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5 Common Social Media Problems & Their Solutions

When one of our fabulous Social Media Coordinators asked for a blog about common social media problems and their solutions, I jumped at the opportunity to assign myself to the task. I believe I could seriously write a book about this one (I’m a problem solver by nature) and sometimes it’s a bit of struggle helping a company move from point A to point Z especially when I want to be on point ZZZ (haha that wasn’t meant to be a sleeping joke, but it kind of turned into one).

 

  1. Branding
    A common problem with branding on social media is that companies think the same rules for traditional advertising apply to digital advertising. The short answer is – they don’t. Here’s the problem: advertising on social media is not as simple as taking your traditional advertising (flyers, leaflets, coupons, brochures, etc.) and reformatting to digital sizing. #Nope. Let me repeat that a different way in case you’re a visual person.

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Branding on social media is more than using the same font style and layout for every post. In fact, that may hurt your company because the content becomes boring to the audience. Each platform’s audience communicates differently and each of your audiences within those platforms communicates differently. It takes time and patience to learn their languages.

 

Solutions: 1) forget most of what you know about traditional branding guidelines because very little of it applies to social media, 2) create social media guidelines that define your social brand and how you will/will not speak to your audience but don’t put too much emphasis on colors/font styles, and 3) learn what awakens your audience(s) so you can increase opportunities to speak with them, actually keep their attention, and cultivate engagement.

 

  1. Ads vs. Posts
    One of the biggest mistakes (IMO) I see companies making on social media is that they use every post to sell something to their audience. They have 2500 followers and so they think “everyone” saw their post because it’s digital. In actuality, they are reaching 50-100 people with less than 5% engagement and sometimes 0% engagement. That’s a low percentage of reach and engagement.

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Solutions: Rethink how you use social media. It’s much more involved than making a pitch to a follower. Paid ads on social media should be 1) designed to attract a buyer with creativity and strategy and 2) create a connection with a potential customer that leads them to follow you.

 

Posts on social media should be 1) centered around content that generates an atmosphere of dynamic social response, 2) building a community of loyal followersand 3) limited to 1 pitch for every 20-25 posts (unless you are an influencer/public figure with a major following).

 

People who like your content will like your product, buy it, and promote it. It really is that simple. Companies who embrace this simple philosophy will see the power of social media work to their benefit. Companies who try to work against the different platforms/audience types will continue to struggle in their social media efforts.

 

  1. Reality vs. Expectation

SMH. This one. This one right here gets me every month. When I look at current results and the expectation of better results, I smh. Data is an important part of generating results on social media. Did you know that many of these platforms have advertisements that are actively learning multiple factors that affect ad performance? An active ad gathers information about potential customers that is extremely important for planning, strategy, and implementation of future content/advertisements. Problems: 1) expecting more for less, 2) impatience and 3) expecting immediate results.

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Solutions: 1) set expectations based on actual data and don’t just choose numbers out of the sky such as 50% growth over the last month or even 3 months because it’s most likely unrealistic and it lowers morale, 2) tell yourself over and over – chisel it in stone “There WILL be ups and downs. Plans don’t ALWAYS go according to plan. There are obstacles and external factors that affect results which may be out of your control. Adjust accordingly. Sometimes THAT IS the best anyone can do.” In other words, have patience with the process, and 3. It takes a minimum of 2 weeks to a full month to get a good baseline of data. Account for strategy/implementation time. Realize there will be adjustments along the way for each creative and even for every factor and all of those adjustments affect data/results.

 

  1. Audience & Growth

I just about fall out of my chair laughing when I hear someone question the population of their city and why they don’t have more followers. Here’s the problem: they think that potential audience growth is calculated by deducting followers from the population. That is absolutely incorrect. SMH. Let’s look at a real-life example. The population of Kalamazoo, Michigan is 75,807 (2017 US Census). Lindenwoods Dental has 222 Facebook followers. It’s a problem to think that they could potentially add another 75,585 followers. It’s unrealistic, unreasonable, illogical, and a whole list of other not so fabulous adjectives.

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Solution: Realize that your data pool of potential followers gets smaller or larger as you consider internal and external factors.

 

Here are a few things I would consider to start:

What is the percentage of people in the area who use dental services?
How many competitors are in the area?
How far would they like to extend their reach?
Are they looking for customers who only want a specific type of dental service?

 

This list gets more detailed and refined as more factors are added into the audience growth strategy. The answer to these questions (and many more) will increase/decrease potential audience growth. And it makes a difference which platform of social media as well as whether or not you are a single local company, one with multiple locations/branches, a national chain, etc.

 

 

  • The Boost Monster

 

Problem: not knowing when to boost or promote a post. I call it the boost monster because some companies feed it lots of money with very little return. Month after month, they spend hundreds of dollars (maybe thousands) on boosting/promoting posts that receive less engagement than what they would if they were to focus on increasing their organic growth.

 

Solutions: 1) determine the level of engagement you require to boost a post and adjust this number as you grow your engagement rates and 2) evaluate your return on spending. Most social platforms are designed to calculate engagement and they provide useful tips to help you decide if something is boost/promotion-worthy. Evaluate your return. Were the results worth your cost (both in time spent/dollars spent)? What results could have been yielded if you spent those hundreds or thousands of advertising dollars on something that yields greater results?

The New Traditional

Recently, I had a conversion with a friend who has been in Traditional media for over 20 years.

Our discussion got a bit heated about how traditional is no longer as relevant as it was five years ago. Frequency is no longer the best format in traditional. The dollars are wasted, why? Because, no one is watching or listening anymore at 5 o’clock or on broadcast time, we are all too busy getting content from our phones.

Face it we now use our phones to pay bills, check balances, order pizza, play music, check up on family and friends through social media, communicate with emails, text and in some cases use the actual phone to make a real call to someone. We have moved quickly and quietly to a device that has hundreds of platforms out there we use every day.

To prove my point, I’m writing this blog on my iPhone right now using an app and listening to music at the same time while am waiting to get a haircut, Convenience!

Being able to reach an audience on these devices have become a difficult task.

My friend’s argument was that people don’t click on ads. “Ok, you got me there, cause I don’t either.” I don’t click on random ads, but when the ads are relevant or interesting TO ME, the chances have gotten much higher. It’s not about flooding a user with ads. Targeting audiences on the most personal device they own take a lot more planning, A/B testing, creative and optimizing.

Consumers move quickly from platform to platform, regardless of the news of companies like Facebook selling your data to advertisers (as if you didn’t already know, nothing is free and your data is currency). Consumers want instant gratification (there’s an app for that) and what better device than mobile.

Now, I am not advocating for brands to completely remove traditional from their marketing strategy, but the amount they spend on traditional shouldn’t be the same or more. If brands have not shifted budgets over to digital, they are going to come in last in this digital marathon, and trust me you don’t want to cross the finish-line or check that box off.

So my rebuttal was Programmatic creates that same kind of traditional gratification but in a digital format, focusing on mobile devices should be your #1 push.

Food for thought…

Social Platforms and Programmatic

This morning I had a thought as to how brands can leverage some of the platforms across all of these different ecosystems. One of the things that I have learned, based purely off of experience and practicing what I preach, is being able to build a brand inside of these ecosystems. When you look at social, those platforms are the best way for you to build your brand regardless of if you are just starting out or have been in business for decades.

On these platforms, there is no way that you can go in there and think that what you did five or ten years ago with traditional will give you the same brand recognition on those platforms. You have to go at it like nobody knows who you are… because they don’t.

It’s kind of like what Gary Vee’s book Jab Jab Right Hook says. Can you sell a product on these platforms? Absolutely. I believe you should. But not every single post should be about you trying to sell something to someone. You are actually talking to another human being. This is an interaction and a networking opportunity for you. Once you establish that connection with your consumer, then you have the ability to target them. You can use that same methodology; jab with social and give them a right hook programmatically.

A lot of people don’t understand that you can use programmatic strategically as an overall capability to leverage so much of your marketing and your strategy. Because so many people get lost in just two platforms, or maybe they hate programmatic. Gary Vee is not a fan of programmatic, but he talks about doing a Google search and hours or days later you go on youtube and see an ad for what you searched previously. That is a form of programmatic. When you think about it, you are actually telling Google what you want to see. You put yourself in an auction environment inside that ecosystem. You are telling the market what kind of product you want to see and what you are interested in buying.

Being able to do that is a form of programmatic regardless of what you think. It is extremely important for brands right now to use social as a way to tell a story. If you can’t tell a story, and you are just going to rely on the traditional media you have used for the past 50 years, you won’t get any engagement or new business. You need to be able to appeal to a younger generation; someone who is actually using these platforms. You need to give them a reason to buy your products and tell them a story that makes them feel comfortable as if your product is the right one for them at that particular time. If all you are going to do is sell, sell, sell… you are going to lose.

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Psychological Marketing

There are many key components to being a successful marketer. One of them is understanding how (and why) people think and behave the way that they do. It would be really hard to create a motivating ad for someone if you don’t know what it is that motivates them in the first place wouldn’t it? Understanding some very basic principles of psychology can really help your marketing go from good to amazing. There are 5 basic principles to psychology that you should be using in your marketing strategy:

Priming- Here’s how this works: You are exposed to one stimulus, and it affects how you respond to another. It’s that simple. For example, if you ask someone to follow a word you say with the first word that pops into their head, they will respond to whatever you say with their semantic association to that word. I would say “banana” and you would say “yellow”. In marketing practices, you could benefit from priming because you can subtly help people remember your brand better. Think about the smallest details; they could make a huge difference.

Reciprocity- If someone does something for you, you will naturally want to do something for them. In marketing, there are a lot of ways to make this work in your favor. Giving away freebies is a great way to make people feel like they should do something to “pay you back” in a way. And it could even be something as simple as a piece of candy or a pen with your business’ name on it.

Social Proof- This is the theory that people will become very similar to the people closest to them and that they trust. In other words, this is a desire to conform. Use social sharing and follow buttons on your blogs that display the number of followers you have. That causes people to fall in line and follow you too.

Scarcity- The rarer an opportunity or product is, the more people are inclined to purchase it. You just have to be very careful with how you word this one. You have to make it sound like there used to be a lot of a product but now there aren’t due to popular demand. You can’t make it seem like there are only a few products total because that is all you had to begin with.

Anchoring- People base decisions on the first piece of information they are given. That means that if someone normally buys shoes for
$50 and they see some on sale for $35, they are going to buy the cheaper shoes because they think they’ve gotten an amazing deal. But on the other hand, if someone who normally pays $20 for their shoes sees those $35 sale shoes, they aren’t going to be as impressed. That’s why online sales have the sale price listed next to the original price, which is exactly the principle you want to follow.

As you can see, there are many different ways our psychology can affect how we purchase products or services. Which means that as a marketer there are almost limitless possibilities to how you can use this information to your benefit. You just have to know the science behind it all.

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Social Transparency

I’d like to discuss “Social Transparency” and why it is important to utilize that transparency. As a whole, we all have been lied to and faked out by industry leaders all competing for our attention via social media platforms, causing us to doubt much of what we see or hear.

 

So why is this practice of “Social Transparency” important for your business? The answer is powerfully simple; Transparency builds trust.  Transparency provides powerful insight into customer satisfaction and engagement. At Starfish, we hold ourselves accountable and practice “Social Transparency” as we launch and execute campaigns on behalf of clients and of course ourselves. This is how we do just that:

—>Utilize Technology

Use diverse channels – Make it easy for your audience to access the story and information that they will need to make an informed decision to trust your content and overall, trust your brand.

 

—>Communication

Truth: Practice honest marketing and communication, and always own up to your mistakes. Don’t try to cover up a mistake. Acknowledge it and move forward, as that helps to build trust with your audience as well.

Embrace open communication: Cultivate opinions and community dialogue to gain differing points of view that can help to diversify your content.

Information Hub: Give the audience the information they need to help their decision to interact with you or buy your product and/or service.

 

—>Define your identity

Who are you: Share practice areas, product niches or specialties. Why should they choose you over your competitor?

Know your place: Don’t try to be all things to all people. Avoid creating a gap in perception where visitors or customers think you are something you are not.

Be real: Share your story, explain your values.. what do you stand for?

Share your platform: Explain how you operate by publishing your business model, process or structure.

Social proof: Publish reviews and/or testimonials.

 

Did you catch our Director of Sales, Mindy Lewellen’s, Facebook “live” presentation? Mindy utilized the principles of “Social Transparency.” Abel Sanchez’s provides great insight and candidly shares the opportunities to advise peers and business we are afforded Starfish Ad Age.