Social Media is rising – can you hear it roar? In that roar you might hear a lot of voices, and by a lot I mean thousands of voices, saying they are social media experts. Google defines an expert as “a person who is very knowledgeable about or skillful in a particular area.”
The problem with hiring an expert is that you are hiring someone who has a lot of knowledge in one field.
When I started out in digital marketing almost 10 years ago, I too called myself a social media expert. It was easy to be an “expert” on platforms that didn’t offer much functionality, and if you had some marketing background, could code some html, and design an image, you were a golden child.
Quite disillusioned was I, when I realized you can never be a true expert in digital or social media marketing. Why you may ask? Because you are always learning.
Digital marketing is made up out of a lot of elements.
The various digital marketing elements
Usually when I ask a client to list a few digital marketing elements that they would like to use, I usually get this type of answer:
“A little bit of Facebook. Perhaps Instagram. We’re not really sure about twitter. People complain too much on it. Yup, that should about do it. How much would that cost?”
It’s at this point where I usually pull out a pen and paper, and start drawing. Most business owners don’t understand how vast the digital landscape is, and if you don’t navigate it correctly you will not only see minimal results, you might not get any benefit from it at all.
The basic digital marketing elements include:
As I said, these are the basics, and when used correctly, you should see some results. The best results can however be seen when you use these as part of a strategic plan that ties in with your overall business plan and marketing plan. Using these as part of a strategy is best explained via the digital trifeca – but more about that here.
Digital platforms change
Digital platforms change every day. From Google to Facebook, twitter, Instagram, and a plethora of new platforms coming to fruition every day. it has changed so much from 2007 to now, 2017. You can read a bit more about that in an upcoming blog post.
It is just impossible to be a true expert in every single social or digital platforms.
That said, being very knowledgeable in these platforms only help you to a certain degree. You need to know how to use the platforms, its features, and goals in a strategic way to benefit your brand, service or product.
There is no use in knowing how everything works on Facebook, if you cannot use it to grow and engage a community to convert them to users or advocates of your products or services.
The social media trap
This is a trap many brands fell into in the early stages on social media, turning social platforms into complaints channels. Platforms like twitter and Facebook pages became the core place customers turn to, to vent frustration and gripes about a brand. This isn’t useful to a brand at all on its own.
How many brands have you searched out on social platforms to rather complain to them instead of calling a call centre?
Consumers have learnt to understand that the person behind the chat screen, or reply is an actual human trying to assist. Granted, as community managers we do get the irate customers who still choose to be rude, rather than work with us to assist them, but for the most part, consumers have learnt to trust these platforms.
The question is how to turn these channels into engaging platforms, and not just complaints channels?
More than a complaints channel
Brands that allow strategic decisions to lead their social media and digital marketing efforts embrace complaints, and turn them into experiences that convert a complaining customer into loyal brand advocate. This is a hard process, and requires amazing interpersonal skills.
You can never put a rookie client liaison or client service person behind a keyboard and enthusiastically set them off to answer complaints. Your brand will most definitely run into many problems, and struggle to convert complaints into compliments. This is a task for a great community manager.
But, how do we become more than just a client service account or page?
It’s all about using a the full digital marketing mix to create a cohesive approach that promotes the brand to the right market with content that is useful and relevant.
If ever there was a sentence to write down on your marketing notes wall, it’s that one.
I’m not saying you have to suddenly use every single digital marketing platform all at once. Far from it. I am saying, use your channels wisely, to work towards a goal. Digital strategy is an imperative part of being active on social as a brand, or having a presence on the web.
You can’t use one portion of digital marketing on its own and expect results. You can also not expect results immediately.
Proper digital marketing is all about Planning, Compiling, Executing and Analysis, with the process going on indefinitely. You can’t stick with one strategy all the time, because as your business needs change, so too does the purpose of any specific social platform.
- No one can be an expert in everything digitally related
- Strategy is imperative in crafting a successful, fruit-bearing solution
- Social platforms are just one elements in the digital trifecta
- Always innovate through research, measurement and analysis
- If you’re not getting results, ask a professional, not an expert.