Marketing Medicine: Social Media Marketing
SBC writes: I am a small-scale marketer: an individual, not a company. I help small businesses get customers and grow through social media since they can’t afford high advertising and marketing costs. I find it difficult to woo customers. I am not sure whether it's because Kenyan business has not yet realised the importance of social media. I want to open my own firm in future. How do I deal with this challenge?
Chris replies: Firstly, Social Media as we know it is a very new channel that continues to evolve rapidly. Anyone who claims he is a social media expert is stretching the truth. What the ‘experts’ know today on a social media channel like Facebook may be totally irrelevant on newer channels like Pinterest or Google+. Even if you are a guru on Facebook, understanding how it’s used on mobile versus computer is a challenge. So don’t over-claim. Instead work with your clients to test aspects of social media. See which ones produce better responses. Try serving different messages, visual or text. Vary your offers; mix your channels. At this early stage, mastering social media is an iterative and incremental process. But the good news is that it is relatively cheap. Imagine we were back in the 1990’s and you were trying to test newspapers!
Secondly, clients are unsure of how to measure the impact of social media, so are hesitant to get involved. This is a result of years of exposure to how traditional media works. The reality is that social media marketing is really a form of ‘word of mouth’. So how do you measure how effective that is? The number of ‘likes’ on Facebook may be an indicator that you are doing social media marketing well. …or may not. Some argue that a ‘like’ is not enough, but if people ‘share’ or ‘retweet’ a comment, then that’s better value. My recommendation would be set measurement criteria with your clients at the start, so they feel part of the outcome. And as there is no right or wrong, the main thing is to get started.
Third, social media is only one of several marketing channels that have to work together. To make social media work, you need to drive customers to that space through different channels. For example, run a radio activation inviting listeners to tweet to your client’s Twitter page. It’s not sensible to judge social media on its own, without support from other channels.
Finally, the simplest answer to your question is that you must find the right clients. People who are prepared to go on the journey with you; to scratch their heads; and to graft. You are more likely to find such fellow travellers in smaller, more entrepreneurial businesses. Best of luck!
DP asks: Q. We started our entertainment website a year ago. We are getting over 100,000 unique hits per month but hardly making any money from advertising. How can we attract more revenue?
Chris answers: The more visitor traffic you attract to your website, the greater your advertising revenue will be. You can join the Google Content Network and Google will pay you for clicks on ad banners served onto your website. There are several ways to drive incremental site visits, some of them inexpensive. The key consideration is whether your website has been optimised for search – as 90 per cent of site visits are via search engines. But the nub of the issue is that your content has to be up to date, relevant and interesting to the people you want to attract. And that is where 90 per cent of websites fall flat.
Chris Harrison is a marketing and advertising practitioner of 30 years’ standing. From Nairobi, he leads Y&R’s network in Sub Saharan Africa. He’s ready to prescribe answers to your marketing questions, and you can consult him on www.chrisharrison.biz