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Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing

My good friend, Githii, told me an interesting story that just spelt anecdote.

He told me of this kid in primary school who was sent to the shop by his teacher to buy a bottle of soda. The soda was opened and the temptation to taste it overwhelmed his fear for the teacher. So he drank the soda, just a little bit. By the time he reached the school, he had taken too many sips for his crime to be subtle to the eyes. Thinking quickly on his feet, he came up with an ingenious idea to cover-up the now half-full bottle of soda he was carrying. He went to the tap and filled the bottle with water and then confidently took it to the teacher. The teacher refused to even stretch her hand to take it. He was busted. Unbeknown to him was that soda is never full to the brim and that was what gave him away.

Social Media Marketing

Social Media is emerging as one of the most effective marketing channel for businesses the world over and even here in Kenya. There are many companies that openly give testimony to the many ways that social media has changed the way they do business for the better. For instance, a survey of various businesses released in the Social Media Marketing Industry Report – 2009, the following are some of the benefits that accrued to businesses as a direct result of incorporating social media.

Social Media Marketing Industry Report – 2009

And with peers in the industry reporting such successes, every businessman and woman would want in on this social media marketing stuff for their businesses.

Social Media Marketing Mistakes

Like our friend who could not resist taking a sip of the soda, the temptation to implement social media tools by businesses is simply too overwhelming to resist. Many have jumped in and taken a sip, and another, and another. They jump in on any social bandwagon because just because it falls under the social media tag. But soon enough, they realize that they are in too deep in social networks that least serves their objectives. They find out too late, after spending too much time and energy and money setting up that they are preaching to the wrong crowd, in a foreign land, with a different dialect or eve preaching to the choir. After acknowledging that they are off-mark, most will try to do right but they end up overcompensating because they do not know where to stop. They present a bottle of soda that is full to the brim with water to a consumer base that knows better.

Social Media Marketing Rules

In much the same that this boy did know that soda is never full to the brim, most businesses fail understand that the rules of social media are different. Businesses treat social media like the traditional media that they have been using for decades now. They enter the realm of social media without understanding that that there are various principles that guide social media engagement. Briefly, companies need to go through the following process or a similar variation of it in enlisting social media:

  1. Planning: this involves decisions on the objectives that your company seeks to meet, the key performance indicators usually in the form of a few key metrics to watch out for, and who to spearhead the social media campaign, either in-house of an outside consultant like myself.
  2. Listening: this involves actively listening to where conversations about our businesses are taking place within the social media circles. There are a myriad of listening tools with the simplest being Google Alerts and Social Mention. There are many more listening tools which you will find here.
  3. Responding: it is only after listening and finding out where your consumers are talking about your business online can you respond. Companies need to respond in order to mitigate accusations, quell fears, offer apologies, give explanations, come clean and even thank someone for commending their brand etc. There are many reasons to respond and each is as important as the next.
  4. Engaging: this however should not stop at mere responses; companies need to engage their consumers in these social networks. Response is a one-time thing while engagement means staying around to tackle issues as they arise. It means more than one comment in a thread. It means more than automated responses. It means being there monitoring and responding consistently.
  5. Influencing: it becomes difficult for companies to monitor all networks and respond across all these networks. This is the reason I advice businesses to have a home in the form of a blog from which they manage their social media engagement. This enables companies to respond through their blogs and therefore bringing the conversation home.

Thus, as a business, ensure that you set in motion a social media plan, that you listen to where your brand is being mentioned online, that you you respond and engage constructively those talking about you and lastly that you start influencing or identifying the key influencers in your industry and working with them.

What’s your take?

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