Modern brand-related communication and activity stands at the throes of a breakthrough; a complete overhaul if we will. Bigger bucks are being invested in online initiatives, and arenas that were hitherto dominated completely by offline marketing and branding activity, are soon turning into playing fields for people with the online edge.
Brands still opt for offline activity - especially large FMCGs, retail giants, and the F&B sector. After all, they cannot afford to miss out on eyeballs. However, they are ensuring that all their offline ventures (if any) are well documented online, and shared. Brands are investing money on advertising to give their activity a ‘push’ to go viral. So as things stand, amidst the gains of globalisation, it’s no secret that using social media marketing aptly can get us virality, visibility, and sales.
But, it has to be understood that while there are no hard and fast rules on how brands manage their social media marketing, there are a few ways that can break the conversation they have established with their community.
Here are 5 of them:
1. Irregular updates
Once we establish a connection with our audience and build a community (i.e., get people to like, subscribe, or follow us), they would have some expectations. Our community expects to hear from us and space out our updates too wide wouldn’t be interesting for them. As introduced in another article, out of sight is truly out of mind, and in the online sphere, it could be disastrous. It’s nice to keep posting regular updates on social media channels, emailers and other communication groups, which are related to our brand and domain. Keeping the name, our offerings, and brand identity alive and fresh in the mind of our community is vital.
2. Irrelevant topics
As reported by the Aimia institute in 2015, consumers are “deletists”. Posting updates on our social media profiles merely as a task is a big NO. The moment we do that, we are inviting a downward spiral. What we post must have some contextual association with our domain. Let’s say we’re a Taxi services brand and our domain is ferrying people across town. Our brand’s social media profiles must address that domain. If we start talking about nutrition (which is an important topic, yet irrelevant to the domain and service), we are confusing our community members. When our members see less relevance and find conversations drifting away from the topic, we stand the chance of losing them. Being aware of what and how conversations are going and keeping a subtle yet firm tab on the adherence of the context is very important.
3. Biased opinions
Let’s say our brand supports a particular sports team or a particular celebrity. Displaying bias to a single person or thought can offend a number of our community members. If we are managing the social profiles, it’s obvious that our profiles will speak positively about the team or figure. However, the communication cannot afford to be completely tilting towards a particular favorite experience or person. As our community could hail from a diverse strata of the society, we need to be friendly to them all.
4. Using abusive language
As a brand that reaches out to (or aims to reach out to) a large audience, usage of abusive language indicates two things - we are aggressive (in the negative sense), or we possess poor vocabulary (and hence use abuses to make up for it). Both are not characteristics that we want to portray about our brand. Sarcasm is good, but to a certain measure. If our brand has been built on the ethos of sarcasm it’s fine. Our community members are used to it, they’ve witnessed it, perhaps even been on the receiving end of it (e.g., Mad Magazine readers), and thus it doesn’t come as a surprise (or worse, a shock) to them. However, if our brand has established a people-oriented outlook, a sudden overtly sarcastic stance can be quite disturbing and “off-putting”.
5. Irresponsive and lack of engagement
One very crucial aspect of social media marketing is interaction. We need to establish that we don’t just talk, but also listen. And that we don’t just listen, but respond too. Tagging the winners of a competition we may have hosted, responding to what people say to our brand, and giving the impression that we as a brand care for what they say, makes a huge difference.
Although there aren’t rigid rules of managing a community online, there are a few things we can do to ensure our community seldom allows room for faux pas. Being respectful, relevant and proactively engaged with our community members and sticking to the best practices always helps most. Posting updates regularly with an angle that brings out reactions from members, such that, they would be reasons to interact with the social media content, like or share it, is important. And this would bring virality and pride of association to all our community members. Thus will spread the word and make us grow.