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26 Jul 2017

Don’t Mistake Social Media for a Business Quick Fix

There are generally two schools of thought when it comes to using social media as part of your digital marketing campaign:

  1. Those who aim to drive quick traffic and to get people to click on their ad – we call it Direct Response Marketing;
  2. and those who actively engage with the community, offering valuable insights to build trust and credibility – aka Content Marketing.

In our opinion, the second approach is particularly effective on social media. Yes it does takes more time and effort – so it’s no wonder why we’ve seen many agencies and clients opt for the faster route instead. After all, direct response is easy, and it creates a clear, predictable link between dollars spent, and revenue and profits made.

Except there are a few downfalls to this thinking – what may seem faster and easier to execute on social media may not necessarily be the best approach in building a successful long term business.

What’s missing here is TIME  – and the willingness to spend this time in creating valuable content offerings to build authority and reputation, as well as to harness on the tangible client data you can generate from your audience engagement, ready for retargeting.

So while you hear about all the 500% ROI messages online with these superhero marketers, don’t get into the tendency to expect over-the-top results from direct response every single time. Successful social media marketing speaks consistency and longevity.

Would You Give $100 to a Complete Stranger?

Many (less savvy) businesses have made the mistake that social media is a quick fix solution for getting more customers. They dive into the deep end, expecting high results before they’ve been able to establish a strong digital presence and brand trust.

But think about it: Would you give $100 to a stranger who randomly came up to you on the streets? Or will you immediately “convert” when they ask you to marry them? Even without the first date? Absolutely not!

The problem here is the “stranger” part. Businesses have failed to recognise the importance of gaining their customer’s trust before asking them to take action. After all, you wouldn’t drive a car without first knowing its brakes work.

A couple of years ago, we worked with a well established non-for-profit organisation, who came to us wanting to drive more donations to their cause. Their desire? A professionally designed landing page that outlined what they have done to change the world, followed by a standard Call To Action – “Donate Now.”

So we delivered, put $1000 on Facebook Ads, sat back, and waited for the results.

Except we had a total donation of $25.

Perhaps the landing page we designed was not optimised enough after all, we thought. Is it the tagline? The user interface? The button colour? The font?

But no, that wasn’t it. A 15 year-old organisation had exceptional PR through word-of-mouth and offline, yet their digital presence was appallingly non-existent. They didn’t have enough brand trust online for people for such a big-ask.

Over the years, the organisation had grown successful from utilising effective offline PR tactics. But when it came to their digital brand, they were just an infant. By neglecting to build a relationship with their target audience online, they’re now just the ‘stranger’ asking for $100 donations.

Any takers? Not likely.

On the contrary, big non-for-profit organisations like World Vision or the Cancer Council are fine examples of time spent to build significant online trust in the community. Through valuable content offerings and social media engagement, they’ve been able to leverage their trust and reputation to ask for their audience’s business.

Quick Fixes Don’t Equal Success

Of course, most marketers and businesses these days understand the importance of being on social media, as well as touching base with customers every so often.

But again, the key here is time and effort – and unfortunately we’re seeing too many turn to “set-and-forget” social media strategies instead.

Sure it can work. But don’t mistake a quick fix sale for a successful long-term business.

Such was the lesson learned for a Melbourne-based cosmetic surgery clinic.  Video campaigns were all the rage (it still is now), and seeking to capitalise on this captivating medium, the clinic created a 10 sec video with an iPhone to showcase their laser procedures on Facebook with some smart editing. For whatever reason, it went viral, and they made about half a million dollars in sales.

So “I made 500K on Facebook” was their go-to slogan in networking events.

But that’s where it ended.

Satisfied with this amazing one-off campaign, the clinic believed they had opened the floodgates to eternal, ongoing business, and so no longer needed to continue their social media efforts. Oh, how they were so wrong.

In less than a year, new competitors emerged, equipped with more engaging marketing strategies and better price points, and the clinic was very quickly knocked out as reputable contenders for anyone’s business. Viral or not, this particular video eventually exhausted the internet with no follow up plans.

Right now, that clinic is merely fighting for survival.

Their missed opportunity? Capitalising on their emerging success to transform interested viewers into loyal fans and followers. The springboard was there. But without a continuing digital strategy, they were quickly swamped by bigger and better competitors.

Social media isn’t a one-hit wonder.

It’s a Long Term Commitment.

Gone are the days of easy “push” marketing. With competition fierce and customers more discerning, it has become more crucial than ever to earn their trust and prove your credibility before customers are willing to give you want you want.

Developing a long-term digital strategy that includes content creation is crucial to engage customers and gain their trust. Social media is long term play.

P.S – If you want quick results, go for Google Adwords. But if you want to build brand for repeat business and long term success, social media is the way to go.

It will take time, but with the right strategy and execution, social media success can be predictable and fast tracked.

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