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The 8 Sins of Social Media Marketing

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Social media marketing (SMM) is a sub-set of e-marketing and it involves the use of social media sites for the purpose of marketing a product/service. As many businesses have discovered, SMM is on the rise and it has many unlimited benefits, some of which include helping a company to: innovate, build closer relationships with customers/stakeholders, reduce marketing costs, increase brand reach and simplify market research.

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The 8 Sins of Social Media Marketing

  2. 2. WHATIS SOCIALMEDIA MARKETING? Social media marketing (SMM) is a sub-set of e-marketing and it involves the use of social media sites for the purpose of marketing a product/service. As many businesses have discovered, SMM is on the rise and it has many unlimited benefits, some of which include helping a company to: innovate, build closer relationships with customers/stakeholders, reduce marketing costs, increase brand reach and simplify market research.
  3. 3. AWESOME RIGHT? WAIT,THERE'SA BUT Despite its benefits, many businesses are failing dismally at SMM, leading them to assume that SMM is not worth investing in… there are many reasons why businesses fail at SMM, in this two part post I will highlight 8 of those reasons. Avoid these 4 social media marketing sins that most businesses are guilty of…and you will have a fighting chance of thriving in your SMM.
  4. 4. SIN#1-FAILINGTO CONDUCTMARKET RESEARCH Research is the genesis of every stable foundation. The main aim of conducting research is to identify potential solutions to problems. When it comes to marketing, be it direct or digital, market research is essential. Market research can help minimise/eliminate some of the risks associated with social media marketing.
  5. 5. MARKET RESEARCHMarket Research helps organisations understand their online customers’ needs and expectations. Research shows that online customers usually have higher expectations than offline customers.
  6. 6. DOYOUR RESEARCH With that said, it is imperative to ensure that you conduct market research and a thorough social media audit, which should include social media monitoring/ social listening. Social listening involves identifying and evaluating what people are saying about your business, competitors and industry on social media. A social media audit involves conducting a SWOT analysis across all your social media platforms (if your business is already on social media) – it ranges from your choice of platform, strategies, content, type/quality of followers, to competitors’ strategies/activities.
  7. 7. DOYOUR RESEARCH Research each platform and its rules of engagement e.g. Do’s and Don’ts, Terms of Use, trends, hashtags/keywords, strengths, weaknesses, and type of audience. Hashtag research is imperative for platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Never make the mistake of using hashtags without first understanding their background, and meanings (connotative, denotative, implicit and explicit).
  8. 8. THE6P'S OFSOCIAL MEDIA Your research should give you insights into (I) Platforms - which platforms are best suited or your business and its needs. (II) Place - where your customers spend most of their time on social media. (III) People - who your ideal online customer is, their likes, dislikes as well as their behavioural trends. (IV) Partnerships – when it comes to e-marketing, collaborations are important for sustainability. 
  9. 9. THE6P'S OFSOCIAL MEDIA (V) Promotion – if you want social media to work for you, allocate a budget to it. Research should be able to guide you about how much PPC, PPM ads cost across different platforms, and also how you should structure your marketing campaigns. (VI) Product/Perceptions – it is important that you ensure that your research is well positioned to help you understand customers’ perceptions about your brand/organisation/products/services. Customers enjoy sharing experiences on social media so listen very well. Feedback, whether good or bad, is ALWAYS good.
  10. 10. SIN#2-FAILINGTOSET SMARTOBJECTIVES Findings from your market research should guide you in setting comprehensive social media marketing objectives. These objectives should be derived from your overall business and marketing objectives. Social media does not work in isolation.
  12. 12. SMART OBJECTIVES Many businesses, both big and small, make the mistake of not setting objectives for social media marketing. Although, most of us know the importance of setting SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) marketing objectives, most businesses still end up forgetting that social media marketing needs its own set of objectives. These objectives which should be in-line with the overall marketing objectives since social media marketing does not function in a vacuum.
  13. 13. SMART OBJECTIVES It is important to identify the reasons why your business has chosen to go social. You need to analyse your needs and expectations before you even tackle social media. Start by asking yourself the following questions: What benefits are you expecting? Why do you want to be on social media?
  14. 14. 5S'SOF  E-MARKETING Here is a general overview of the five main objectives (also known as the 5 S’s of e-marketing) for using social media for business: To sell – increase sales/leads To save costs – by reducing marketing costs To serve customers – by adding value and giving customers extra benefits To sizzle – by increasing brand awareness online To speak to customers – get closer to customers
  15. 15. SIN#3-VIOLATING TERMSOFUSE All social media platforms have different terms of use however most of the themes overlap, take Facebook and LinkedIn for instance. Both these platforms have different accounts for individuals and organisations. Individuals are allowed a personal account otherwise known as a profile, meanwhile organisations are allowed a business/company page. Despite this clear distinctions, there are still many businesses that violate Facebook and LinkedIn Terms of Use by creating profiles for their businesses.
  16. 16. RESPECTTHE TERMSOFUSE In its ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ (section 8.2. of its User Agreement) LinkedIn clearly outlines that by creating a LinkedIn profile “you agree that you will not create a member profile for anyone other than yourself (a real person)”. In the same breath, Facebook emphasises that ‘Facebook Personal profiles are for non-commercial use and represent individual people.’ 
  17. 17. PLAYBY THERULES As tempting as it may seem, it is best to stay clear of Black Hat practices such as creating a Facebook/ LinkedIn personal profile your business. If you really have to, rather use your personal profile for business instead. Violating Terms of Use and rules of engagement on social media has the potential to harm your brand and reputation.
  18. 18. SIN#4-NOTHAVINGA PLAN Ever heard the phrase “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”? Well it also applies to social media marketing. Approaching social media without a plan is very risky. Despite this knowledge, most businesses still choose to jump straight into action without having a solid plan of action. Your plan needs to include social media objectives, strategy and campaigns. Other crucial elements to include are:
  19. 19. PLAN,PLAN, PLAN! Customer service – like it or not, customers will use your social media platforms to compliment, complain or query (be it directly via tagging or mentioning your handle directly or indirectly via vaguely mentioning you casually). It therefore becomes critical for your business to have a well-oiled query resolution system that is known and understood by all relevant parties in your business. Crisis management – having a plan doesn't necessarily mean that you shouldn't prepare yourself for the worst case scenario. Your plan should include a comprehensive social media risk analysis – because, prevention is better than cure.