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How and When to Use Social Media Channels

Monday, November 3, 2014

Most marketers focus upon two major concerns; HOW do they make money for their organisation and WHY do some marketing channels make more money that others.

When social media channels were first introduced every marketer adopted this new marketing concept and exploited the possibilities to solve their HOW and WHY concerns. Some notable organisations claimed spectacular results. However, engaging in Social Media marketing is a challenge particularly in integrating it into a companies existing marketing plan and to meet company expectations on profitability, and it's not for everyone.

THE GOALS OF SOCIAL MEDIA ARE MISUNDERSTOOD

Most marketers do not understand the dynamics that social media may not be the appropriate medium to engage in the promotion of their product or service. There are characteristics and special audience requirements to consider for each social media channel that will be discussed in this article for blobs and social media.

Most large organisations in the market place, activity engage in Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn but, usually, the promotion only accounts for less than 1%-2% of total revenues.

IS SOCIAL MEDIA RIGHT FOR YOUR ORGANISATION?

There are some pre-requisites required before you engage in social media:

  1. Know thyself - know your enemy as well as yourself
  2. Know your goals - have clear, achievable and measurable metrics
  3. Know your limits - set limits and do not exceed them.
  4. Create a clear, simple and proper marketing message or narrative.

Once your organisation has answered these questions, then all organisations should ask themselves and develop four fundamental questions.

  1. Is engagement in social medium right for my organisation?
  2. What is the appropriate match of social medium to my marketing message?
  3. Develop a four step social media strategy targeted to the product/message
  4. Develop appropriate metrics for measurable and growth.

Companies and organisations should adopt a reality check and not get drawn into the latest and greatest money earning fade pushed out by so called experts. Perform a reality check and ask yourselves is this right for the business. Decide what time, labour and budget will be allocated and do a "reality check" on the benefits.

THE INTENT OF SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS

Social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn were never intended to be a marketing channel - they were created for like-minded people to share like-minded experiences and referrals and not for marketing campaigns - although some recommendations from friends, fans

Although these incremental sales might be useful but do come at an expense in time and resources. LinkedIn was conceived as a professional job seeking channel, Twitter was conceived as a immediate sharing experience focused on the immediacy factor. The exception is Google. Google + (Plus) was created as a marketing tool and is having a hard time establishing itself in the marketing place because of that. Users in the social sphere are not yet ready to accept marketing material. They want to give advice, recommend data, product and news too friends, fans and followers and share superior knowledge.

Likes are not sales.

CLEAR AND CONSISTENT MARKETING MESSAGE

The marketing message is the board speak, the messaging of its representatives and the publicity language of its advertising departments and representatives that will determine the marketing message.

The essence of social media is which channel will communicate who you are most effectively. Treating all social media channels equally to carry your message will just drain all your efforts, resources and budgets. So its best to identify first which medium will deliver the best results in communicating your message.

BLOGS VERSUS WEBSITES AS SOCIAL MEDIUM CHANNELS

Blogs are one of the best ways to communicate information and attract organic or natural search visitors. Websites do not change that often but blogs do or they should do. Blogs are more active and casual in presenting information and people tend to link to blogs as the information is usually current and up to date. Studies have shown that Blogs get more visitors than websites, get more links that websites, get more pages viewed and overall convert more that websites. From an SEO viewpoint blogs are fantastic for search engines to discover, crawl, index and return results to users' queries.

BLOGS MAXIMISE INTERACTION

Blogs gain greater visibility than websites and as a consequence there is more interaction with your audience. Now here's the conundrum. Which social medium do I choose to get the best possible results? The answer to that question lies in the type of interaction you wish to have with your intended audience.

The messaging and interaction could be one:

  • To ask for support
  • Announce research material
  • To promote education
  • To network with like-minded people
  • To present the latest news

You would use Blogs when you want to:

  • Increase search visibility
  • To build links for long-tailed search terms
  • To educate the market space and community within it
  • Communicate high trust content
  • To build lists for emailing and promotional purposes for higher conversions and reach
  • To create brand value and equity

The way internet users begin to search the web for branded products also emphasis that Blogs are the best social medium to use. Studies show that:

  • 57% use search
  • 20% via Brand Website
  • 18% via Retailer
  • 3% via Facebook
  • 2% via Twitter

SEARCHERS BEHAVIOUR

Surveys on Brand queries show only:

  • 25% of searches are successful at the first attempt
  • 42% of all search queries need refining
  • 44% of all search queries postpone their intent to buy for more that a day, week or month

YOU TUBE AS A SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNEL

Although Google does not term YouTube as a search channel, preferring to call it a video search channel, it is nevertheless:

  • The third largest website in the world
  • The second most popular search engine in the world
  • Gets four billion views every day
  • Gets sixty hours of video uploaded every 60 seconds
  • Three billion hours of video watched every month.

WHEN DO YOU USE YOU TUBE AS A SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNEL

There are enormous traffic flows into YouTube but when do you use it:

  • To see it to believe it - good to demo new products and latest gadgets
  • To get highly visible traffic - good humorous videos get thousands of views
  • Portable video - copy and paste code to embed video onto websites, Facebook and other media
  • Re-publishable - can present different layers of the same topic (repurposing). It may be easier for the video to rank instead of the website
  • Influences search results by Google
  • Presents content in different methods
  • Extended reach - will reach out to multiple sections of the market place.
  • Extended media content

When you combine YouTube as a social media channel with Google search your video and website will automatically gain greater visibility. Other benefits are:

  • Increased rankings in search engine results
  • Important additional channels for rankings and visibility
  • Influences search results - captures attention

IS SOCIAL MEDIA RIGHT FOR YOUR BUSINESS?

Remembering that social media interaction although great for exposure and awareness brings little conversions and profits. Studies show around 2% of revenues are generated by social media channels. However it's difficult to measure the impact that social media channels have on websites due to timing of a recommendation to visitors actually visiting the website. Your analytics will show a direct brand query rather than from a social media referral. Social Media has a place in your arsenal. It will bring results if your web marketing is used wisely and by directing your messaging via the most effective channel to maximise the greatest responses.

 

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