With more people around the world getting online every day, social and digital marketing is becoming even more powerful. Social media in particular is playing rising role in digital achievement of any product and campaign. Platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn have evolved from local networks to global channels. Tapped into correctly, they can offer a return on investment unthinkable even a few years back.
But together with this potential, exists the undercurrent of artificial content that degrades the worth of online channels, imposing barriers for sustained success. Off shore reviews, timeline content or even worse, fake friends and followers are some good examples.
Have you ever felt while reading an online review that it was staged? Or, did you ever feel that there is a sudden though odd increase in support for a product campaign online? Sometimes it might even have made you wonder that a certain brand had a surprising number of followers. This case looks even more obvious when you find that the page for that particular product, service or campaign has insignificant number of comments while they have unbelievable number of likes or followers (A good rule of thumb is 0.5 – 1% of a real fan base comment).
This exercise has been recently observed in Facebook and Twitter where we can see an incredible swell in the number of followers in an unbelievably short span of time. Now the question is, is there any value in these low cost techniques? The answer is yes, but with a considerable warning. If you are not incredibly confident about the inherent value and potential dangers of illegitimate followers, it can have a long-termed detrimental effect on your business. You even need to be aware of the onshore providers outsourcing your work for incredible mark-ups. In the end, nothing beats well earned and real supporters, who will be engaged by your online strategy and become positive advocates of your brand reputation.
There are no short-cuts to your online brand management, social media popularity and content strategy, as such. But done right, you can create consistent new online channels to promote your brand. Here are our top five tips to achieve this goal:
(1) Content Strategy Plan:
Plan out the content strategy for your product and/or service at least 6 months in advance. Make sure that you stay true to your brand values and developing online character. Incorporate a good mixture of campaigns, discussion, competitions, advertising and affiliate forums. It is always good to know where your visitors are so that you can customize your products to local regions.
(2) Brand Relation:
Interested followers are the ones you have relationships with. If everyone else is talking about a particular event, add a creative, on-brand pitch on the topic, or simply post about something else. Think of your brand online as a person with a consistent character with a touch of energy. It can mature in time but the personality shouldn’t jump around.
(3) Your audience:
Not just online, but at restaurants, offices, shops, organizations etc. Social media is all about transparent brand recognition so listen and respond to both the positive and negative opportunities. Don’t just monitor the social channels you have a content strategy for, search consistently or purchase a cost effective software tool to help monitor in near-to-real time, to hear thoughts of your brand transversely, over all online platforms. Transparency is a possible key to success here.
(4) Extra mile:
More and more people are getting socially good. Stories that inspire often have similarities to old-world service. Go the extra mile and truly connect with your customers. You will convert followers to advocates and constantly build a positive brand reputation in market.
Buying fake followers or fake reviews will not benefit your brand for long term now. People are becoming more and more aware of fake stories, reviews and profiles. If it is too good to be true, it often is. Be genuine all the time. Then the clarity you provide to your audience and your analytics will be real and extremely good, measurable as your channel grows bankable or in good shape.
It is obvious that social platforms are worried about their revenue a lot more than mitigating grey and black hat content. However, we will also see platforms become more responsible and close the gap for our very human need for transparency. For example, Facebook is rolling out Graph Search now, which will bring another level of clarity to ‘real’ endorsements in our work.