume that social media is an easy job that can just be outsourced to a low-paid intern is ridiculous. No-one wants to work for free, and the social media industry is no different, so why would you leave an effective marketing tool in the hands of a bored, just-out-of Uni graduate, whose only social media experience is creating a drinking group on Facebook for their sports club? Would you give an accounting job to a graduate who simply had experience running the budget for the University of Somewhere’s annual Chess Club tour to Hungary?

Screen-Shot-2014-02-14-at-11.05.06-300x185Another issue within the social media industry is that a lot of people don’t seem to understand the concept of intellectual property. They want you to give them a long list of ideas before signing a contract, but then when they’ve had these ideas, suddenly a social media strategy isn’t so necessary any more.

It takes time and effort to come up with decent social media campaigns, that’s why we’re being paid to do it and our campaigns are driving conversation, views and likes, and why the ‘Like us if you like printer toner’ posts that your intern is posting aren’t driving any sales to your site.

If you want to use a social media professional, you need to be prepared to pay them, and you should, because it’s worth it.

Sometimes it’s really like banging your head against a brick wall. No one is willing to put any money towards social media, and yet they want campaigns and results similar to “That thing that Oreo did at the Superbowl” or they call up and inform you that they would like you to make them a viral video… “How much will this cost?”

So, to help you out in your choice of a social media professional, here are five social media professionals you need to avoid:

  • Anyone that can 100% “guarantee” you results. No-one can guarantee anything. I wouldn’t tell you I could guarantee you won’t get hit by a bus tomorrow, so why would you trust someone who is just trying to get you to sign on the dotted line, and probably isn’t going to deliver?
  • People that use the terms ‘guru’, ‘ninja’ or ‘MVP’. Avoid at all costs.
  • Those that are all mouth and no trouser. So you’ve signed up to loads of different social media tools. These do not a social media manager make.
  • Anyone that develops a strategy without thinking about the future. Social media strategies should include planning for the future, tackling new platforms, and coming up with bigger and better ideas.
  • Those that avoid talking about ROI. It’s not a dirty term, and it’s something that should be worked on and looked into.

Hopefully, you realise the value of proper social media management and the above will help you select the right people to handle it for your business. It’s not rocket science, but it does require a scientific approach.

 

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