In their quest for greater sales and increased ROI, the self-appointed “digital marketing guru” has lost touch with what social media has evolved into. A game-changer in the field of marketing is social media that brought in groundbreaking changes to online brand promotion. It has digitised traditional marketing in a way no one thought possible.
First, a few stats that puts this tremendous growth into proper context:
- Mobile data coverage grew from 58% to 95% between 2001 and 2015
- Out of the 7.395 billion people in the world, 2.307 billion are on some form of social media
- Annual growth rates for social media subscribers hit 17% last year
- An average person spends about 1.5 hours on social media
iDigic has created an in-depth and informative infographic what gives you a detailed look at some statistics of the most popular social media websites
These are incredible numbers; a huge market that can be tapped by potential service/product providers. And this is when social media marketing came into the picture.
Evolution of Social Media (And People)
You must have often heard phrases that are thrown around like “create good content, people will come”, “get to know your target audience”, “you need to grab customer attention” and the like.
These are all things that people who are extremely short-sighted about social media marketing would say. No magic technique or platform will do your work for you and give you thousands of target customers.
The question here, though – have marketers failed to recognize the sweeping changes in the sphere of social media?
Social media has moved on from being a simple carrier of advertisements to something that elevates the game altogether. There have been several articles floating around that bring to our attention that the social media landscape is evolving into something that is so much more.
Being a value proposition
The focus of social media is now on value.
You can get a huge number of followers on Twitter. But unless you are going to give your followers something of value, the chances are that you won’t see many responses on your Twitter feed. This is where marketers go wrong: they promise brands that a specific social media stream has the best chance of going “viral’ without considering the proposition of offering value to the brands’ followers.
Alright, now consider the other possibility – your campaign attracts a phenomenal number of people, and they can’t stop raving about your brand.
If you aren’t giving them what made them subscribe to you in the first place, you will see customer numbers plummet.
Although the article was written a couple of years ago, it perfectly illustrates the point I’m trying to make here. Likes, shares, and endorsements are not a sign of quality social media marketing methodology.
3 Digital Marketing Pitfalls
So let’s move on to the three things most marketers forget when it comes to social media marketing today
Know your audience… really well
Most marketers take this with a huge pinch of salt. Before getting more info about your target audience, you need to establish who your target audience is. Just saying “active followers” makes you look lazy because several people fit the term “active” but don’t interact with your brand at all.
Suppose you were an automobile company, looking to make an impact with a brand new, super sexy sports car. Counting my 95-year old grand-pops among your “active followers” just because he “liked” on a picture of your car is wrong. Worse, it’s misleading your company.
To most people, this would be just another overpriced, hunk of junk that only the rich can afford. You need to throw away your vanity and focus on giving people what they are looking for. For instance, inviting reviewers over and having them cover what makes your automobile tick.
A lot of people keep saying this… a lot. But not many marketers who work for brands work on their attitude of promotion first.
Let’s talk about a fitness example – you are advertising a new type of fitness equipment. Starting and ending the video with your logo and having pretty fitness models walking around while they end every sentence with your brand name are not going to cut it. Trust me on this.
Instead, what you’ll appear is vain and conceited. A customer will turn away from your brand to a competitors’ who has a video up of exactly what you do with the machine and how it’s different from anything out there on the market. They might have also engaged the most popular YouTube fitness experts to use their equipment in their next video. All it requires is a bit of creativity.
Trust The Audience
When I watch a movie, seldom have I not been able to point out some flaw or the other with the script. There are entire YouTube channels dedicated to movie mistakes out there. Why do you think this happens? Simple – they underestimate people.
This also happens a lot in digital marketing. Brands paste their logo and motto all over the website, social media, videos, everywhere. But they still think that the audience will forget about them when they interact with their content.
If I were to make up a number that wouldn’t be too far away from the truth, I’d say 90% of the effort is spent on brand promotion as opposed to only 10% when it comes to value. This is a flawed strategy and you need to invert the number if you are going to attract any meaningful interaction from your followers.
Summing It Up
So, why is there such a huge chasm between the then and now of digital marketing principles? Simply put, business as we know it is in a huge state of flux. Some of the biggest brands are run by people who still believe in sales numbers which were brought about by entirely different strategies.
Like I said before, the buzzword for the day is value. If you can provide your customers with this commodity, they will stick with you. If you are going to stick with the adage “never stop providing value” rather than just promotion, you’ll drive a lot more sales.
Think people and relationships, not brands and promotion.