Before you invite customers, fans or followers to connect with you across social networks, read this post to avoid alienating your audience.
You’ve launched a Facebook page and a Twitter account for your brand. You’ve established a company presence on LinkedIn. Now the CMO (or some random employee in the elevator) wants to know why the brand isn’t on Snapchat, Vine, Pinterest, Periscope or any number of other social networks that launched last week, are all the rage among teens and are likely to fade into oblivion by year-end. You scramble to read everything you can about the social network; poll friends, colleagues and your agency on how to use the site; and get your creative team working on a brand profile picture while you draft content.
Fast forward 24 hours and you’re on yet another social site. Then, management wants to know why the brand doesn’t have more likes, fans or followers on this new social network. Once again, you scramble to add the social networking site’s logo to your company website, build an email campaign to invite all of your customers, and draft posts and tweets to invite current fans and followers to connect with you in yet another place. STOP. RIGHT. NOW. Aside from the fact that you’re about to deploy a classic “spray and pray” campaign, you’re about to lose the connections you already have.
Ask these three questions before you invite someone to connect with your brand on across social networks.
3 Questions to Ask
What do you hope to achieve through the use of the social network?
Social marketing has a variety of use cases and each social site can fill a different role in your marketing and communication strategy. Maybe you use LinkedIn to convey thought leadership, Twitter to engage influencers, Facebook to advertise and generate insight, and Instagram for visual storytelling. As you expand your social presence to another social networking site, like Vine or Periscope, don’t just republish the same content from someone else. Observe how users and other brands engage on the social network, especially brands that have amassed a following and achieved measurable results. What do they do that works? This can give you ideas about how that social network could work for your brand.
Are you using it in a unique and differentiated way from other brands and other social networks?
Now that you know how natives engage on a social networking site, find a way to engage that will resonate with users, yet distinguish your brand from others. Start with the thing that makes your brand unique. For instance, Royal Caribbean uses its biggest assets-cruise ships-to capture photos and videos of exotic destinations and tell visual stories on Instagram to engage and entice travelers. Then, figure out the role that this social network will play in your social marketing strategy and multichannel marketing mix. While social analytics from across social network scan inform social marketing and marketing in other channels, the content and tactics you use on Facebook are very different from the ones you would deploy on Snapchat or in an email marketing campaign.
How will your presence on this social network deliver value for your audience?
Rule #1 of social marketing: It’s not about you. It’s about the value you create for your audience. If an extension of your brand’s social presence delivers value to your audience (or helps to expand your audience), that’s terrific! But if it only serves to get the CMO (or Bob, the random employee in the elevator) off your back, it’s waste of marketing resources. Just because it works for other brands, or attracts Millenials or some other highly sought after demographic, doesn’t mean it will work for your brand or audience. For instance, Burger King created a buzz on Twitter with their”McWhopper” stunt, but if your brand is conservative or your audience wants info, not entertainment, it’s unlikely you could use this social network the same way and expect positive results.
You’ve worked hard to build connections from increasing email sign-ups or mobile opt-ins to growing your social media audience through compelling content and authentic engagement. Don’t alienate youraudience by inviting them to an experience that doesn’t deliver clear value or isn’t relevant to their relationship with your brand. Instead, figure out if and how your brand can use a social network to achieve meaningful results, whether managing online reputation or driving traffic to your website, and align those results to the value you can bring to your audience, such as thought leadership or access to compelling product information.
Then, confirm that the social network you’re considering actually reaches the same people you want to reach and enables the type of engagement you’re after. Finally, determine if you have anything new and noteworthy to share that your audience isn’t already getting through their current connections to your brand. If you can answer these questions, then the social networking site may be worth pursuing. If not, get comfortable explaining to the CMO (and random employees like Bob) just how the brand’s social marketing strategy works to deliver results and why the latest and greatest social networking site may fit into that strategy.