Why Your Social Media Marketing Campaign Can Fail Right from the Start

David Amerland
David Amerland owner/founder, DavidAmerland.com

Posted on February 7th 2012

Why Your Social Media Marketing Campaign Can Fail Right from the Start
Why Your Social Media Marketing Campaign Can Fail Right from the Start
A Pew Internet and American Life Project Survey http://pewinternet.org/~/media//Files/Reports/2012/PIP_Facebook%20users_... 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 http://helpmyseo.com/seo-blog/637-when-a-tiger-bread-loaf-is-a-giraffe.html 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. 

 

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. 

 

 

David Amerland

David Amerland

owner/founder, DavidAmerland.com

David Amerland is the author of seven best-selling books including "Google Semantic Search: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Techniques That Gets Your Company More Traffic, Increases Brand Impact and Amplifies Your Online Presence" and "Google+ Hangouts for Business: How to use Google+ Hangouts to Improve Brand Impact, Build Business and Communicate in Real-Time."

He helps multi-national clients and start-ups to organize their SEO and Social Media strategies. He is a business journalist, author and international speaker. He blogs about social media and search engine optimization, writes for a number of prominent websites including Forbes, and advises a handful of corporations on their social media crisis management techniques.

His books on SEO and Social Media demystify the complexity of the subjects they cover for readers around the world providing an accessible blueprint to better understand and take advantage of the opportunities offered by the connected economy. Follow him on @DavidAmerland. or find him on G+

See Full Profile >

Comments

Danielle.E
Posted on February 7th 2012 at 6:39PM

Social media is very important for marketing and must be used properly if there is going to be any good come from it. Thank you for taking the time to share your insights on all of this.

When people use social medial properly they can really take their most popular marketing strategies to a whole new level and see some great success.

David Amerland
Posted on February 8th 2012 at 4:03PM

Danielle thank you very much, Like most disrupt technologies social media will continue to be a challenge until we get the hang of it.

Alena Novosadová Stratilova
Posted on February 8th 2012 at 4:42AM

Social media it is matter of opinion. Social media are primarily a matter of communication, information sharing and entertainment. To what extent will this kind of benefit for effective marketing will tell time... .and development. For now is it fashionable supplement.

David Amerland
Posted on February 8th 2012 at 4:12PM

Alena, thank you for taking the time to comment here. You are probably right in that social media is a matter of opinion but only so far as culture-specific characteristics are concerned. Social media rides on the need to connect as individuals, break down artificial divides and openly share our interests and opinions. Within that framework there is, obviously, scope for marketing, brand-building and even a certain amount of advertising. In one form or another social media has been with us since the web first started, the very early usenets and Bulletin boards were forms of social media and person-to-person ineraction stunted by technology. So rarther than technology creating a trend (which would argue for it being fashionable right now) I would argue that the need has always been there, as has the trend and we are just seeing it now because technology has finally caught up and the near real-time web is upon us. The reason we focus upon it only now, so much, is that it has began to reach critical mass and make its impact felt. 

You are right, again, in suggesting that how far that impact will be felt and how successful it will be in changing things will only show with time.

Alena Novosadová Stratilova
Posted on February 13th 2012 at 2:27AM

Thank you, David  the for your time. I agree with your opinion. Social media, the involved at percent increase in the number of visits on website. Average time spent on site and business opportunity is small. For now, it's a matter of company image.