If you are a social media manager, you might think you understand your consumers, but those same consumers tell a different story.
According to Marketo’s new report, The State of Engagement, 82% of marketers believe they have a “deep understanding” of their audience. However, 56% of consumers believe brands could improve their approach to engagement, indicating a serious gap between perception and reality.
Social media management is critical for authentic engagement, yet young companies typically misunderstand their relationships with social media experts. The relationship doesn’t end when the agreement is signed. It begins.
Without active participation from their clients, social media companies can’t deliver the engagement results they promise. To get the most from their partners, entrepreneurs must speak up and take a more active role in the management of their social accounts.
The Best Ability Is Availability
The difference between a good social media partner and a bad one lies in the questions they ask. In order to curate a brand’s online presence, competent providers ask meaningful questions about the prospective audience, the tone of voice, and the preferred frequency of posts.
They also ask what level of participation the company envisions. Some companies prefer to write every post, while others only want to be kept in the loop.
Social media experts don’t need clients to schedule daily meetings; all they need is an open line of communication. Without that, partners don’t know whether their posts reflect how the founders’ view the brand. This ignorance can lead to disaster.
Consider some of the most egregious social media mistakes of this year. Most large companies keep their social media management in-house. But several of these disasters — for example, Nivea’s unfortunate “White Is Purity” ad — could have been prevented by a bit more involvement from the higher-ups.
Partner with Your Social Media Manager
Companies that wish to stay off lists of social media blunders should discuss the following topics in depth with their marketing partners.
1. Business Goals
Not every company has the same goal. Some want more clients, some want wider brand recognition, and others want to create stronger partnerships with their vendors. Outline your objectives to give your social media experts something to work toward.
Mr. Clean inspired more than 11,000 social media mentions in a single minute after its ad during the Super Bowl. By scheduling messages on multiple platforms and working toward a goal, the company turned a 30-second TV spot into a social media phenomenon.
And it gave kindly old Mr. Clean a funny, sexy rebrand in the process. With careful planning and cooperation, the same approach can succeed on a smaller scale within SMEs.
2. Multi-Platform Content
Certain rules are true across every social media channel. Create content that works on multiple platforms in order to maximize your marketing ROI.
Hashtags provide excellent opportunities for cross-platform messaging, but the rules vary by platform. HubSpot wrote a detailed guide earlier this year on the best ways to use hashtags on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
To increase the effect, tie a single image to those hashtags across platforms to maximize brand recognition. According to Brain Rules, users remember only 10% of audio content, but 65% when that content is tied to a visual.
3. Values and Beliefs
Every brand has a different set of values. Audiences pay attention to brands when those values resonate with their own. Determine how you want your company to be perceived, and then communicate that desire to your partner. This way, you will avoid sponsoring posts that conflict with your beliefs.
Company values don’t always have to be positive. Cards Against Humanity famously insults the intelligence of its brand loyalists every Black Friday. This year, the company asked for donations to hire an excavator to dig a large hole for no purpose other than to be noticed. Last year, they asked people to send them $5 in exchange for nothing, raking in a total of $71,145.
These consumer brands might play with larger stakes than SMEs, but their strategies work with smaller budgets too. Work with your social media partner to discover a creative, effective approach that feels right for your brand.
Don’t put social media on autopilot. Communicate with your social media manager to establish a tone and goal. Then follow up regularly to ensure your posts are moving you toward that goal.