Social Media is without question one of todays biggest opportunities online, because not that many companies have yet figured out to harness its power.
Skittles tried to use Twitter in its brave redesign of replacing its home page with its Twitter search stream. This predictably ended in spamming of the term “Skittles”, and the eventual reinstatement of a normal Skittles home page. The Twitter stream is still there though, just a click away on their site, and unsurprisingly, people seem to have gotten sick of the spamming.
Meanwhile, over on Facebook, brands continue to create pages, which is not a bad thing, but it could be done so much better. For example, there are a tonne of ‘Tesco’ facebook groups out there, all uncoordinated and disjointed. The one which comes top of the list if you search Tesco is unfortunately called “You know you’ve worked too long at Tesco when…” which has over 18k members. The next group down for Tesco has around 3k, and after that each small group has less than 50 members.
This brings me to the first step of creating a social media campaign – You should do your research. Yes it seems obvious, but I think too many companies are in a rush to have a social media presence that they don’t take their time to see what is already out there. If you are starting out a group on Facebook, take some time to check first if there are groups which you could use as a starting point and build on them. Or maybe there are members of similar groups you could try and attract to your page? Could you have a response page to an existing negative profile? Don’t just build another replica, give it a strategic position in the social media ‘market’.
Secondly you need to have a reason for being on Facebook. You might ask what anyone‘s reason is for being on Facebook? Well, the average person wants to keep in contact with friends and raise awareness of what they themselves are doing. So do that – listen to others and try and contribute in a non-sales, non-spammy way. Build up a friendly, engaging profile. Update it regularly so it stays relevant, and let people know what is going on with your brand. Make sure you are connecting with your audience and letting them know why everything you tell them is relevant to them, not just another press release.
Lastly, you need to be patient, and monitor what goes on. A social media presence is not going to work or seem genuine if you rush or force it. Try and build it up in a natural sense. Sure you can try and attract new visitors quickly with offers, gadgets or applications, but you also need to have other things on site which might hold interest, and make you a worthwhile profile to check back on in the long run.
Oakley for example, has a stand out official page for Oakley, Inc with over 50k fans. On it they showcase designs, new concepts, pics of their office, and classic ads. The problem – the profile was started in April 2008, was added to constantly for one month, and has had no activity since then. It was obviously flavour of the month (literally) in April last year, but has long since been forgotten. For ongoing benefits, social media strategies need to be sustainable.