016 was a good year for Zimbabwean brands as it saw many companies begin to use social media to create some social visibility. As a social media enthusiast I could not have been more excited to see even smaller companies, entrepreneurs waking up to the realization that social media is the future of all online marketing. However despite these encouraging signs there’s still a proclivity to assume that being on Facebook only is social media and as long as we are posting everyday we are good to go. I want to highlight 3 things which I believe if you can adhere to in 2015, you can begin to unlock the power of social media and realize the ROI.
Focus on Engagement
Engagement is the hallmark of social media, until you’ve engaged fans you can never reap the rewards of social media. Engagement is basically the number of fans who are chatting with you, commenting, liking, retweeting, favoriting and sharing your social media posts, it’s indicative of great content! Such is the importance of engagement that all social media platforms measure this metric in analytics so as to determine how a brand is performing. I’ve always reiterated that your customers are not on social media to follow your brand but rather to connect with friends, checkout news and be informed on what’s happening around them. The potency of social media lies in engaged fans, if your fans are engaged they are more naturally inclined to buy your products. Focus on how you can keep your fans engaged and introduce social media promotions, games etc to keep your fans on your page.
Focus on Content
You’ve probably come across this, content is king and it will continue to rule. Social media is all about content, nothing more, nothing less! If you create great content your fans will remain engaged and you will without a doubt generate leads for your business. Going forward in 2018, it is becoming absolutely crucial that we develop content that is enticing and engages with our fans if we are to win the algorithm battles. Social networks, namely Facebook and Twitter are constantly tweaking their algorithms and recently Facebook made announcements that beginning January 2015 they are tweaking the algorithms again. You can read it in full here. The premise of the algorithm tweaks is on content, Facebook users want engaging and exciting content on their timelines and not brand content hence the continuous changes in what comes in the timelines. If we’re ever going to unlock the power of social networks we need to have a clear strategy around our content marketing. I’ve written on the steps to creating great content here and also about how to workaround the algorithms here.
Focus on cross channel integration
One of the things I’ve noticed over the past year which we lack, is cross channel integration, there’s no coordinated plan on how the channels feed into each other. Cross channel integration entails harnessing your traditional and digital media channels to create a cohesive marketing strategy. How can traditional press and radio play a key role in your directing traffic to your social platforms of web platforms? What if you can have a radio program that creates real time interactions on Twitter? Why not develop QR codes alongside your press ads? I’m of the view that as we become more social as marketing we shouldn’t neglect the traditional media in the name of going digital. Traditional media still plays an important role in augmenting your overall marketing strategy.
In conclusion, the year 2018 is upon us and we are faced with the same realities, declining consumer-buying power, weaker marketing budgets and instead of focusing on cutting your costs, try revisit your strategy and realign your marketing programs.