7 Things You Need To Know About Social Media Strategy For Better Brand Engagement

Many brands across the globe have jumped on the social media bandwagon. However, most of them have done it out of compulsion simply because their competitors are doing it or it has been a mandate from the top management. This approach will lead to disaster and even after allocating resources for social media activities, you won’t reach anywhere near your anticipated ROI on spends. This article will sum up the essentials of social media hygiene that brand managers can’t ignore. So, consider this a Holy Grail for your company’s social media strategy.
1. Hire a specialist.
Whether you believe it or not, conventional marketers are not a good option when it comes to social media planning and execution. I have seen some great brands suffer and lose their brand reputation irrecoverably due to dismal social media strategy. But that mostly happens because people are lacking in basic social media skills at the execution level. Yes, you need to hire a social media specialist having specific skills including:
· Copywriting expertise
· Sound SEO/SEM knowledge
· Basic research & analytical skills
Technical skills: Well-versed in different promotional tools used across social networking sites and ability to use tools like HootSuite, Buffer, Optify, SEOMoz, Google Analytics etc.
Report generation & expertise to stay ahead of the curve.
2. Decouple social media from other media planning.
Many great brands have not succeeded across social media platforms because their social media promotion is riding the campaigns across other media formats such as print, TV, radio, OOH, etc. You have to decouple social media from your conventional marketing strategies. Take Dove, for example. Its digital campaigns are completely different from TV or print ads. The campaigns have different objectives and target groups for print and TV. Dove’s viral campaign is the most watched video ad of all times.
3. Don’t sell on social media; engage and create awareness.
Digital advertising KPIs like CPC/CPD or lead generation may not work great for you on social media platforms. Online audience is not interested in booking a car test drive or getting discount on coffee, which they get otherwise. Use social media platform to educate them about you product features, future roadmap, brand recall, etc. For instance, the Harley-Davidson India Facebook fan page has more than 1 million fans but undoubtedly, the company doesn’t have so many customers in India. However, it has managed to create a great fan following on Facebook, including those who can’t afford the bikes.
4. Engage, educate & evolve your customers.
It is widely believed that social media is the best platform for customer interaction. Overall, Facebook is the best destination for reaching out to the uber youth segment, LinkedIn for professionals with ample discretionary income, Twitter for reaching out to a great magnitude of people globally, in the fraction of a second, YouTube for viral marketing and Pinterest for promoting your products in the multimedia format. As a result, one must have in-depth knowledge of many promotional tools available on these sites and must comprehend which tool best suits your campaign objective. The best example here is Ford Ecosport. Last year, the car-maker launched a 360 degree digital campaign called Urban Discoveries contest in India to engage with customers much before the car launch. It was a well-planned campaign, integrating online and offline objectives. The response was overwhelming and Ford showrooms across India were inundated with test drive enquiries.
5. Define social media KPIs.
Each social media campaign should be designed with clear end objective. Simply increasing the likes on Facebook is no big deal and will not yield ROI on digital spends. In fact, as per a research report, there are many fake accounts on Facebook and the likes may not be genuine. But if you look at the best digital media campaigns in 2013, you will find that almost all of them focused on creating awareness and deeper engagement with the audience.
6. Have a proactive online reputation management (ORM) system in place.
Your online reputation is as sacrosanct as your brand image. Any erroneous post, racial comment, any content that is publicly enraging may lead to bitter reactions. In such cases, you must be proactive as you take responsibilities, apologise, give proper justifications and be honest in your response. Not doing so will harm you manifold than you can imagine.
7. Be prepared, stay alert.
Finally, there is no rule of thumb for social media promotion. It varies for different industries and key factors such as the nature of your brand, budget, campaign objective and target audience impact every campaign. So it is imperative for brand managers to proactively plan social media strategies and constantly review them for bigger returns on social media spends.
About the author:
Kamlesh Dixit is co-founder of www.digipaaji.com and an experienced digital & social media professional. He enables global brands to build digital properties and advises organisations on how to enhance their digital and social media revenues.
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