Technology is rapidly evolving and growing and history shows that as new technology emerges, old techniques are applied because this is all that is known.
Currently, this is happening with social media which means marketers are misinterpreting its purpose and the expectations of its users. This misunderstanding mainly comes down to looking at social media with traditional media mindset – and this needs to change.
Social media centres around the user, not the product, so the established method of pushing a message in a one-way direction just doesn’t work. Incentives, freebies and giveaways will succeed in the short term but in the longer term if the user isn’t being heard and acknowledged, these will no longer hit the mark.
The catch is that although technology changes rapidly, people change slowly and as a result, social media is being approached in the same way as traditional media. Instead, we need to think in terms of traditional and social mediums merging. How does traditional media support emerging social media tools and help it to develop and grow? And vice versa – what can social media teach us that can be applied to traditional media outlets?
If you think in these terms, you’ll come to understand social media as simply another tool to support business objectives, be it in a different way.
Here are some tips for approaching social media in the right way:
- Social media is about people: It’s the subtle building of relationships. As you create relationships online, you need to gain trust first and then marketing comes later, much later. This is one of the most common mistakes made by marketers and advertisers – they want to sell straight away and when they don’t succeed they blame the medium.
- Integrate social media with other marketing forms: Very few brands do marketing in isolation. Marketing activities need to be unified across all channels, and so social media needs to be included in your overall strategy rather than be regarded as a separate entity. It needs to be seen as just another channel, as the best results will be achieved this way.
- Experimentation, innovation and uniqueness: Social media is a switch from a monologue to a dialogue, therefore consumers expect to be listened to and answered. Businesses that best understand this will experiment and innovate by listening to their users and interacting with them and finding the right balance between their values and market feedback.
History shows that people eventually adapt to new technologies. Investing in social media is important, but it requires new skills and approaches to be a success. Those that don’t think outside the box and rely on traditional methods will have difficultly gaining traction and those who maintain control of the message won’t succeed in getting any message across.
Experiment until you find what suits your business requirements.