Fresh off the boat
Social media is a hot topic as we all know. Professionals, journalists and practitioners talk about the benefits, debate the ability to measure its success and the ways to manage it effectively. It is recognised that social media is a core element within a brand. It is integrated into the business strategy, it manages the brands community, gives the brand a voice and personality. If it’s not recognised, then your brand will cease to exist online and will therefore lose out on a lot of marketing potential. The bottom line here is social media is here to stay. It is not a choice but a necessity. Get to grips with that and make sure you jump aboard before it’s too late.
Everyone knows that social media has grown rapidly and that there are many social networks out there. But does everyone appreciate its importance and how to use it effectively? I’m not convinced the answer is yes. I don’t believe brands are grasping how crucial it is to stay engaged with their audience and keep up to date on terms, conditions and advertising regulations. Not everyone knows where to go looking for their target audience and people are adopting social media practises blindly.
Sink or swim? It’s an age old issue
It is a debated fact that the older generation are still yet to fully understand the benefits of social media today. There are many senior executives and marketers out there who do not understand the effects of social media on brand reputation, image and perception. Some companies are not taking it seriously enough and simply letting interns deal with it purely because they’re young and have a Twitter account. What the older generation lack, is the knowledge of who is using it, what it is used for, why it’s being used and how to measure its usefulness. I am suggesting they go find out the answers and that they appreciate they need to be asked.
Social Media is an essential part of every company, it is the hub. It embraces the culture of the company and the ways in which they communicate with their customers and associates. The older generation must recognise that it is a community and a place where their customers will talk about them and share information about them with the entire world.
The issue, as I see it, is if the older generation don’t see sense in social media and don’t hire someone who does, they will fall behind. It’s easy to be stubborn and think that it’s not needed; after all Social Media is no more than 10 years old. But with online rapidly progressing, the older generation must alter their perspectives.
For those that recognise this shift to digital, recognise also that they need to hire the know-how. A community manager should be sourced or hired and become a part of the marketing team being made fully aware of strategies and campaigns etc.
It’s seems with 67% of internet users on social media and with more people using it in 2013 than 2012, that would be proof enough that this area of marketing must not go untouched.
A social community manager is an in-demand role in the marketing industry. A community manager is designated to manage social media platforms on a daily basis. Having this role is a crucial investment. It’s within this role to create good, sharable and engaging content for followers and potential consumers. It is imperative that the community manager is aware of the brands personality and strategy as it will be their speciality to implement this effectively. A strong foundation can thereby be created and a community will flourish.
Lego put their managers on a social media day course which had both a practical and theoretical exam. Their director of social media, Lars Silberbaur, said this training was necessary as it is important to be able to connect with customers. They wouldn’t be so well known for their good use of social media communications if this course wasn’t taken.
Whatever floats your boat
There are multiple social platforms that can be used to shout about your organisation, endorse your product and reach out to your client base, but are different networks more effective for different industries? Which network is the best for promoting your company?
It’s easy enough for a company to get excited in all the social networking excitement and start building profiles on all the platforms they can think of. This isn’t wise because it’s pointless and time consuming. If your target audience aren’t there, then you shouldn’t be either. In order to stop creating profiles on all the major social networks (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and more, a lot more!) and to understand best practises, all companies need to learn how to manage social media responsibly. This is where the social community manager role comes in handy!
Each social network has its own unique features. Businesses thrive on Twitter, LinkedIn is great for networking and Facebook is brilliant to advertise and activate campaigns. Each network has the ability to strengthen a brand. This is only possible when the right platform is chosen by the community manager.
The main point I am bringing to light is simply that not everyone ‘gets’ the hype. This group of people should now know that even if they aren’t on the social media bandwagon, they need to hire someone who is. This is the way to build a community for their brand and a great marketing tool to have at their dispense. The possibilities are endless and please reflect on how much has become available in the past 10 years! It can only get bigger and better.