Brands are Taking the Wrong Approach to Social and Here is How to Fix That

loudspeaker photoSocial media is undeniably an integral part of our daily routine and brings huge benefits to both our business and personal lives. As these benefits become more apparent, an increasing number of brands and businesses are integrating social media into their overall marketing strategies. These platforms give brands a free and invaluable way to connect with clients (both current and potential), spread brand warmth, monitor competitors, manage customer service, gain customer insights and drive website traffic….so what’s not to love?

Yet, many brands are jumping feet first into the social media realm without truly understanding the basics; mainly, how to post content. This seems like a no-brainer to some people, yet many brands still don’t know the most basic and fundamental ‘rules’ of social media. Yes, social media is integral to your brand, but going out all guns blazing with no planning or strategy may in fact do more harm than good.

And what’s the biggest faux-par of social we hear you ask…Easy; using these channels to broadcast rather than engage.

If used in moderation, broadcast messages can be effective. By using messages to signpost back to a company blog, news piece or article, this can make people aware of content that they may never have seen. It can also work to attract more fans and followers, as by positioning you as an industry expert, the content you post will give people a reason to follow you.

Yet, this must be done in moderation. If you continuously broadcast marketing messages via your social sites, people will soon switch off. Mix these messages up with engaging 3rd party content, network with customers and work to build strong lasting relationships with your followers. Essentially, social media is the long game, so stick with it and you will start to see results.

We’ve all been into a shop and been given the hard sell by someone we’ve never met…and yes we switch off. You wouldn’t train your in-store staff to constantly shout out brand messages in an attempt to sell to customers, apart from looking unprofessional; this would also drive people away. So why then do brands do this on social? The best sales people get to know their customers, they engage them in conversations, find out what makes them tick and then provide a solution or product to match their needs. The same should go for social media.

A report from Brandwatch unbelievably shows that 25% of top brands continue to use Twitter for broadcasting purposes only. If you’re constantly broadcasting marketing messages, your content is without context, meaning no trust is built and ultimately no sales. This can also make your brand look uncreative; your social media sites give a humanistic touch to your brands, use these to showcase your creativity and personality. If you’re only pushing brand messages this makes your business look dull and uninspiring.

The real value comes from engaging your followers in 2 way conversations, interacting with them and showing them that you care. Brands who do just this are winning the race when it comes to gaining new customers, just take a look at Taco Bell and O2, who’re undeniable masters at calming social media storms and reassuring unhappy customers. Over the years they’ve created a huge sense of brand warmth via their humorous and engaging social media posts. Their messages are being retweeted countless times, spreading their brand messages infinitely further than those brands who broadcast. So come on guys, get some personality!

We all know the saying; if a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound? Well, the same goes for social; it’s all well and good endlessly posting but if you’re not engaging your followers then these posts will fall on deaf ears. Are you really making an impact with your broadcast messages, more often than not, these are ignored.  If you’re constantly pushing out messages, people will soon switch off. Instead start engaging in conversations, joining in with the chatter and building up a strong sense of brand warmth and rapport with your followers.

Social media used to be social….so stop using it to broadcast your marketing messages and get engaging with your customers.

Note: This post is a guest post from a member of our DMR Insider Community.

Photo by cosmonautirussi