Marketing Myths: Social Media Marketing is Easy

Absolutely, there are people in many roles who think social media marketing is easy, quick, and intuitive. Their company has chosen an intern or the youngest person in the firm to be in charge of social media marketing, expecting that the work will be done in that individual’s spare time (between other tasks). Some of the characteristics of this approach to social media marketing – the easy version, if you will – are the following:

  • Social media is handled in isolation from the regular marketing team, the sales team, and the customer service team.
  • The company decided arbitrarily to post twice daily (weekdays) on each of four platforms:
  • The content of the posts is the same, including the same wording, except that more pictures are posted on Instagram and Pinterest. This company is a professional services firm.
  • All posting is done at 2:00 pm Central time.
  • Topics are chosen at the whim of the individual managing the social media accounts
  • Posts are typed into a platform off the top of the poster’s head and then copied and pasted to the other platforms.

A far more successful approach to social media marketing does the following:

  • The firm hires an agency or individual with knowledge and experience with social media marketing. Or they choose someone in the firm with a passion for telling the corporate story and send that person to intensive training in social media marketing. So How many Instagram views do you want to order? Click here to know more about it. 
  • The social media expert immediately schedules a knowledge sharing and planning meeting with at least the Chief Operating Officer (COO), Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), Chief Sales Officer (CSO), chief public relations officer, chief customer service/customer care person, customer loyalty specialist, Chief IT Officer, and all members of the sales, marketing, public relations, and customer service teams. The goals of the meeting are:
  • Understand the responsibilities of each group or individual
  • Understand how social media can be used to extend the reach of other departments in broadcasting company information and listening to the voice of the customer.
  • Understand how social media can be used to help prospective customers make their way along the path to purchase, assist the customer in using the product or service purchased, understand additional ways the product or service can be used, assist with any difficulties the customer experiences with the product, keep the customer happy, provide incentives for future upgrades or additional purchases, build customer loyalty, and deliver meaningful rewards to loyal customers.
  • Discuss how social media marketing can be used to assist other departments or teams to gather needed customer, target audience, or competitor information and insights.
  • Provide helpful information to customers and prospects that will nurture them toward either purchase or brand loyalty.
  • Engage the customer in ongoing conversations, insights, information, etc.
  • Establish a schedule for future update meetings of the group.
  • Map processes that will facilitate inter-departmental sharing and cooperation in the future.
  • Research the target market(s) to identify their interests, concerns, needs, and goals.
  • Research and identify the social media platforms most used by the target market and current customers.
  • Monitor the identified platforms to identify:
  • The tone and topic of conversations
  • The peak times of day when conversations relevant to the firm occur
  • The days of the week when conversations occur that are relevant to the firm
  • Key influencers of the target market on each platform

  • The kind of information shared and clicked through on by the target group
  • Create a posting schedule for each platform – when are people most likely to share, like, comment upon, or click through on posts
  • Research other companies in the industry in order to know what they are doing and what is working on social media.
  • Research all competitors to understand how people feel about them, what they like and do not like about them, what they are doing on social media, and how it connects with other marketing and PR efforts.
  • Research to understand what the market thinks about the firm, its promises, products, services, value proposition, etc.
  • Develop an integrated content strategy and plan to provide the information prospects and customers want, to start conversations that will engage the audience, and to provide incentives and rewards.
  • Identify the best person in the firm to write the informational pieces needed. Ask the best person to write the needed content and, if necessary, identify someone who can help with the writing.
  • Create the communication and management processes and programs to ensure content is created on schedule and that postings occur on time unless pre-empted by an emerging issue or customer concern.
  • Create a style sheet for each social media platform and distribute it to all writers.
  • Adapt or work with others to create a corporate style sheet

Only when these pieces of the process are in place (and perhaps a few others) is the social media expert ready to begin posting to social media platforms, ensuring that the right content is in the right format and tone for each platform and posting it at the optimal time for the desired customer response. Finally, the social media leader will need to monitor and analyze the effectiveness of each post and make appropriate adjustments.