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The Social Media Problem

Posted by Stuart Jansen on March 20, 2014
The Social Media Problem

Is there really a problem with social media marketing? Do you question whether the time, money and effort you put into social media nurturing is worth it? Here’s our secret – there is a HUGE problem with social media, and that problem is the term itself.

“Social media” is an umbrella term that incorporates dozens of websites and apps, each with unique features, benefits and drawbacks. The problem is that all of these unique platforms are being grouped together and companies feel that in order to have a successful social media presence, they need to be involved in every social media platform.  This stems from the rise of social media in 2006, when to say “social media presence” meant being involved with Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter, which were all of the major platforms.  However, over the past 8 years there has been rapid growth in the social media industry and dozens of apps and websites now fall under the term, but many marketers are stuck in 2006, when it was the norm to participate in all of them.

How is this a problem? A simple rule of economics is that specialization is necessary for an efficient and profitable economy – the same holds true for social media.

One of three problems may occur when involved in an excessive amount of platforms:

1) Unique Customer Relevant Content – Customer Presence = Poor Followership 
You may be providing unique, customer targeted content for each platform, and spending a lot of time to do so, but since your customer presence may not be strong in all these platforms, the returns and followership generated from your efforts and investment may not meet expectations.

2) Reusing = Irrelevant = Inconsistant Followership
Another alternative is that you are saving time by posting the same content on multiple platforms, however, customers use different platforms with different expectations. For example, the same post may be very successful on Facebook but irrelevant on Twitter, making your Twitter presence and followership suffer.

3) Platform Relevant Content – Customer Relevant = High Followership 
A third possibility is that you have strong followership in all your social media platforms, and have spent a lot of your budget in doing so. However, the demographics and content of different platforms vary greatly. In this situation it is likely that content was created to match the audience on each social media channel, rather than to match the company’s target audience. Though followership will be high, this does not translate into business because the content is not targeted at your potential customers.

So what is the solution? Strategic social media nurturing!  Brands should treat their social media strategy the same way they’d treat any other marketing communication tool. Research each individual platform and strategically plan your approach. Consider the following for each platform: who is the target audience? What are the strengths and weaknesses? What are its unique offerings? Where are your competitors? Can you realistically provide effective content on that platform?

For example: maybe your competitors are using Vine very effectively and generating a lot of attention. Although it would be wise for your company to capitalize on this as well, if you don’t think you are realistically going to invest time, money, and effort into coming up with and producing short clips to post, then don’t create an account. You have to consider both where your customers are and where you can provide effective content. Facebook is great, and generating likes looks great for a company, but if you are a targeting a creative crowd Pinterest may be more useful in generating sales, because that’s where many creative people look for ideas and inspiration.

For a great example of effective targeted social media use, look at Apple, who for years only nurtured Twitter and Facebook accounts. Apple recently joined Tumblr because they felt that Tumblr “separates itself from a creative standpoint”. They specifically use this account to advertise their iPhone 5c because its target audience matches up with Tumblr’s audience; 56% of Tumblr users are under 34, which is the same for the iPhone 5c.

Don’t let social media become a problem. Use effective targeting, strategy and planning to maximize its benefits and minimize waste. If you need a hand in coming up with strong, relevant, targeted social media strategy then contact BTI Brand Innovations, and we’ll be happy to help.

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