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Why Your Social Media Marketing Campaign Can Fail Right from the Start
Posted on February 7th 2012
A Pew Internet and American Life Project Survey throws light upon the difference between the perception of how a social network works and how it really works and may help explain many of the complaints regarding the ineffectiveness of social media marketing, businesses frequently complain about.
The study identified the fact that a significant percentage of perceived social network activity is driven by a relatively small proportion of power users who then skew perception in the way the social network really operates. The study showed that: “… between 20% and 30% of users
depending on the type of activity – were power users who performed these same activities at a
much higher rate; daily or more than weekly. As a result of these power users, the average
Facebook user receives friend requests, receives personal messages, is tagged in photos, and
receives feedback in terms of “likes” at a higher frequency than they contribute. What’s more,
power users tend to specialize…”
What this means for the average marketer who hopes to use a social network to publicise content or market a certain product is that one type of approach in a specific social network will not work. The reason lies in specialisation. Power users tend to pick up and share specific formats as well as specific types of content so a photograph, a meme, a video, an infographic and an article will be shared differently, by different users, even if they are about the exact same thing.
Because most marketing campaigns tend to focus on the medium and the message (i.e. Tweets on Twitter and posts on Facebook as an example) they also tend to receive less of a response that they originally had been led to expect from the perception of the broader degree of interaction.
The question here of course has to be, how do you make sure that your campaign succeeds?
Social media continues to defy the formulaic approach and the success of such impromptu events like a three year old’s letter to a large supermarket chain about a specific type of bread shows that what is valued still is a sense of authenticity, self-deprecating fun and common sense. These are ingredients which hard to bottle, much less expect to be present every time. Yet, there are still steps which can be taken to at least ensure that a social media campaign is being given every chance possible to succeed:
1. Use multiple formats. Irrespective of which social media platform you use, use different formats to help spread the same message across.
2. Enlist power users. Power users are the engines which drive social media network engagement. Get them to respond and re-share your content and you are then guaranteed to reach a much larger part of the audience than you expected and the chances are you will see engagement levels go up too.
3. Make it fun. I know that not every social media marketing campaign can be a hoot but at least try to remember that your messages will come across the screens of people who are simply (or mostly) chilling. A light touch is bound to go further than a heavy one.
4. Try to make it real. If you no longer believe in what you are doing then social media marketing is clearly the wrong medium to be in. Its fluid nature and constantly shifting audience make it hard to fake.
Ok, lesson over. Go out there and try something fresh and new and be prepared to adjust it a little on the fly.