Most Brands And Agencies Don’t Understand Social Media Or How To Use It

Social media…

At this point in time, you would think – you would hope – that brands understood what it is, the importance, how to use it, and how not to use it.  But unfortunately, that’s still not the case.  Unfortunately, even many “social media experts” don’t truly get what social media is.

Here it is: Social media is “media”.  It’s a newspaper, it’s a magazine, it’s a newscast, it’s a TV show, it’s a Netflix series, it’s a good book, it’s a newsletter.

Social media gives you an international public platform to produce content on and engage with the public.  So you need to ask yourself, ask your brand – would people be interested in tuning into our content?  Would they set their DVR to record it, would they talk about your show – your content – around the water cooler the next day?  The big question – would they share that content with their friends, family, and co-workers?

The idea is to create such compelling, interesting media, that people will feel the need to share it.  Thus exposing your BRAND to hundreds, to millions of new eyeballs.

Take Facebook for example, any engagement is great, likes and comments are rewarding for sure, but the victory is when someone shares your post.  Recently we had some pretty amazing victories, having content go beyond viral for some very traditional not-so-exciting brands.  They wound up having their posts seen by a combined 20+ million people – between just posts.  That’s extraordinary Super Bowl style reach that would typically cost Super Bowl style money to achieve.  By creating compelling content, incredible brand exposure was achieved for substantially less money than Super Bowl ads.  That’s ROI, that’s the money shot, and what great social media is all about.  The potential to expose your brand, to millions upon millions of people for not only far less money, but also a level of exposure simply unobtainable by any other manner.

So with that being said, no matter what the platform – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or the next great thing to show up – you and your team need to be working feverishly on compelling content and asking yourself, will people share this?  Ask yourself, would I even share this on my page?

VALUE – It’s What We Look For In Content

Things like amazing tips, news, information, shocking moments, breaking news, things that will make people’s lives better, easier, cheaper.  If you’re a plumbing company, share DIY tips on how to save money on water usage, how to vet potential plumbers, how to fix something yourself.  If you’re a Hedge fund, while you don’t want to provide investment advice, within the “money space” you can provide value by sharing money saving tips, planning, wealth management concepts.  If you’re a tool company or hardware product, how about sharing garage projects, DIY tips, how to properly use tools, cool facts and did you know blurbs.

What it’s NOT about is “hey look at me”, or “use our product it’s the best ever”, or “we are now 6% cheaper”.  Nobody cares; nobody will ever share that.  I can’t drill it home enough – provide value.  At Fuel Online, we have teams of people that do nothing but scour the web for amazing content to use today, tomorrow, for special occasions, events, holidays, etc.  Then we also have people who create their own tips, ideas, projects, and imagery.

The Second Biggest Takeaway I Can Give You Guys Is – ENGAGE

It’s one thing to have great content, but aside from being the largest media platforms in the world, it is also a 2-way conversation.  It’s an incredible opportunity to talk to people – current customers, potential customers, or people who just enjoy your content.

There is nothing worse than having something to say to a brand, taking my time to tweet them and getting nothing but crickets back.  When your brand is on social media, you have a responsibility to be listening and engaging with people.

Large brands need to have social media customer service teams who monitor 24/7, have protocols in place, and are empowered to solve problems.  Smaller brands still need to check daily, even hourly for comments on their posts, questions, private messages to their pages.

I LOVE angry, negative customers on social media.  I know it sounds crazy.  But I tell our clients to embrace it and to be excited about the opportunity.  Yep, every single nasty complaint, or gripe is a huge OPPORTUNITY to show the world on an international platform, who you are and what your brand is made of.  Not only that, but it’s an opportunity to identify someone with a complaint that you might not have gotten the chance to know about.

It’s an opportunity to turn a nasty, angry complainer, into a raving fan who loved the way you handled it, and what you did for them – how you made it right.  Often righting the wrong, adding a little discount for a future purchase, sending over a $5 or $20 gift card depending on the situation, can EARN a lifetime fan and brand champion via social media.  It’s very powerful, and only truly available thanks to the power of social media.

Beyond that, you have the chance to crowdsource, asking your fans questions and for feedback, or thank them for being loyal and passionate about your brand.  Reach out to people, just saying hi, or thank you for their comment can make their day – and yours, when they become a passionate brand champion because you care and are a likeable brand.

The bottom line is, if you’re going to do social media (and you absolutely must today) then do it right , do it at a high level.  It’s no longer a small portion of your marketing strategy. It is your marketing strategy, and should be a substantial part of your marketing budget.