What better way to learn than to experience on your own skin? A month of managing a company’s Facebook presence has become a very valuable learning experience in my studies. For a month I have been immersed in managing a restaurant & bar’s Facebook fan page: my experiences have shown me the awesome power and plenty of dangerous pitfalls of Social Media Marketing.
Why use Facebook? Here’s why:
(Leverage New Age Media, 2014)
A social media campaign should never be conjured out of thin air. It can’t be separated from the company, it has to reflect its strategy. That’s why any good campaign is based on the vision and the mission of the host company, as well as understanding your target market (Scott, 2010). Developing a detailed buyer persona can greatly help in putting together a campaign that your target market can relate to (Revella, 2011). This in turn will help you to identify the type of content that encourages your target audience to engage with it, to generate a conversation instead of a one-sided barrage of marketing messages (Treadaway & Smith, 2010).
However, having the correct message doesn’t guarantee a successful campaign by itself. What good is the right message in the right format if the target audience doesn’t see it? Determining which times to post at is a vital part of any successful campaign (Socialmediatoday.com, 2014). Facebook Insights is a great tool in determining whether your timing has been successful or not. Analysis of our posting data showed, that posting on Thursday, Friday and Sunday generated the best results, as shown by the three posts with the highest engagement.
Measuring the success of a Social Media Activity can be a very challenging task. While there are several widely accepted metrics to use, such as reach, engagement, etc. (Blanchard, 2011), the contribution of these metrics towards the ROI can be hard to determine and justify. Extrapolating the contribution can be done by comparing business metrics to Social Media metrics on a time scale, identifying similar movements between the graphs at the same time. Such an occurrence can be interpreted as a valid indicator of contribution to ROI.
To achieve the best possible results, posts should provide the target audience with quality content. Unless the post provides relevant content to the customer, it won’t encourage engagement, which in turn can draw in new potential customers (De Waele, 2010). Even though posting content as opposed to call-to-action type posts doesn’t directly generate revenue, it will in time convert indirectly into a lead for the company (Vahl & Hussain, 2013). These leads mean future cash flow for the company as well as means to spread eWOM (Hennig-Thurau et al., 2004) to increase the company’s Top-Of-Mind Awareness (Vee et al., 2008).
While the implemented strategy did manage to achieve the objectives set for the project, I believe that even better results could have been achieved by focusing more on content encouraging customer interaction. Asking for likes, or input from the customers in comments could increase their emotional investment in the brand as they would feel a part of the message, a voice that has been heard by the brand: the goal being to get personal with the customers (the Guardian, 2013). For example asking questions, shooting a behind-the-scenes video with the Chef and posting photos and recipes of the cocktails available at the venue are all great ways to encourage customer engagement with our brand (Vahl & Hussain, 2013).
Social Media is a very powerful and exciting tool. Use it well and it will deliver results at low costs. Use it wrong and your reputation is tarnished. The value of Social Media should never be underestimated: it deserves the full attention of companies. Give anything less and the results will be minimal or possibly even negative.
Blanchard, O. (2011). Social media ROI. 1st ed. Indianapolis, Ind.: Que.
De Waele, B. (2010). 7 Harsh Realities in Social Media.
Hennig-Thurau, T., Gwinner, K., Walsh, G. and Gremler, D. (2004). Electronic word-of-mouth via consumer-opinion platforms: What motivates consumers to articulate themselves on the Internet?. Journal of interactive marketing, 18(1), pp.38–52.
Leverage New Age Media, (2014). Social Media Comparison Infographic. [online] Available at: https://leveragenewagemedia.com/blog/social-media-infographic/ [Accessed 8 Jun. 2014].
Revella, A. (2011). The Buyer Persona Manifesto. 1st ed. [ebook] Available at: http://seg.webcampus.co.uk/pluginfile.php/171042/mod_resource/content/1/The_Buyer_Persona_Manifesto.pdf [Accessed 8 Jun. 2014].
Scott, D. (2010). The new rules of marketing and PR. 1st ed. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons.
Socialmediatoday.com, (2014). Social Media Posts and Timing | Social Media Today. [online] Available at: http://socialmediatoday.com/pamdyer/2240271/when-post-facebook-twitter-google-linkedin-and-pinterest [Accessed 8 Jun. 2014].
the Guardian, (2013). How to use social media to understand and engage your customers. [online] Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/media-network/media-network-blog/2013/mar/13/social-media-customer-engagement [Accessed 8 Jun. 2014].
Treadaway, C. and Smith, M. (2010). Facebook marketing. 1st ed. Indianapolis: Wiley Pub.
Vahl, A. and Hussain, A. (2013). How to Generate Leads Using Facebook. 1st ed. [ebook] Hubspot: Hubspot. Available at: http://seg.webcampus.co.uk/pluginfile.php/172842/mod_resource/content/1/2013_HubSpot_Generate%20Leads%20using%20Facebook.pdf [Accessed 8 Jun. 2014].
Vee, J., Miller, T., Bauer, J. and Miller, J. (2008). Gravitational marketing. 1st ed. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons.