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Social media is still the major buzz term for marketers of all shapes and sizes and the rhetoric does not look like slowing down anytime soon! People do love to jump on a bandwagon after all, and that means that wherever you turn you come across in-depth analyses of Twitter, or massive lists of the relative pros and cons of various social bookmarking websites. The success of some notable campaigns has meant that the media is aglow with praise (and derision) about the merits of a form of marketing that encourages humanity and two-way interaction, and you could be forgiven for assuming that this means that companies adore social media and all that it represents.
Well, for some companies that is true. However, I am of the opinion that actually it can be very hard to persuade less forward thinking companies of the advantages of this whole new way of marketing. Of the advantages of, if you will, being social. Despite the over-zealous and slightly cult-like addiction to all things Twitter, Facebook and beyond, plenty of companies just aren’t convinced.
So, where is it going wrong? What is it that is making people take a step back? After all, the advantages of a new way of promoting your brand and your business are obvious – increased trust, direct interaction with customers, potential for constant market research, captive voluntary audiences. The list goes on, and on, and on.
The thing is, you see, that people aren’t willing to look past the time investment. Generally people who are willing to use social media come from companies who include this new spangly form of marketing in their job descriptions. People with dedicated website staff or eMarketing specialists, who have the time to write many tweets a day or to get involved with setting up and running a blog. If this isn’t already the case, then most other companies simply don’t want to know, the investment seems too big. “More than one tweet a day”, they screech?! And you have to “interact”?! Those old fashioned views of the customer as separate to the brand rear their ugly heads.
Then, of course, there is moderation and brand management. The number of companies that I have watched visibly pale at the mention of damage limitation and the potential for negative comments is, quite frankly, ludicrous. Forget the fact that feedback and the handling of a negative situation is more important to social media users than the complaint itself (Oh Paperchase, if only you had known that). Forget the fact that changing your customer service to the best possible delivery is going to build you a loyal fan base, especially if you use social media as a channel. The moment free-speech and the ability for the little person to take on the big conglomerate becomes the topic of conversation, the companies back away.
As you can see, the idea of social media and the big corporations is far from the norm. In fact, a very specific subset of companies are probably in the minority in being willing to embrace the free-love, caring-sharing social media sphere with open arms. This needs to change, of course, as people embrace the ability to complain about companies, discuss purchases, and get involved in more and more of their social life on the interwebs. The thing is, how will we persuade these companies to give it a shot, and a wholehearted one at that?
Tips for promoting social media involvement
- First, explain why. Many people don’t “get” social media – and unless they do you are never going to get them involved.
- Make it easy. Introduce time-saving ideas such as automated tweets from blog feeds, Twitter platforms such as CoTweet. The easier it is seen to be, the more likely someone will be willing to do it.
- Introduce targets. If people have to reach following or interaction targets, then they will be more inclined to prioritise social media! Harsh, but true!
So what are your thoughts? How are you convincing your clients or bosses about the true merits of a well planned and measure social media strategy? Let us know in the comments below
Lauren Cooke is a fashion blogger and eMarketing consultant with a sharp eye for all things social media. Check out Lauren Cooke’s portfolio here