By: Diksha Sethi
Social Media Week, across the world, strums up issues and topics that are of most interest to the only other social entity after us humans – the brands.
Getting brands on to the social media bandwagon takes some effort. At the Social Media Week, I chose to speak about this initiation process—to help brands understand how to make their brands more ‘human’ and ‘sociable’ and then take the plunge confidently. In our daily interactions with clients, we observe many pain points that they deal with. It can sometimes be a struggle for social media strategists to educate and sensitise clients about the benefits of the medium, while forced to work within shoestring budgets, and convince the clients enough as to why the metrics of engagement matter.
Based on these interactions, we have identified the challenges that each party faces and how they can be overcome.
First up, it is important to understand the client’s need and for that, it is most important to understand their mind. To my mind, there are broadly three kinds of marketers, and each with a distinct business need.
1) Old School Marketer:
2) The Number Cruncher:
3) The Go Getter:
Apart from getting into the minds of the client, there are some major challenges that stop an organisation from realising the importance of the medium and adopting it as an essential tool of internal and external communications:
1) Lack of understanding among leadership
2) Mismatch of expectations
3) Unreasonable goal setting
4) Lack of internal stakeholder engagement
5) Social media as a stand-alone program
6) Undefined success
Where do you begin?
- Start by dipping your foot into the water before taking the leap. Start with a pilot programme with a minimum investment
- Have a clear goal that you want to achieve with this pilot and see if you are getting any value
- Set a realistic expectation. Social media is no magic wand and results may not be instantaneous
- Get comfortable with the risks. The sooner you make peace with them, the better. A risk mitigation strategy before you invest your time and money into a social media program always helps
- A quick scan at what the competitors are doing in the social media space to boost their presence and what is working or not working for them can help set the house in order
Okay, you’ve run a pilot and you’ve seen the results. You’re ready to set aside the budget and resources but it is very important to do a reality check and analyse the social media maturity level of your organisation before you decide to take the plunge.
- How much is it going to cost you?
- What is the size of the team that you need?
- Would the social media team be a part of the communications vertical or the marketing vertical or would function across departments?
- Which social media platforms would be ideal for your business? Facebook? Twitter? Not necessarily. It is important to understand your target audience and your end goal
- Bring your senior management and decision-makers to comfortable terms with the medium. Sensitise them about the pros and cons, the measurable outcomes, any risks involved and a strategy to combat the same
- Have an internal social media policy in place
- Train your employees. A social media employee training programme is a great way to embed the medium into the communications culture of your company. Only 14% organisations admit that their employees have a good knowledge of social media policies
Social media has changed the dynamics by taking the remote control from the hands of the marketer and handing it to the consumer – making her the ultimate decision-maker. Like it or not, people are talking about your brand on the web – good, bad or ugly – and you can’t stop them. The point is, are you listening? If you are, then it is time to take the bull by the horn and face the change – start talking to your consumers, pay attention to their feedback/suggestions/criticism and engage with them actively so that they become the advocates of your brand identity.
Are you ready to take the social media plunge?