‘Social strategy’; how many times have you heard that cliché?

In many situations it is a confusing buzzword to help agencies generate new business. However, there are instances where a wider strategy for social media is needed.

I would like to share with you a few examples of brands that clearly lack it, to help you avoid similar pitfalls…

Sony

When I was growing up, Sony was the electronics brand. The daring approach to innovation and design was ground-breaking, and it thoroughly deserved its strong reputation.  

I can remember the feeling of utter jealousy as my brother unwrapped a glistening Sony MiniDisc player on Christmas morning. But oh, how the mighty can fall! Still charging premium prices, the innovation that Sony once showed has virtually disappeared.

The likes of Samsung and LG have shown that high quality electronics can be produced at lower prices and their focus on making homes smarter with ‘device integration’ only serves to support their brands becoming more purchaser’s first choice.

With almost 4m Facebook fans, Sony has an opportunity to commence an entire repositioning strategy and so rebuild their reputation. But the company has got it completely wrong…

Tone of voice & language

When any profile says “Happy Friday” I shiver to the bone. If this is the most creative a brand can be online, then what hope is there of developing remarkable products and creating great customer experiences?

As David Moth pointed out recently when looking into Sony’s social strategy:

The main corporate account is updated on a daily basis, but to be honest the content is quite dull. It’s extremely product-focused and self-promotional, including clips of the company’s new ads, gift ideas, galleries of new products and photos of popstars signed to the Sony record label.

As a result the number of fan interactions is quite low at just a few thousand per update on average, which is a great deal lower than many other global brands.

Poor repurposed content

It irritates me that brands think it is okay to cut corners when it comes to social media content.

Stealing low resolution and/or misshaped imagery from other sources does not suggest quality. This cheap tactic is not limited to Sony, I have also seen it present on social profiles of some of the finest luxury brands.

H.Samuel

Okay, so H.Samuel may not be the most luxury brand on the planet, but it supplies key goods for some of the most special events that people will experience in their entire lives, their weddings.

Any business in this market should be reaping significant benefits as people are captivated by the emotions associated with their rings and other jewellery products.  But, most are not.

Understand your product ecosystem

Imagery is vital for this industry. Inspiring and aspirational visuals should be flowing through the veins of H.Samuel’s profiles, but instead it relies on highly pixelated products on white backgrounds.

The tired product images give the impression of cheap imported goods rather than a treasured item for that big occasion.

Sale and Offers are not helping

Spattering ‘sale’ event creative only adds to the apparent cheapness of the profiles, in the long-run it will have a negative effect on ROI for a brand in this industry.

Only integrate if you are ready

The lack of digital strategy is made clear by its feeble attempts to drive ROI from social. Links to product with tracked URLS (up to four lines long!) cover the page.

To my distress, as I click on one of the soulless links, I am dropped on a website which is even less inspirational. The site doesn’t match such a high ticket product:

Many people wonder why the high street is failing, often typically thinking it is experiencing a natural death.  But, the real problem is that people are failing to feed it.  It is slowly being starved. 

Old Spice

In the last few years Old Spice has been praised for its marketing efforts, recreating the brand via brilliant offline media.

The use of Isaiah Mustafa as “the man your man could smell like” has catapulted the brand, but now it appears to be running out of ideas…

Don’t rush Photoshop jobs

Old Spice

Adobe Creative Suite is fantastic for creating quick and impactful content to distribute. However, Old Spice UK has obviously taken the approach of product quantity, not quality.

This is a shame because the production value of the television commercial was excellent and it has not translated well to online media.

Facebook does not replace the need for a website

Old Spice UK has no website, simply a redirect to its Facebook page from oldspice.co.uk. A few years ago I joined a conference about whether Facebook will make traditional domains obsolete, and the outcome was an expected “no”.

The engaging functionality and customisable opportunities of a good website will not be replaced in the next few years and Old Spice is missing out.

BlackBerry

BlackBerry has had a tricky few years. It was once the leader in its market (the professional class), but it lost its way when it tried to satisfy a wider market and now struggles to please anyone.

The 2013 launch of the Z10 was meant to be the turning point. Offline creative was strong; initial reviews were positive; but, when Blackberry turned to social media to amplify the early success, it all went wrong.

Don’t go promoting competitor products

Apple fans are immovable objects, they will defend their precious possessions at all costs. Unfortunately, BlackBerry didn’t consider this when it invested in Facebook advertising to promote the launch of the new phone.

A quick calculation suggests that, potentially, the news feed advert could have reached more than 20m people during the campaign.  But it is not great if almost all of the comments are either critical of your product, the brand, or are recommending competitors.

Your audience cares about more than your product and brand

If you need to talk about yourself a lot, it is probably because no one else wants to. Almost every post is about a product or service that Blackberry offers and, in the long-run, it will hurt the brand.

This approach can work if you have the right product range and diverse content to warrant it.  But BlackBerry simply doesn’t.

As a result, their 28 million strong Facebook page achieves minimal engagement and it is only underlining most people’s belief that BlackBerry is no longer a leading mobile manufacturer. 

The Future and Apple 

Despite this positive sounding title, I am no Apple fan! I am simply impressed and amazed by Apple’s determination to avoid following the trends of social media. 

Most marketing professionals will bang on about how you need to be on social media.  But Apple provides the perfect example of why this just isn’t true. Saying this, however, doesn’t mean that I don’t think Apple is active on the platforms.

Ultimately, what is the long term strategy of a social media profile?

For how many months or years can a brand produce content before appearing repetitive, unoriginal and embarrassing?