Ican just picture it. Pretty much every single company has had their marketing team sit around a table and say "we need to consider / do / think about social media." So what happens? A brief is thrown at the digital agency and they are told to "do social media". Unfortunately for some, results vary significantly.
Good social media
So, what does “good social media” even mean? At the simplest level, I would define doing social media well as having the following characteristics:
- Adding value to your users
- Being responsive to their needs and desires
- Conveying your brand essence in everything you do
Some brands will have it easier than others.
The perfect fit
Some companies' products are a natural fit for social media. GoPro, FHM, "The World's Biggest Supplier of Cats". For these brands, it's not difficult to "do social media". Their products are a close fit to what the users on social media are talking about in any case. It doesn't take too much creativity for these brands to do social media well.
What about the rest of us? The real challenge lies in point 1) above - adding value to your users. So as a brand, you just need to sneak in there, ADD VALUE and you're away.
Let's use a real life example.
Disclaimer: I don't mean to bash any agency at this point. Every mature agency has done the type of work mentioned below and it's typically because the client has provided a very specific brief that leaves no room for creativity. It's bread and butter stuff (excuse the pun that follows) and keeps companies afloat and the economy going. I don't mean to be on any high horse about this.
Back to the example
Blue Ribbon sells bread. We all like bread and probably eat bread (well, given what Banting has done to South Africa, this statement is questionable).
I recently saw a Blue Ribbon truck drive around with #itsmadeforyou painted on its side. The thinking here is obviously that they want to get people to eat the bread and then post something funky on Twitter or Facebook with this hashtag. Why else would they have it on their truck? Picture the abovementioned boardroom table, with people sitting in a meeting saying "everyone is doing hashtags, we should do hashtags".
However...if one spent just a moment thinking about this - does this seem like a good idea? Would you tweet about bread with the hashtag #itsmadeforyou? Would you? Thought not.
So why was this done in the first place? Probably a combination of a) everyone is doing it, so we should follow suit, b) small budget, c) no room for creativity, and d) it's quick and easy.
Either way, to me, this is a #digitalfail and it happens all around us - it's no surprise that many users are increasingly "over Facebook" and "over Twitter" and are flocking towards social media platforms that are not overrun by brands, such as Instagram, or Snacchat for the younger folk.
So what is the answer? Where should this spend have gone to? Should they not do social media at all? Off the top of my head, they could have hidden a wad of R 200 notes in loaves of bread throughout South Africa and tweeted about that! Why not build a little mobi site with an interactive map that will give you clues and lead you closer to these special breads? That might have given Blue Ribbon more traction. (I'm not a creative director, so this idea is obviously a bit rubbish).
Point being, the idea is to create value and, failing that, to boost sales or build the brand. Otherwise, why bother?
There are just too many brands doing social media poorly. Partly, they do it badly because their product is not a good fit for social media, but then they should refrain all together, or make sure they do it "properly" by putting themselves in their consumers’ shoes and applying a bit of creativity.
Agree? Disagree? Want to chat to us and let us develop something awesome for you? I will refer you straight to our creative director James, who will definitely come up with a better idea than bread stuffed with money.