In the last couple of weeks there has been some conflicting reports about how effectively social media marketing can be used by businesses that are looking to interact and engage with their target audience.

Findings from one study conduct by TNS Global Market Research suggests that 61% of consumers have no desire to interact with brands or businesses via any form of social media. Whilst on the other hand, Constant Contact report that the majority of SME’s they surveyed use social media, and in particular Facebook, to interact with consumers.

So which is it, do consumers want to interact with brands via social media or should brands try to reach their target audience via different mediums? The truth is, there is no perfect marketing media to reach all your audience. But social media marketing is a step that all businesses should consider.

That said, it is important to ensure that when turning to social media as a form of marketing and engaging with your consumers, you do so wisely. After all, in the same space of time that the two surveys mentioned above came out, there were also two social media marketing campaigns which aired on different sides of the coin – 1 showing how social media can be used to effectively engage with your audience, the other highlighting how not to do it.

Australian airline Qantas made the news earlier this year for grounding their entire fleet and leaving thousands of passengers around the world stranded.

This time, however, it is their social media marketing which has hit the headlines, for the wrong reasons.

As many firms tend to do via Twitter and other social networks, Qantas launched a competition for its Twitter followers to win a pair of first class Qantas pyjamas and an amenity kit. To be in with a chance of winning, all followers had to do was tweet their “dream luxury in-flight experience” using the hashtag #qantasluxury.

Whilst in principal the campaign doesn’t look flawed, due to the bad press Qantas has recently received – and was still receiving at the time of launch – the campaign was fatally flawed.

Adding to Qantas’ woes were the number of customers who “hijacked” the #qantasluxury hashtag to air their grievances regarding the firm.

Closer to home, Persil, have shown Qantas and other firms looking to use social media marketing effectively, how it is done.

The cleaning product firm are using their Facebook page to get customers to vote on who, if any at all, they think could best represent the brands message “getting dirty can be fun”.

For Persil, this campaign is a win-win situation, not only does it help spread brand awareness, but it also gives them the perfect opportunity to interact with their target audience and let them feel as part of the brand.

So how do you make sure that when launching your social media marketing campaign, you fall onto the same side of the fence as Persil and other brands who have successfully engaged in social media marketing?

To successfully engage and interact with your audience, whilst making sure that your brands reputation is enhanced during the process, you need to plan for all scenarios and have a strategy in place.

This strategy should take into consideration:

Your Current Online Profile:

It’s all well and good looking to launch a social media marketing campaign which promotes your brand; but what if (in the cases of Qantas and others before them) your brand has faced a tough time of it in the public eye – whether national or local?

Before planning your campaign, you need to research how you’re currently perceived and build your campaign around this.

Goal(s)

What are you hoping to achieve, do you want to promote a service or product or are you looking to enhance your brand awareness?

Target Audience

What demographics are you looking to attract; when is the best time to reach your audience and how can you use prolific members of your audience to help you spread brand awareness?

All these questions need to be answered in your strategy, if you want to make a success of your social media marketing – and if you get these right, whether you’re a large national corporation or a small family firm, there is no reason why you cannot promote your business through a successful social media campaign.

Categories: Blog