Marketing in today’s world is ever changing. As noted in the previous article (found here), there are a plethora of mediums available to choose from. One of the most popular forms of digital advertising is obviously social media. As you know, any marketing efforts can easily spin out of control if not planned for properly. The social media stigma is no different. As a matter of fact, this arena can get messy much quicker than others due to its massive reach. And unfortunately, most of the campaigns which I have come across lack any kind of plan. There may have been a strategy or two, but not a clear, defined plan.
One of the strategies often used is to find an “influencer” or popular blogger on social media and have them brag about how wonderful your product or service is. Most of the time, this is done for a fee or some barter deal (i.e. free service at your salon). The obvious expected outcome of this approach is that you will reach the audience who follows this certain individual. But are you doing more harm than good to your brand? Go down memory lane and try to remember the first rules of marketing:
Rule #1 – Your Target Audience
Most of the popular bloggers used have an impressive following, but can we pin-point who these followers really are? For all you know, they can damage your brand instead of elevate it. There is no absolute way to figure out who follows a certain "fashionista" or what their demographics are, so often we take a guess. The point is to keep in mind that your guess has very limited liability and associating certain people with your brand can significantly affect your brand image in the long run.
Rule #2 – Your Marketing Plan
Many a times I see a commitment to advertising on social media but again, no plan. Business owners must remember that marketing is not simply advertising. It is a thought-out, well laid out plan which includes advertising but does not rely solely on it. Your Marketing plan should include social media use, but it must also include branding, loyalty, awareness, promotions, reminder marketing, etc.
Rule #3 – Your Goals
If you are still convinced that your business needs to hire a “fashionista”, you must also consider what you would like to achieve. Do you want more brand exposure for example? Or do you want the inevitable association with this person? One common overlooked fact of this strategy is that you will have people looking for you and wanting to inquire about the advertised product/service. Don’t fall into the trap of having an overwhelming amount of phone calls or messages and not being able to address all of them. How many times have you seen a promotion and called but no one answered? Or have come across an advert on social media which did not link back to a company account or website? Avoid these situations by planning ahead.
In conclusion, the general consensus from a scientific management point of view is that social media marketing is a Mass Marketing tool used primarily to compliment the advertising goals of an overall marketing plan. But of course, each business will have to be evaluated in terms of how social media can impact them individually. There are ways to possibly quantify certain promotional efforts on social media, we will leave that for our next discussion.