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SOCIAL MEDIA – all that glitters ain’t gold! Here the keys to get it right!

Updated: Jul 18, 2018

Nowadays, “social media” is one of the most used words by marketers. Let’s face it, there are too many socials to choose from, and sometimes it is hard to implement a useful and effective strategy. Are these social media networks useful in communications for businesses, associations or even institutions? Time has come to say it loud – likes and followers are not great indicators of marketing success.

There are some misconceptions about likes and followers!

Firstly, we all agree that if people decide to follow you on Twitter, connect with you on LinkedIn, like you on Facebook, surely you got them somehow. The real problem is that you are not going to know if those people that liked you in the first place, are still interested. In fact, also in the event that people are not interested anymore in you, your company, your activity or your business, most of them are not going to un-follow, un-friend or disconnect you: they will mutely ignore you. On the other side, you will have people that are interested and read your content with interest, but they are not commenting or sharing, for any reasons, without meaning that they are uninterested. Only a little part is going to include active commentators or sharers. Indeed, in the sharing process it is even more difficult as in many cases people share to make statements and to build up their personal branding online. At this point, it is clear that it is a matter of quality over quantity: the main goal is not to have the higher number of likes or followers, but to have the right ones.

So, what is social media good for?

Above all social media channels are great assets mainly in terms of accessibility – you make your business or association accessible and reachable to any person or other business who wish to be in contact with you. It could be a client, a partner, an investor or even a journalist.

Secondly, it is a great asset to increase brand awareness – on one side, with the right campaign or creative stunt it takes seconds for your brand to be well known; on the other, with the inbound marketing, you can assess you as the reference point for the industry or the expert for a certain issue.

Thirdly, social networks are a very effective public relations tool. Let’s say that it is a big crisis management helper, allowing you to intervene immediately to solve a misunderstanding or to do public relations in a more effective way.

Now, the jackpot question – which channels shall you choose?

Like traditional channels, you don’t need to have them all: it could be good to have an account to protect your intellectual property right (brand name) and to be founded if someone is looking for you. However, the importance of channels depends from other key factors, such as your audience, your industry sector, your entity type, your target, your competitors, your resources.

Let’s make an extreme example to make the point. If your business or your association is targeting elderly people, it might be the case that a very large part of your audience is not using Instagram. Why focus your efforts in a platform that is not representing a great way to communicate with your audience?

Furthermore, each social media has its own peculiarities. This means that being active on one platform needs a high-level execution strategy that requires time and resources. That is why you need to select the right channels. Do not forget you have a business to take care of! Blogging and social media should represent an additional communication weapon, not a risk for your resources. You need a clear channel selection and a strong social media plan.

The crucial step is choosing the right channels.

Given that having a presence in each social platform is somehow mandatory in this present era, let’s see how you can wisely choose the right social media to feed.

  1. Who is the target – this is the starting point of any decisions: to understand your target audience. In one word, analyse demographics factors related to your business (age, gender, income, education level, religion, ethnicity, marital status, number of children, online behaviour). This will give you a perfect framework to understand social media relevance.

  2. Why they use social media – once you analyse your target, you surely are going to be able to see if they are using social media. If it is the case, then you have to analyse the psychographics factors that make them be present on social networks, in relation to your business. If you are going to ask “how”, the only real answer is to observe your target audience. For example, if you have a food business, ask yourself why they want to learn about food, how important food is for them (hoppy, job, mere interest), how they like to learn about food (video, audio, text – on mobile, laptop). You should analyse which are the main questions they are asking about food and how much they know about it.

  3. Where they are – here you choose your most effective channels. The rule is simple: be on all if you want, but pick two or three social networks to focus all your efforts on. Don’t worry about missing out opportunities – if you do your analysis in the right way, you will choose the right channels, and you will get better results, without wasting time. Choose quality over quantity. You need to be on those where your audience is. It could be one or four. It always depends.

Two secret magic ingredients to flavour your strategy!

For those of you that are sceptical, there are two magic ingredients. The first is called flexible consistency. Create a strategy, give yourself boundaries, but be prepared to be flexible to what is happening around you. The boundaries you create will ensure a consistent way to communicate throughout your employees and various social media. If you have a good degree of brand identity, that is it. You clarify your voice and your tone, and this is it.

This empowers you to follow the most important magic ingredient: don’t take it too seriously! Social media and blogging should be cool channels to show your expertise with a personal touch. If you are not able to deal with socials as you are over-thinking about posts, social media is not your best marketing friend. These channels should be dynamic and evolving all the time. If you have basic rules from you consistency set-up, you are then free to… have fun!

Now, tell us, what do you think about social media? We are here to know your opinion!

by Chiara Lamacchia

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