The Future of Social Media

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We are fortunate to be in a position where we have proven over and over again that Social Media can offer a huge number of benefits for consumer facing brands. We believe that 2016 will be the year where brands move away from using Social platforms independently from the rest of their marketing strategies.  It is not uncommon to see a disconnect between above the line advertising, website content and social platforms, which leaves the consumer with a fuzzy message.

Consumer facing brands need to ensure that their social strategy feeds into the overall marketing strategy and is consistently managed in line with key metrics.  Why? Well it’s simple; this is where your consumers are engaging with you in real-time, revealing what they would like you to do to stay relevant in their lives.

We continue to see many businesses entering the Social Media world by simply setting up a Facebook fan page without implementing a well thought out campaign, supported by a content plan that will execute their overall objectives. Getting up in the morning and just publishing a random post is not how it’s done.

Imagine your business Facebook page being used by employees to communicate with each other and employees post pictures of your latest staff party. Your marketing department then add some pictures of your products and your consumers use the platform to try and get attention when they feel they are not being serviced. Sometimes at most the reply to a consumer would be “thanks for bringing this to our attention, please call our call centre for assistance”.

Your consumers expect you to have an online presence that is managed consistently, where they can expect a response within an acceptable time frame.

Frans Booysen, Nashua Mobile’s Head of Customer Experience confirmed that by working with Dracore to incorporate social platforms in our customer servicing channels has resulted in accelerated query resolution times, which have contributed to improved customer sentiment online.

Imagine going into a store and they don’t have the shoe you want in your size? You have driven all the way to the store, you are annoyed and you whip out your phone and post about it on Facebook. Then one of your Facebook friends says; why don’t you try this store, their service is great and they have a great special on. You buy from people like you, people you relate to, so there is a great likelihood that you will take up that advice. However if the store came back to you immediately with a response, apologizing for the inconvenience, offering to get a pair in your size delivered to your nearest store, your irritation might dissipate and you will most likely be super impressed with their willingness to keep your business.

Someone I have a great amount of respect for once told me “you can have a great product, all the infrastructure you need and great people, but if consumers don’t find your brand credible, what does all of that mean?”

Social Media is your opportunity to build a honey pot, to get consumers swarming around your brand, ready to engage and do business with you and all you need to do is be consistent, relevant and talk to them all day, every day.

I often speak to businesses who say “we don’t see how Social Media is relevant to our business”. Well my answer is always this; if you are a consumer facing brand, you are online whether you like it or not.  How can this be? Simple, your social media presence begins when somebody arrives at your reception and checks into your location on a Social Platform. Social media is not a phase; it’s the way we communicate now.

I drive pass newspaper salesman at the traffic lights daily on the way to work, and on the way back home their pile of papers has not diminished by much. We have news at the touch of a button on our smartphones, so what is holding you back from taking your brand online?

Social Media is an influence in its own league and is used by a diverse group of South Africans that are interested in a range of topics such as; culture, politics, entertainment, life milestones, naming and shaming businesses for poor customer service, daily news and so much more.

We see an ever increasing group of South Africans that access Social Platforms by using smart phones but yet have no computer or internet connectivity at home. Connectivity restrictions are becoming a thing of the past in the South African environment. People want to share their experiences in real time.

There are many articles published by Social Media experts that continue to confirm that users scan social platforms and only dive into the detail if the matter interests them. But businesses continue to use text heavy content, your content should be 90% infographic and 10% text, if you have still not managed to get your message across in 140 characters it’s time to rethink your campaign because the trend to reduce text will continue.

Video and Image content will continue to increase in 2016 and businesses will have to become far more creative in finding solutions to win attention, and keep it. Let’s face it…not all of us are great storytellers and that is what experienced Social Media Managers are for.

Some tips

  • Don’t assume your above the line advertising will translate effectively onto Social
  • Don’t be predictable, surprise your audience!
  • Get your audience to develop your content for you
  • Get LIKES from people that want to hear from you – how many fake likes do you have?
  • Design crisp imagery that tells your story
  • Respond to people who engage with your brand to develop credibility around your brand

 

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