Monday, June 30, 2014

Social Media - Quality vs. Quantity

It has been a while since I last posted anything here. It was a busy period. I moved to Dubai and currently working at TRACCS – a leading PR agency in MENA region. 

A very important aspect of the use of social media in our current days caught my attention recently. I've been working with a number of brands and monitoring the growth of social media in the Middle East. Everyone is competing on quantitative numbers: ‘likes’ on Facebook, followers on Twitter/Instagram, and number of views and subscribers on YouTube. However, what people fail to realize is that there's more to your social media presence than just those parameters. This is all the more true if your social media objective as a brand is to have a presence on popular social media platforms and to use them as another "push" communication channel.. What really matters for any organization when heading towards cultivating a social media presence is ‘results’.

What's the return on investment from creating such a presence online? 

I'd answer that question with a simple sales analogy. Let’s assume that your target is to boost footfall to your business’s physical location, or to increase sales of a certain product or service.  What would be your strategy? I had a discussion on this with one of my friends who works at Gulf News Broadcast. He said: "What matters for a salesman is rapport!" I was shocked for a moment, and then he explained: "In order to close a deal, you got to get to know your client first, build the trust, and then the orders will come to you." He continued, "They will buy your product because of you and the way you treat them. Its not only about how beneficial your service or product is – of course that counts -  but the important thing is to be transparent and honest. If you don't believe your offering will benefit your client then you will not be able to sell it". 

It is the same when it comes to social media. You have a tool that grants you access to thousands of people (some are your current or previous clients and others are potential ones). You have to communicate your brand's image with transparency, honesty, and professionalism and build a connection with them through actions and customer service.. The ultimate goal is to establish trust between you as a brand and your target audience. Listen to what they are talking about, analyze the content and the reactions that you're receiving on your social media channels. Be consistent and selective in what you're sharing with them. The ROI from building your social media presence is the conversation you're creating. It is the engagement rate that shows how much you were able to communicate and receive feedback from your fans. The more active followers you have on your social media pages, the more effective is your presence. Social media is a two-way engagement tool; it benefits from word of mouth marketing, reputation, and responsiveness. 

When Suarez bit that Italian player, brands instantly took action and responded at the moment to promote their products and generate conversations - leveraging from and taking advantage of the incident. 

In conclusion, I’d like to remind you that the first phase of any scientific experiment is observation. So get to know your fans and followers first; observe their online habits and their preferences to understand them better. Then, experiment with different stimulators to drive the outcome that goes in-line with your marketing objectives. Having 100,000 fans on Facebook is great, but having 10,000 active fans that are positively promoting your brand is even better! 

Please share your thoughts with me and feel free to connect with me on Twitter @abdisk. Have a great day!