- 04/26/2013

Ecommerce, Social

Avoiding the Trap of Passive Social Marketing

For many brands, the idea of “social marketing” seems quite straight-forward. Populate all of the regular channels with a branded page or account (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.), and then periodically add content to those pages or accounts.

If it’s Facebook, perhaps a blog post or a shared link every day or so. If it’s Twitter, perhaps a certain number of tweets per day about the brand’s subject area.  This is the “if you post it, they will come” philosophy that many social media marketing plans follow, but this approach is generally unsuccessful. Here’s why:

Social Media is all about socialization. Posting content is one aspect of that, but posting content only creates a one-way channel between a brand and its followers. If you merely want to post content, you can do that via any form of media. You can post a picture on Facebook, or you can buy a billboard off of the highway and post the same picture on that. Both will probably reach similarly-sized audiences, and both prompt the same level of socialization from the user: none.

Instead of posting only static content, a brand needs to incorporate methods into its social media strategy that prompts engagement from followers. Instead of a link to static content, consider a post that invites participation, such as holding a giveaway for one of your products or inviting users to come up with a new slogan for the brand by submitting via Twitter. In this manner, users engage with the brand and are not just passively fed the content.

The quality of the interaction is also important. “Likes” on Facebook and “Followers” on Twitter are useful metrics for getting an at-a-glance view of a brand’s strength on social media, but these alone do not tell the full story of the fans’ engagement with the brand.  Many users like/follow brand pages or accounts and then never give them a second thought after that. In addition to getting the users to acknowledge the page, your strategy should also incorporate ways to keep users coming back and constantly engaging with the brand. A user who likes the Facebook page and never returns is nowhere near as valuable or indicative of success as a user who is constantly posting on, engaging with, and supporting the brand’s social media presences.

For SumAll, one of the top goals of a successful social media strategy must be prompting users to share and re-share content posted by the brand. Statically putting content out there and not inviting engagement from fans is not an effective way to do that. Consider the billboard example again: if you glance at a billboard, you may find it funny/clever/interesting as you drive by but are you going to go home and tell your friends, “Hey, you have to check out this awesome billboard?” The overwhelming odds are that it’s out of your mind as soon as you passed it, in most cases.

However, if you offer an engaging mechanism, such as a content with a prize or even just a chance for fans to make their mark on your brand, this is much more likely to be passed around in the social circles of your followers and generate not only more traffic but also more useful traffic.