Mention social media, and the thought that comes in mind is a private channel to share your personal thoughts. And private channel means self management, right? After all, who in their right mind would hire a manager to put up posts of your latest selfie with your bestie?
Today, social media has grown past the stage of being a mere personal soapbox. It probably started when celebrities took charge of managing their own publicities via social media. No more relying on third-party magazine journalists or television reporters to help them announce their activities and appearances. Why depend on third-parties when you can handle your own publicity, right?
It wasn’t too long before corporations realised that even they too can hitch a ride with social media. Why spend money buying traditional media space when social media is completely free? So corporate communications and advertising started to move into the realm of social media.
Well, we all know that celebrities and corporations alike, they have extremely large volume of regular communications. And unlike a personal social media channel, these social media heavy-weights can’t possibly keep up with their own busy schedules. Before too long, they’ll hit a stone wall of not being able to keep up with all that updates. And for this reason alone, that they normally hire somebody to manage their social media accounts for them. And henceforth, the social media management concept is born.
Dawn Of The Corporate Social Media Management
In the corporate world, social media publications do not exist independently. At least they’re not supposed to. Yes, you may want to post photos of your product launch ceremony on Instagram, or announce which city your roadshow will travel to next on Twitter. But do remember that social media are lightweight vehicles at best. They are the perfect platform to show trailers, not play whole movies. You entice your intended target audience with the appetisers, and then guide them to where the main course will be served, i.e. your corporate website.
Of course, there’ll always be small businesses or home businesses who run their operations entirely on Facebook. I suppose if you’re merely selling low volume trinkets and soft-toys, you can permanently hitch a ride with a sturdy and proven platform like Facebook. If you have no intention of expanding, that is. Using a Facebook page as your product catalogue is as good as using the classified section of a newspaper to sell used cars. There’s no point to build your brand there, since you’ll never establish a proper brand identity that way.
Back in the real world, just as how celebrities hire social media managers to run their social media channels, corporations can also do the same. Having a full-time social media management team to run your publicity work will free your technical staff to concentrate on doing what they do best, churning out products to sell.
In fact, you might want to consider renaming the corporate communication department to cyber communication department. Majority of the publicity work will be published online anyway. Social media has a far wider reach than traditional media. It also offers immediate and credible statistics of reach and market penetration. And most important of all, social media is free!…
Social Media Management Is Not A Bed Of Roses
Just like their traditional counterparts, social media managers have many horror stories to share too. Some demands from their bosses can sometimes be a little unrealistic.
We need to increase the number of Twitter followers.
We need more likes on our Facebook page.
We need to make our corporate YouTube video viral.
Do understand that social media sharing is just that – sharing. You don’t pay people to come and visit your channel. You also don’t pay people to like your photos or postings. In fact, if the contents that you post isn’t interesting, nobody will come visit you at all.
Sharing in a social media channel is like offering free WiFi in your café. You don’t charge people for using your WiFi, whether or not they choose to walk in to buy coffee from you. It’s a free service. However, with the free WiFi, you are also attracting some customers to buy coffee from you.
And would you like a slice of chocolate mousse cake to go with your caffè latte?… It’s our best seller.
Social Media Is Like A Free Newspaper
Running a successful social media channel is like running a free newspaper. The newspaper itself is free, thus encouraging a bigger circulation. And with a big circulation number, you can easily entice advertisers to buy advertisement space on your newspaper.
However, all this will only work if the content of your newspaper is attractive enough for people to want to read. And that means your articles and editorials must be interesting and relevant to the readers.
Likewise, a social media channel is a free dissemination centre of interesting and relevant contents. You don’t actually earn money from distributing these contents. The large following of your social media channel will also attract some traffic to your corporate website too. And statistically speaking, the higher the traffic at your corporate website, the higher the conversion rate for your sales, whether online or physical.
Social Media Is An Ongoing Process, Not A Campaign
Many corporate managers have a misconception that publicity via social media is like an advertising campaign – Go in fast and go in hard. Hit your target number of audience reached, then achieve the conversion ratio of sales. Nothing can be further from the truth… Not even for the conventional advertising campaign.
You see, the idea of a “campaign” started because advertising on traditional media cost money… lot’s of money. Therefore, the norm was to purchase advertising media for a fixed amount of time (e.g. three consecutive days of full-page newspaper advertising), and then multiply the conversion ratio with the number of readership for that particular newspaper. However, the moment the campaign ends, so does the resulting sales too. And that will result in the perpetual cycle of start-stop sales campaign.
Unlike that traditional media, social media is completely free. So why not take the advantage of running a continuously ongoing “campaign” all year round? You don’t have to hit it hard or fast. All you need to do is to keep it coming, and keep it fresh. Build up the momentum slowly but surely. And before you know it, your sales will slowly pick up with the growth of your reputation and popularity.
But just like the traditional advertising campaign, the moment you stop releasing new updates and articles, the number of active followers will slowly but surely drop. And with that, so will your popularity too. Eventually, your sales will also start to be affected.
Moral of the story – Once you get your ball rolling, never let it stop.
Note To Business Owners And Top Management
You are too busy doing what you do best, whether manufacturing products or offering quality services to your clients. Leave the communications and publicity work to the experts. Let them support what you do, and let them help you grow your business.
Most importantly, stay out of their way. Let them do what you hired them to do in the first place.