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Tips for Social Marketers

Written By: Raluca Druta
Published On: March 26 2013

Does social marketing meet the expectations that businesses or marketers have set for it? There are many claims according to which social marketing is very effective; perhaps more effective than e-mail marketing for certain generations of consumers or market segments. From a business perspective, recognizing the social as becoming an important space for advertising and finding prospects or reaching the masses is somewhat predictable as a business strategy. Increasingly, companies’ Web sites are becoming extensions of social media pages as are e-commerce Web sites.

As businesses tread on this increasingly solid social road, they recognize that they must exist socially—without even expecting any immediate profits from social marketing. If social marketing were to understand social technology, then it should be quite clear that social technologies are diverse. There’s Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and more. Social media applications are not like word processors, which resemble each other—instead, each has its own distinct form.

Information Reuse Not Always Effective

A functionality common to social applications is content synchronization with other social platforms (e.g., automatic pushing of content from Facebook to Twitter). While there are obvious practical benefits in activating this option, one should also understand that abusing it leads only to repetitive content for users that engage with various platforms, which may further lead to user boredom and disinterest.

Information reuse is acceptable as long as it is a small part of the social marketing agenda. In fact, each platform may be used to represent a company or product in different ways. This is not to say that every single message that a company wants to transmit must be adapted for each social platform. Rather, once a message has been conceived, it is recommended that the company choose the best platform with which to deliver it.

Social Platforms Are Hangouts

Social media platforms appear to be hangouts for many people. These days, hanging out on Facebook or Twitter are popular pastimes. People access social media to talk to their friends and family, follow the news, or engage with their favorite brands. Some may spend several hours a day on these platforms. For businesses, it is important to map clients’ social or online activities. In so doing, they are able to direct social marketing campaigns effectively.

But which clients opt for Twitter? Which ones prefer Facebook or Google+? These are relevant questions for social marketers for two main reasons. First, if most clients tend to navigate to a certain venue, then it does not make sense to create content for all venues. A company can focus on its clients’ platform of preference and duplicate content on other venues to make sure it has presence across multiple channels. This is a case where content duplication does make sense.

Second, if segments of clients can be identified as using several social media networks, then content can be produced to fit the requirements and constraints of those platforms. For example, if some clients follow a company on both Facebook and Twitter, then from an experience and entertainment perspective it makes a lot of sense to have medium-appropriate representations.

Medium Benefits and Constraints

Content that is 140 characters long has certain challenges in reaching its audience that a TV advertisement does not. As a TV clip has more leeway in elaborating promotional messages, the viewer’s attention can be captured by the underling narrative as well as the visual representation, wherein is contained the necessary messaging. But thread updates contain simple text and run so fast that capturing your intended audience’s attention is a true challenge—even if the same message is repeated over and over.

Social platforms as vehicles for social marketing can be acknowledged as highly unpredictable. Social is the technology that allows people to reinvent themselves and to be perceived as having done so by others. While the notion and means of designing personas as social representations of oneself has been around for some time, a persona has traditionally meant ‘acting as’ or ‘acting like’ within actual or real-life environments. However, with the explosion of images—which social media extensively exploits—representing oneself unfolds within virtual or online settings. As a result, people get very creative and playful with social media tools and display carefully constructed images of themselves. In fact, people tend to alter their own image on social media, frequently. Perhaps it is not too adventurous to believe that social media supports the revamping of one’s image as an act of consumption (getting the sought-out “attention” from others) or a form of entertainment. In this case, clients can be viewed as producers of entertainment commodities—much like Hollywood—that social marketers have to keep up with.

Tips for Social Marketers

Your clients have become more sophisticated and refined than you. Get your hands on anything that you can find to help you understand human and social behavior, from psychiatrist Eric Berne’s “Games People Play” to hanging out at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and viewing the choreographic work of Alvin Ailey’s “Revelations” on American dance theater. Or, in other words, become insightful, as customers like and appreciate being surprised. Also, do not even think of competing with your customers’ wits. There is no way you can compete with the collective intelligence. Mingle with your clients and humbly listen so that you can better communicate with them on what interests them.
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