So many years ago, social media was created for people to connect, share their lives with friends (close and far) and sometimes unfortunately spout off inappropriate political and social opinions. What was once shared over a phone call, is now broadcast for a larger set of friends. It was a needed evolution to communications, as our world got flatter, broader and more mobile.
And as marketers, where there are people, there needs to be marketing!! So, the smart brands saw social media as an opportunity to “build relationships” with consumers. The smartest brands saw it as an opportunity to change the way we market traditionally and to use this new medium for dialog. But, where are these “smartest” brands? And what happened to the promise of dialog?
I am pretty sure that there are five solid reasons why we are still sucking at social media. Hidden in these reasons are clear ways to stop sucking!
BUY NOW, CALL NOW, CLICK NOW is way easier than generating thoughtful posts and curating great content that our audience will care about. It is very simple: We refuse to change because change is hard. It costs money and requires us to develop and refine new skill sets. It requires us to spend time thinking about what’s meaningful to our audience and then we need to DO something about it. It is much easier to just market the old way.
We think everyone cares about our brand as much as we do
I promise your brand’s customers spend about 100% less time thinking about your brand than you think they do. Chances are they do not want a dialog or relationship with you. But you are not doing much to change that because you are not giving them a reason to care about a relationship with you. Remember that brands do not have a big mindshare the majority of the time. When you remember this, you can be in a better position to think about content that will be meaningful to your customers when they are not thinking about you, which is a lot of the time.
We only know how to talk about ourselves
Marketing a brand is all about positioning the brand, identifying and promoting the unique selling points. We are good at this as a profession. If you want to talk about the ins and outs of a product and why you need one, ask a marketer. They can tell you. But, ask a marketer to talk about something else that their consumers care about, not as easy. In fact, based on what I see in social media, it is impossible for us to talk about anything BUT ourselves. And even when we take a break to talk about our customers, it usually comes out as “Enough about me. What do you think of me?” This is why our messages have zero engagement.
Too many cooks in the kitchen
Putting out a piece of content these days takes so many approvals that by the time it is ready, it doesn’t look anything like the post that was crafted. I know of so many marketers who will make the attempt to post content that is valuable to the audience, but somewhere along the line, (could be legal, compliance, sales, leadership) someone decides that we should be SELLING! And the post begins to morph into something that is no longer relevant to the audience, but highly relevant to the party who wants to change it. If everyone in the organization is aligned around the power of dialog inherent in social media, this is less likely (not unlikely, but less likely) to happen. People have good intentions and everyone is a copy editor. So, it is important to get everyone aligned with the social strategy.
We don’t have a plan
The lack of a plan makes the first four reasons 100% likely to occur. Without a plan to go into the social media landscape, we are more likely to do it the old way, talk about ourselves, allow everyone to put a stamp on the content and poof, low engagement and everyone in the company thinks social doesn’t work. Social won’t work without a plan. Understand what your customers want from you in this media. Know what you want to be in social media. Develop content that supports your customer’s needs and your vision. And then document a strategy that supports that vision.
Sucking in social should be short-lived for this world. Social Media isn’t brain surgery. You do not need a doctorate to master it. You need a plan. One that is grounded in consumer insights. One that delivers value and one that is aligned across the entire organization.