The “agile” manifesto spells out ideas that will help social media marketing to adapt to a changing environment in a productive way.
The dynamics of marketing have undergone a 360 degree change over the last decade and continue to evolve at breakneck pace. As everything shifts to its digital version, marketing too boasts of an all new approach. Having become the 21st century mantra, digital marketing is increasingly being looked upon as a marketing necessity rather than a luxury afforded only by big brands. Businesses that are in sync with the latest marketing trends are already beginning to harness the tremendous potential this strategy holds and those that shy away from adopting it risk being left out of the reckoning by the ever burgeoning competition.
As it is still early days since businesses began to leverage this novel strategy, a plethora of digital marketing myths and apprehensions abound in the minds of business owners. Below, we debunk some widespread but misleading beliefs in order to help marketers sift the grain from the chaff and help them unleash the true power of this revolutionary new concept in marketing.
Digital Marketing Myth 1: Digital Marketing is a luxury
Some businesses, especially the smaller ones, are skeptical about investing in digital marketing as they consider it to be an additional expense that, according to them, doesn’t really guarantee any concrete returns. What they tend to overlook is the fact that almost all buyers are online today, searching for information, and comparing brands and deals. It is the design and content of the webpage plus the voice of the brand on social media channels that act as ambassadors and leave an impression on prospective customers. Any business not leveraging this tremendous opportunity to nurture and establish a rapport with their audience is actually giving their competition a free ticket to get ahead in the market.
The WestJet Christmas Miracle Campaign is probably the best example of how digital media marketing, if used correctly, can work magic when it comes to driving online reach. Just ahead of the Christmas season, the Airline company asked some travellers what they wanted for Christmas. The Airline staff then promptly set into action and bought the desired gifts, packed them and arranged for them to be delivered via the luggage carousel at the destination airport to correspond with the time of the arrival of that flight. The spontaneous responses of the recipients were captured on camera which subsequently became their YouTube campaign. The video attracted in excess of 36 million views and established a unique emotional connect with viewers along with phenomenal reach that would never have been possible through traditional means of marketing.
With brands using such innovative strategies to create a vibrant online presence, their competitors have no option today but to quickly adopt this newest trend to stay in the reckoning and make their impact in the market.
Myth 2: There’s so much noise on Social Media that it’s impossible to rise above it and create an impact
While it’s true that the whole world seems to be on social media 24/7/365 which makes it particularly challenging to be heard above all the clamour, brands can still achieve a successful connect with their target audience by implementing a well-planned strategy. Add value to your content by posting useful information that people would love to read and debate about, engage them in interesting discussions where you could create opportunities to flaunt your expertise. Use analytics tools to identify the best times to post content so that it gets maximum visibility. Managing your online strategy tactfully will therefore most certainly get you noticed by your target audience.
The very creative approach used by Maes Beer is certainly worthy of mention as the best example of pro-active social media efforts. They conceived of a campaign wherein they announced that they would offer a free barrel of beer to anyone who added the name “Maes” to their username on FB for a stipulated time. The participants would win their prize on the condition that they shared this update with twenty friends.
The result was awesome – 7000+ people participated by changing their last names on Facebook to Maes and the brand received in excess of 75000 likes in a single day and touched 500,000 hits on their Facebook page in six weeks.
This does go to prove that although social media is a crowded platform, a smartly conceived and implemented strategy can help brands accomplish their objectives.
Myth 3: B2B and social media don’t go together
A widely held assumption doing the rounds is that it’s only the B2C businesses that benefit from social media marketing and that there is no real reason for B2B companies to be active on the online channels. Nothing could be farther from the truth. There are a lot of official conversations happening on Twitter, Linkedin and G+ where people have formed groups and communities to discuss topics of mutual interest. Leveraging these platforms would be a great way for B2B organisations to find and nurture leads and enhance opportunities to strike new deals that can take their business to the next level.
American Express OPEN launched the online OPEN forum – the “latest and greatest example of a loyalty service, a program designed to help small business owners grow their businesses by providing both insights and resources online.” (Source: fastcompany.com)
The idea was to help businesses do more business by equipping their audience with valuable knowledge and skills and providing them with a common platform to build a community where members can connect and extend support.
The “OPEN” forum (@OPENForum) became a great success as it was never an attempt to sell. Instead it fostered a relationship of trust with small business owners by creating content that was valuable and insightful and resolving any doubts and queries they had. They thus lead their audience deeper down the engagement funnel and created opportunities that would drive greater conversion rates.
Myth 4: Mobile optimisation isn’t required for all brands
The single most important characteristic of our times is the fact that people are always on the go. But that does not limit their connectivity in any way, which implies that at any given moment, far more people are browsing the internet from their mobile devices than their desktops and laptops. Having mobile optimised websites thus becomes mandatory for all brands if they want to ensure a smooth browsing experience for their audience accessing the internet from their mobiles. Websites that have not been specially optimised for mobiles appear so disorderly that they are sure to drive viewers away. So if you want to really capture the market and the imagination of the public, mobile optimised sites are the only way forward.
Myth 5: Content marketing is over rated
The importance of content marketing cannot be overemphasised in today’s digital age as it can slowly but steadily establish your business as an industry expert and keep your brand name foremost in the minds of your prospective customers. Not an approach for those expecting instant results, this strategy if implemented in a planned, systematic and dedicated manner is sure to reap great success over a period of time, taking your business ahead of the competition by an unassailable margin.
Here are some stats about the pluses of content marketing:-
- Interesting content is a top 3 reason people follow brands on social media. (Source: Content+)
- Social media sites and blogs reach 8 out of 10 of all U.S. Internet users and account for 23% of all time spent online. (Source: Content Marketing Institute)
- 90% of consumers find custom content useful and 78% believe that organizations providing custom content are interested in building good relationships with them. (Source: TMG Custom Media)
- Blogs give websites 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links. (Source: Content+)
- B2B companies with blogs generate 67% more leads per month on average than non-blogging firms. (Source: Social Media B2B)
So – ignore content marketing at your own risk and stand to lose out on a golden opportunity to foster online credibility. Instead why not join the content marketing revolution to create powerful, interesting and valuable content that mirrors your brand ethos and becomes an affirmation of your expertise?
Myth 6: Difficult to calculate the ROI of digital marketing
The relationship between social media and conversions has never been an easy one to define. However that is not the only criterion to measure your online marketing efforts by. Other factors like comments, shares, page views, customer engagement are important metrics too as they provide a valuable insight into how your target audience perceives your brand. The aim of digital media marketing is to build a credible online presence and nurture a vibrant relationship with existing & potential customers who would in their turn become loyal brand advocates. It is the referrals and testimonials from these brand advocates that result in achieving higher conversion rates. Therefore a pro-active digital marketing strategy guides the casual visitor through the various progressive stages of engagement, from starting off as a viewer, to becoming a lead, a buyer and eventually a brand advocate. Nurturing more and more brand advocates is the real aim of digital media marketing and is thus the true ROI for any business.
Are there any other digital marketing myths you have come across and would like us to debunk? Or any that you would like to debunk yourself? Do share your thoughts with us.