We all know that social media is getting bigger and bigger with every passing day, and more brands are engaging in social media every hour, but what about those brands that are still hesitant to get in the game? What do you say to them?
If a brand is still afraid to get involved in social, it's because of one of the following "excuses" (and yes, I mean "excuses" -- because none of these are relevant reasons to stay out of it):
§ "I can't control my message in social."
§ "There's no clear way to engage my consumers -- it's too confusing."
§ "The return on engagement for our resources isn't there yet."
§ "It's still too early for us. We want to see what our competitors do."
In the last three months I've heard a number of people make these statements. I love hearing these kinds of "excuses," because then I have something to respond to. I thought maybe it would be helpful for me to share my responses with you!
First off, if a brand says, "I can't control my message in social," you can respond with "Well, how much control do you think you have by NOT being in social?" The fact of the matter is, consumers are talking about you whether you're there or not. By avoiding the conversation, you're simply allowing them to speak in an unbridled fashion about you, and hoping for the best.
Additionally, the world has changed; almost without exception, consumers expect their favorite brands to be available in social for their interaction. This is the way the world is now, and creating loyalty in the eyes of your target consumer means being in social media and engaging them when and where they're available. It's a competitive marketplace out there, and if you aren't speaking with consumers, you can certain your competition is.
For those brands that talk about how confusing social is, I would respond, "Yeah, that was true six months ago." Since then, things have settled down quite a bit, and it's much clearer what you can do in social: advertise, create sponsorships, (i.e. sponsored tweets and posts), or use it as a messaging distribution vehicle through owned assets. There are lots of companies offering ancillary services like research, reporting and promotion, but for the most part they fit into the three categories I just mentioned. There are also a number of companies packaging together these options and making them plug-and-play. As social matures, so does the marketplace -- and with maturity, comes simplicity.
What about when they complain about return on investment from social? My response is also quite simple: the ROI is far more wide-reaching than what you're likely looking at. An effective social media strategy has implications for SEO, customer service and overall brand analytics (guess what -- it improves all of them). Brands who are connected are viewed more favorably by their consumers than brands that are not, and your analysis of the ROI should never be purely against your advertising budget. It should be against customer retention, efficiency of customer interaction and other elements of your business!
Which leaves us with the last statement: "It's still too early -- we want to see what our competitors do." I love that kind of statement because it is so clearly incorrect. When in business is taking no action at all the right action? You need to be analyzing, testing and evaluating tactics. You don't sit idly by and wait for things to just happen. If the average tenure of a CMO is between 18-32 months, and the average tenure of an agency relationship is four to five years, then how does inaction provide you with opportunity?
Of course, brands many other statements about why they're not in social. Share some of your favorite responses from clients, and maybe we can find a way to help answer those!