This is a guest post by our MD, Rishabh Dev, originally published on socialmediaweek.org.
Social Media Marketing has quite an uncanny case. It is one of the most used and abused terms at the same time. Much like Growth Hacking today, a few years ago, there was no clear consensus on what exactly comprises of Social Media Marketing. Inadvertently or otherwise, this logical ambiguity led to a lot of experts selling snake-oil in the name of Social Media Marketing. Well, those were darker times. Today is different. There is a convergence of ideas which has led to a consensus of the definition of Social Media Marketing. Companies and better equipped and informed than before. This is exactly why under no circumstances we can afford to make the mistakes which were excusable a couple of years ago.
But time and again we have seen companies pursuing broken social media strategies. You may have built a slick and neat app. You may have allocated a Social Media Budget which might put the GDP of Equatorial Guinea to shame. You may have hired the best talent in town. But why is your Social Media strategy failing in frequencies exponentially more than Arsenal’s chances in the Premier League? The Small Mistakes. More often than not, it’s the horseshoe nail because of which the battle is lost. So, let’s have a look at the 10 commandments of social media marketing.
Ok. Let’s face it. Videos are tough. Videos are expensive. Videos require a slew of expertise to create. So, most of the time we just throw YouTube out of the window and live in our happy little glasshouse of denial. It’s time to shed that attitude. YouTube is SEO Gold. Success stories of people like PewDiePie prove that you don’t need Hollywoodesque editing skills to succeed on YouTube. The success story GeekyRanjit prove that you don’t need a guy with the looks and charm of Ryan Gosling in your marketing team to build a presentable channel. Success Story of Will It Blend proves that you can basically drag any product or service and make a video out of it without creating a disconnect with the brand. Go ahead, figure out what set of communications for your brand works out best for YouTube and doesn’t eat up all your time and effort.
This is one of the most surprising and baffling fads infecting the Indian SME community. Ignoring Twitter with an equally baffling justification that ‘Our Target Audience aren’t on Twitter’. Honestly, every time I hear that statement from my clients, I give them a mental Jackhammer Slam. On a bed of nails. From the top of the Burj Khalifa. Ok, point taken that for many B2B companies, the Target Audience isn’t necessarily outraging about GST Bills or trolling KRK on Twitter. But Twitter is a Goldmine of Influencers. Influencers who you can’t afford to ignore. Don’t measure your handle’s success on Twitter by the number of Retweets and Likes you got. Instead, try to figure out on ways to connect to Influencers and companies who will help you grow your business. Learn about how to use Boolean operators to generate Twitter Leads for free. Growth Hack Twitter. You won’t regret it. To get started, you can always check out there 25 neat Twitter Growth Hacks for Businesses.
Ah! We are ranting about videos again. Aren’t we? Yes, we should. As videos are the future. ISPs are redefining the definition of broadband. People are consuming videos more and more with each passing day. People are watching videos on Facebook during their Uber commute to work, while taking a dump, before sleeping, during yawn inducing meetings, etc. And more importantly, Facebook’s algorithms give Facebook Videos a natural boost as a part of their long-term strategy to pull a coupon YouTube’s dominance. In simpler terms, your Facebook video is more likely to turn up on your customer’s news feed than any other content format. And yeah, Facebook Videos Autoplay! Focus on Text oriented micro videos which don’t lose any of its sheen while being played on mute (Chances are, at least 10% of your employees are burning your bandwidth on Facebook Videos on mute while you are reading this blog).
Okay. 3 years back, page likes made a lot of sense. Organic reach was tremendous. Not anymore. With the recent Page design update, the number of likes you have is also relegated to an heatmap cold area on the screen. I die a little inside everytime I come to know about bootstrapped startups putting in a grotesque amount of money into ‘Page Like’ ads. Congrats, you just contributed to Zuckerberg’s ‘Buy a Yacht for my Dog’ fund. But you did nothing for your business. Instead, spend that fund into running adverts. Get Leads. Do a branding campaign. The page likes are going to come anyway from the ads.
“Look at the teenagers. They are sending duckfaces to each other on Snapchat. Look at the stupid food bloggers on Instagram. Who the hell uses Periscope? Meetup is just Tinder for Nerds”. Stop. Just Stop. What everyone conveniently ignores is that these emerging Social Media Channels are swarming with Influencers and Early Adopters. They are the ones who are going to decide whether your product/service will go mainstream or will disappear into oblivion. The Triple Peak Effect is strong with the Emerging Channels. Organic reach is at a maximum. Soon enough 9 out of 10 emerging channels will die. But the one which survives will bring its own version of EdgeRank for monetization. Leverage on the organic reach these channels offer now. And keep on to the First Mover’s advantage when it blows up into something big.
Remember the good old days of Orkut? The communities were the most rad thing that happened to social media. People discussed everything from Local Pubs to Books. Facebook came and the concept of ‘communities’ went bust. Luckily we still have Facebook Groups. Facebook groups offer three main advantages. One, the level of engagement in Groups is unparalleled. Two, the ranking of Groups’ posts are higher than Page Posts. Three, groups members get a notification every time someone posts something in your group. All you have to do is to drive up a little bit of initial engagement, set a roadmap, empower spirited group members into moderators and you can sit back and watch the community take over and make the group their own! This level of loyalty and engagement is something brands will kill for. All you have to do is to create a group.
We have to admit. This one’s tricky. There are only a handful of institutes and academies across India who provide a decent certification course on Digital Marketing. An MBA grad in Marketing will you go a long way in terms of conventional channels. But, when it comes to Social Media Marketing, hardly any of the top 50 B-Schools provide a half decent course on Social Media Marketing. Chances are pretty high that, a good majority of the Social Media Marketing resumes that you have lying on your desk have a superficial idea about social media marketing at best.
You : “How do we pull off a successful Social Media Campaign for our Accounting Software this Tax Season?”
Candidate : “Sir, We will do a viral post on FB. We will get Likes, Comments, and Shares”
Candidate :“Umm…I’ll ask my friends to Like, Comment and Share.”
You :“But what about our Target Audience?”
Candidate :“Well…Likes, Comments and Shares?”
Candidate :”LIKES. COMMENTS. SHARES”
You :*Shoots self in the head*
Look out for reputable Agencies and Academies training youngsters in Social Media Marketing. It makes good sense to hire Social Media Marketers who have hands-on experience with various Social Media Channels rather than just Vanilla MBAs. Hang around in both mainstream and off-beat social media channels and keep an eye out for sparks of brilliance. Early Adopters are almost always a safe bet.
One more commonly ignored the aspect of social media marketing is non-social media channels. Channels like Slack, Medium, WordPress, Ello, Quora, ProductHunt are not Social Media Channels by the traditional definition. The borders between Social Media Marketing and Digital Marketing are most disputed than the LOC. But a lot of the dynamics of these channels mirror closely to the characteristics of Social Media. Slack is the Fort Knox of B2B lead gen. Quora is increasingly becoming a juggernaut of Influencer Marketing and PR. Medium, WordPress, and Ello act as a potent conduit between lead generation and conversions in the B2B arena. A healthy cocktail of Content Marketing, Social Engineering, and Social Media Marketing is required to get high ROI marketing leverage from these channels.
It’s common knowledge that different channels work differently. Then why do we constantly see the exact same communication of a brand across different channels? Synergy is important. But let’s not confuse synergy with lethargy. Synergy has to be strategic. Your agency made a cool motion graphic explainer video about your product. Now don’t go posting links to this video on every channel under the sun. Ask your agency to provide a 30-second mute version for Twitter. Maybe a 10-second version for Snapchat. And upload it with huge title text on Facebook instead of just embedding the YouTube links. Prepare a 1-year roadmap for your brand. Are you going to use Facebook for Lead Generation or Branding or both? Are you going to use Twitter for PR or handling customer inquiries? Are you going to use Google Plus for… wait. No one uses Google Plus.. some algorithmic SEO juice perhaps? The takeaway is: There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for the channels.
To all the Uncle Scrooges out there! Spend. Spend intelligently no doubt. But Spend. Facebook has incredibly high ROI if we compare it ATL channels. Organic Marketing will only take you so far. It will get you the early adopters no doubt. But to give that initial acceleration and eventual scalability of your business you have to spend a good amount of money on Facebook. Spend on a good agency. Spend on a good, qualified talent. Spend on an expensive bottle of Chateau Margaux 2009 Balthazar with that incredible ROI you got from your Facebook spend.
Now that the easy part is done i.e. figuring out what are some obvious things we miss out on our social media strategy, the hard part begins. Execution. With a well thought out strategy, your social media war machine can keep rolling in under a quarter. All the best.
Mapplinks Academy is India's first agency-integrated live project based growth hacking and new age digital marketing training institute.
Mapplinks has been ranked in the "Top 25 Most Promising Digital Marketing Consultants" and "Top 10 Marketing Companies".
Started by Rishabh Dev, the academy is an initiative to bridge the growth marketing talent gap in the digital ecosystem.