Has Small Business Marketing Become a Popularity Contest?

“Don’t exchange your popularity for your dignity.”

Dr Steve Maraboli
has small business marketing become a popularity contest by Marc Ford MBA YBKBS magazine for small business
By Marc Ford

So today we wake to the headline that ‘Instagram’ will overtake ‘Twitter’ as a source of news. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-53050959 God help us. Whatever your thoughts on a certain American President if you haven’t worked out that social media and ‘fake news’, topped off by mindless drivel have exponentially grown during the current global crisis, please pop to your local opticians and get your eyes tested.

It could be said that our mainstream media has been acting in an appalling way also over the past 3 months, but I want to look at an issues for small businesses that seems to be having the lines blurred and in some cases stepped over without an actual thought as to what they are really doing. Small business marketing and B2B , (Business to Business) marketing.

Businesses striving to bring in that lucrative ROI with social media often fall into trap of thinking that the more followers, likes and loves you have the more success your social campaigns will have. In actuality, that is not always the case. Just like back in the early days of the web when many webmasters believed that hits were a sign of success, having more social followers, likes and loves is a false sign of being successful in that medium. Instead of focusing on followers, fans, and building a giant community around your brand online, you should aim for quality over quantity. Less can definitely be more when it comes to not only bringing in an ROI from social, but engaging with your social network of followers.

Advertising the same way to all of your social media followers is akin to the pray and spray techniques of the past. We now know that different consumers react very differently to advertising tactics, and consumers also have different behaviours based on their own goals. Each social follower is on their own “social consumer decision journey.” Therefore, marketing to all your social media followers in the same way is ineffective. 

Of course, you cannot just pick and choose your followers, and this strategy does not by any means mean that you should not continue to build out your social channels and to continue efforts to increase your follower base. Instead, let’s go back to the idea of picking and choosing your followers. 

Perhaps there is a way to do this, in a sense. After all, picking and choosing who you market what to, is segmenting. You probably have heard of, and likely already segment your email lists. You might already have tools that segment your followers based on their preferences and previous behaviours. So, how can you segment your social media followers? 

Media monitoring is the answer. Media monitoring is not only about listening for mentions about your brand across different media outlets. Instead, turn your media monitoring efforts into media intelligence. Learn to listen and identify behaviours of your social followers, and then segment your followers by creating targeted paid social media campaigns and retargeting campaigns. These segments will allow you to engage differently, as well as better, while also funnelling followers into the direction where you can deliver the best and most relevant offers or ads to them.

Media monitoring is also important when you realise that you’re picking up bad or poor habits. The LinkedIn posts that you ‘tag’ everyone in. Here’s a thought…what if the person you’ve tagged into that post doesn’t agree with your opinion and/or doesn’t want to be associated with what you’re saying? That’s almost like asking for a referral when you did a crap job. You wouldn’t; so why do it online? They’ll tell you it’s to beat algorithms, but in reality I suspect they just want their post meaningful or not, to be seen by more people. And what if you’re a managing director of a firm and you appear in Tik-Tok’s, drunk off your head, swearing and thinking it’s hilarious. It probably was at 2am in the morning, but when your ideal customers and clients see it because your mate wants to be popular, for some it’s already been career ending.

Examples from the McKinsey & Company’s Social Consumer Decision Journey

The 3 stages of marketing to the social consumer’s decision journey are creating buzz, learning from customers, and targeting customers. McKinsey & Company’s research highlights examples of the 3 core marketing elements for reaching your followers on their social consumer decision journey. As you will see, each of these social media actions does not involve the entire follower base, and successful results can be enacted from using very small audience samples.

Creating Buzz:

An example of creating buzz through social channels comes from Ford Motor Company and their Fiesta Movement campaign behind the U.S. launch of their Fiesta model. Ford tapped 100 social media influencers as part of the campaign and gave them a European model of the car with “missions” to complete and asked them to document their experience on various social channels. The videos that were created by those influencers as part of this Fiesta campaign generated 6.5 million views on YouTube, Ford received 50,000 requests for information about the Fiesta, and they sold 10,000 cars in the first six days they were available.

Learning from Customers:

PepsiCo wanted to find out what consumers thought about their Mountain Dew Brand. They ran ‘DEWmocracy Promotions’ and used social media to gather insights. Their findings led to creating new flavours of Mountain Dew, and since 2008 over 36 million cases have been sold.

Targeting Customers:

The Levi Strauss Company has utilised social media to offer location-specific deals. One social media campaign involved direct interactions with 400 consumers but led to 1,600 people to turn up at local stores due to social media’s word-of-mouth effect.

Gaining the most followers, likes and loves on your social channels isn’t always the metric for success. Media monitoring and media intelligence can help you target smaller segments of your social followers to create specialised campaigns that have a larger ROI. These smaller campaigns can be more effective than larger ones. You can likely run several smaller campaigns with the same resources and cost it takes to run larger ones that are not as effective. Running social campaigns that cost less, but drive more sales will certainly make your social media marketing team shine. Remember, your marketing is not about you. It just starts with you. Solve peoples problems and be authentic. You run a business and not in the celebrity business…because celebrities and popularity fade…doing the job that people always need, that goes on a lot longer.

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