The 4 CONs that I learned as a social media marketer

People use social media to connect with their friends and families, to get entertained, to get information or help. They are certainly not there to hear a brand’s sales pitch. They’ll be bothered about a brand only if it’s engaging and relevant enough.

This was the first and probably the most important lesson that I have learned while working on the social media strategy of Godrej Appliances back in 2015-16. Social media is definitely not the commerce first platform where your primary goal is traffic to your website but its the connection and conversation first platform that could do a tremendous good for your brand in long run. Engagement holds the key especially as the organic reach continues to decrease. The Facebook algorithm is tweaked in such a way that, better the engagement to piece of content, higher the organic reach to it.

So how can we marketers deliver higher engagement? The answer to this question is – we need to be the CONmen. No not deceive our audience with click-bait stuff but to work on 4 CONs to be relevant and engaging on the platforms. These CONs are – Conversation, Content, Consistency, and Contemporary.

Conversation
On social media, conversations never stop and the opportunities to be relevant are endless. However, it’s important to be part of the audience’s conversation, to make it about them, their moments and their concerns. At no point, you should enforce brand on them. They’ll simply be put-off with the pushy content that doesn’t resonate with them.

There will be far too many moments to (force) plug the brand/product in the communication but given today’s social media landscape, you would be better off without them. A brand, instead of pushing product all the time, can understand who is its core user on say Facebook, listen to what they are talking about and play the role of a good friend – actively listening to what they are saying and responding when required, entertaining them.

Content
Content marketing has been a buzzword for some time now. While there’s been a debate going on about its effectiveness and ROI but personally, I deeply believe in the value it offers to the brand and I have been practicing it on social media for some time now. To be relevant to the audience, a brand must offer value to them.

In the beginning, I had listed reasons for people using social media, a brand must play the facilitator’s role when it comes to information, help on the topics that are common for it and its audience. E.g. Being an appliances brand, we at Godrej are using social media to distribute brand agnostic information on how to go about buying an appliance that fits the bill, how to wash clothes better or store stuff right. And this has been the content that’s giving us the highest engagement.

Consistency
Social media is that television, where the brand is just one of the channels and the audience, has the remote control. The moment you stop offering value, the audience will press the button and then you’ll never know when you get the opportunity again to reconnect and impress them. So creating a good content is not enough, doing that day in and day out it equally important.

Its easier said than done and a thought through social media calendar can go long way in ensuring this (will write on how to prepare a social media calendar some other day). Its also important to find the nice area (areas – the better) that’s relatively uncluttered and also relevant to the audience and keep working on it.

Contemporary
The social media landscape is everchanging and what works today might or might not work tomorrow. However, every day something new works on the platform for sure. It was a photo post when I started, then it was animated posts (GIFs) and now its video. While I don’t expect any brand to only put the type of content that’s ‘in’ at the moment (say video) irrespective of its merit to objective and resonance with the message, but brands definitely need to adapt to the trends, evaluate them to find the right balance that works for them.

A critical aspect of social media is, your content is not only competing with other brands or news (like it happens in traditional media) but also with content that’s created by user’s peers, friends and family. Unless the branded content is engaging, modern and fits well with the platform it doesn’t stand a chance to compete with such content that’s more personal and relatable.

To conclude, there is more to social media marketing than these 4 CONs for sure. And although they have worked for me, these 4 CONs alone won’t guarantee success for your brand on the platforms. But in today day and age where change is the norm, having a solid foundation is must for any brand and these are probably the most important pillars for a social media success.

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