foreign partnership manager at Growth
28 June 2013 19:17pm
Most companies believe that the page they build on social networks should be about them. Initially they are usually concerned about several key issues: Where are we going to get so much news? What are we going to do with negative comments and reviews? How are we going to drive subscribers? These questions have simple answers and the simplicity is possible just because the answers imply a different view of the page.
• There should not be much company news because we’ll be writing about the target audience but not about the company.
• Negative reviews and comments – it’s great actually because it means that the audience is already talking to us, and there is a bridge between us. Being ignored is much worse.
• Every social network has its own tools to attract the target audience, every tool has its own advantages but the disadvantage is the same for all of them. They are all paid. That’s why there will have to be a budget, and its amount is proportional to the desired amount of the audience attracted.
The second and the third points are discussed in separate articles on our blog.
This time we’ll be talking about a concept of a company page on a social network.
So, what a company page should be about in order that the set business goals are achieved?
Whatever marketing goals are (changing audience opinion, raising awareness, sales, etc.), they always aim to reach into the people’s heads. Something has to happen right there, but not in the video or a billboard. Decades of active media advertising, creating illusions - first for the audience, and then for the advertisers themselves - still get people to believe that if you repeat to a cucumber a lot times that it is a fruit, it will become sweet. In reality something changes inside people’s minds if only they do things themselves. Being just present at a lecture doesn’t give you any knowledge, you should ask questions, take notes, argue, and make conclusions. Good lectures and speakers always allow their listeners to be engaged – ask questions themselves, give simple and more difficult tasks, make sure that the audience attention is properly directed. Traditional advertising has no such opportunity, but social network pages are designed for INTERaction. So the first thing we have to remember - the achievement of our goals depends not on the number of viewers and the quality of the contact with the audience. From this perspective it is better to have 10 000 subscribers with 15-20% activity on the page than 100 000 with 2% activity. The latter means only that the money has been spent on subscribers, but the people have forgotten about this page, do not pay attention to it in their feeds, in the same way as they often do not pay attention to the ad videos and banners.
Therefore, company page in a social network has two performance indicators: 1. Presence of the TARGET audience. 2. Activity of the target audience. That is, we have to ensure that people interesting for us want to join our social media community (any means to attract the audience enable people to see the page and then it’s up to the person to subscribe or not to), and further on want to read the content and comment on it. By commenting our posts subscribers not only attract their friends’ attention to the page but also allow us to enhance our influence on them in the desired way.
Lots of companies create their business pages on Facebook or Vkontakte and expect the target audience to immediately come running and start discussing their product and their news. This is quite natural, since we are discussing all this for 40 hours a week. But to be honest, when not at work, we don’t spend much time discussing shopping or companies. Even when buying a car, we don’t spend more than 10-20 minutes a day discussing the topic. And what about the time when we are not buying a car? And what if it’s impulse buying, for example, clothes and shoes? In social networks it’s not possible to select the users who are ready to purchase right now and invite them to our page. This is what search engines do.
In social networks we find any representative of our target audience and gather them together in our group and keep in touch with them. We are actually able to really achieve our goals through multiple inter-action only. Now, if our target audience is not ready to talk to us about us that much and that long, what shall we talk about?
Any master networker would tell you: in order to get a person interested in talking to you, you should talk to them about them. People love talking about themselves, and this topic is inexhaustible. There is a flip side to that coin though. A pleasant interlocutor ≠ a successful man. Pleasant interlocutors are not necessarily high achievers in negotiations. Good negotiators feel and understand exactly what interlocutors’ interests are but always remember and maintain their own interests. If we create a page on a social network to achieve certain specific goals, and not for the sake of loyalty and image, which are never measured anyway, we have to keep these goals in mind and to maintain them. And that’s just where a concept of the page comes to the fore meaning what exactly this media channel will be telling people about. And at the same time this topic should enable us to speak to our target audience about them on the one hand, but on the other hand it should give us opportunities to reach our goals.
1. A concept of a page should address a problem (-s) real people really have. By real people we mean living ones, like you and I, but not an imaginary target audience that we ’know’. These problems should be of concern to our target audience and at the same time enable us to speak about our product and our company. I wouldn’t promise that our product will solve these problems: not a single product can solve a problem that is really worth talking about. And SMM is the only area in marketing sphere where we can admit it and even say that it’s good.
2. A concept should let us talk long (preferably about a year). Talking to the audience on a topic during one year means 1235 posts if you publish one item every working day.
3. A concept of a page should be precise, specific and maybe even narrow, no matter how often you have to publish content on the topic. There are several reasons for that. Judging by experience, users tend to subscribe more to narrow-topic pages. Judging by the number of competitors, a social network page looks more like a TV programme than like a TV channel. Programmes are always specific: by a topic, people, issues discussed – because these things build expectations and motivate to watch.
Certain contradiction between the points 2 and 3 implies that we have to be able to discuss problems a bit deeper than yellow press usually does. We shouldn’t go too deep either (Justin Bieber is still in higher demand than opera), but we have to give diverse opinions on one and the same thing. Keeping the concept, sticking to the topic, talking to the audience with the page idea in mind requires a kind of talent, broad outlook but more often strong will and conscientiousness.
“Men’s Upbringing” could become a good concept for a children’s brand or an online shop of children’s clothing if their goal is sales. Of course it’s women who usually buy children’s clothes but stay-at-home moms lack communication and need more men’s attention and men’s involvement in children’s upbringing and education.
“Women’s Cars” or “Autolady” could be suitable concepts for small cars.
It’s important to see the difference between the requirements to media advertising and a concept of a social media page. TV commercials or banners have to be “creative’ with some unique idea which will catch attention. On a social network you shouldn’t be afraid of being banal. Old chestnuts are able to raise activity even on pages for refined audience because a chestnut is an old joke which is worth laughing at no matter how many times you’ve heard it before. The same refers to concepts covering commonplace topics like romance, relationship, men and women, etc. You only should be unique in HOW you talk on the topic, it should be in the way nobody has ever done before you.
When preparing content for our concept we by all means bear in mind the proportion: 60-70% of the materials should be for and about the audience and only 30 – 40% - about our brand and the product. BUT both types of content have to be in the framework of the concept we agreed upon and it means the content can and will work to achieve the goals set.
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