Big brands, especially ones in trendy, fashionable industries should be killing it when it comes to social media marketing, right?
Actually, there's fairly obvious evidence that they are wasting a lot of money on social marketing campaigns that are not generating returns.
This is good news for smaller businesses that are prepared to use social media correctly, because it levels the playing field for those without endless budgets.
This article will highlight how one brand that should be mopping up the social media arena is visibly floundering. I'll then contrast this with some strategies on how to get your social marketing working properly, in order to start generating great returns on your investment.
Social marketing: You're doing it wrong!
Garnier is a leading cosmetics brand that produces hair care and skin products - arguably a niche industry that should be really, really popular on social media.
Garnier USA a pretty successful mass market cosmetics business and, from the plethora of high budget, slick commercials they produce, they are obviously no strangers to traditional marketing.
But traditional marketing is just that - traditional.
The online world is completely different because people are no longer captive audiences.
If they don't like what they're watching or reading, something else is only a click away.
This alters the equation because instead of delivering a message, you have to deliver something of value in return for users' attention.
This is where Garnier are doing it wrong.
Advertising vs. engagement
Online promotions are all about content. It doesn't matter whether you are writing a blog or running a social media campaign for a global brand.
You have to produce content that:
is focused on a target audience
offers something of value
is interesting and engaging
Traditional marketing, on the other hand, simply delivers a message - the more often it is shown, the more likely it will be to sink in.
The difference being that a traditional strategy (as used by Garnier) "tells" people something. Content "engages with" people about something.
The problem with content is that it takes time to build up trust and authority. You have to consistently and persistently be creative and thoughtful about the value your content offers.
This is what most people don't like about inbound marketing, because the returns are generated over time, and are kind of "vague" and "fuzzy". They can't be plugged into a nice formula and presented to the investors.
Proof that Garnier is doing it wrong
So let's consider two alternate universes, one in which Garnier is applying proper, content based engagement strategies to their YouTube campaign, and this universe.
How would we distinguish between the two?
Evidence of social success
Well, consider the alternate universe in which Garnier has invested their resources into creating lots of really cool videos on how to style your hair, or expert tips and advice on making your skin radiant, etc.
Assuming they were doing a good job, one would expect them to have:
many channel subscribers
each video with many views
videos attracting lots of comments and likes
In addition, one should be able to track the steady growth in popularity of their content channel - something which is the hallmark of well implemented, content based campaigns.
Garnier's social campaign
Let's take a look at Garnier's YouTube channel, to see how it matches up:
Approx 4 500 subscribers
Average views of approx 2 500 per clip
Most popular clip has 1.4 million views
Ok, so on the surface of things it might seem like they have a small but active social media channel. But let's dig a little deeper.
Their most popular clip obtained nearly ten million views:
In order to pay for a few million views, you are looking at about $100 000 - but feel free to correct me if you know different. And, what's worse, out of all those viewers only about 30 people bothered to like the clip.
This is strong evidence of absolutely no engagement whatsoever. And why should there be? The clip is an advert.
Taken together, you can be pretty sure that Garnier is spending a lot of money for very little ROI (Return On Investment).
I don't mean to pick only on Garnier - in fact, many (if not most) big brands get social wrong. It's just that Garnier is in an industry that is so easy to get right online - it's visual, exciting, well understood, established, in demand, and so on.
So what lessons can be learned, and how do you get it right to start driving real engagement, leads and conversions from social media?
Social marketing done right
I'll say it again:
All Internet marketing starts with great content!
Before you even bother with social media, which can be very time consuming, expensive, and ultimately a huge waste of time if not done properly, learn how to create engaging and valuable content FIRST.
Even if you have tried your hand at social media before, if you aren't confident that your content is high quality and engaging, stop what you are doing and go back to the drawing board.
You aren't in the business of Internet marketing until you know how to create fantastic content that drives engagement!
I would suggest following these steps to get your social media strategy on track (regardless of whether it is YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc):
Start identifying and segmenting target audiences
Start creating valuable content that speaks to highly focused segments of your audience
Analyze and refine your content and its performance
Build up a broad and deep reservoir of great content on your own Web properties - i.e. blog, website, forums, etc
Once you have established sufficient trust, authority, and followers via your content, start producing content focused on a specific social media platform
Promote that content aggressively to get existing followers to adopt it
Grow your content and engagement on one social media platform until you are confident that the process can be repeated on another, without endangering your current interests
This is fundamentally different process from the one adopted by big budget, big brand businesses, who approach the online medium the same way they approach TV or print.
For small business, recognizing that you have to earn trust and authority by providing great content is a less humbling experience, because you don't have to go back to the drawing board - unlike larger businesses.
In addition, because the online market is so vast, small businesses that do a good job with social media can make a very big dent in real world market shares.
So that's my analysis of how big brands are messing up social media and costing themselves a lot of advertising dollars for very little return.
But, I hope that I have also offered a sensible strategy to turn things around, and, over time, start to generate real engagement that will lead to plenty of prospects, conversions, and ultimately, profits.
What are your thoughts on big business social strategies? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.
Content fatigue, when it comes to finding innovative and creative marketing advice, is becoming a serious time burglar for me. It is getting harder and harder to find the really useful nuggets of info hiding behind mounds of mediocre content and fake influencers.
That's why I've decided to put together a list of the best articles I come across over the course of 2016 - to save you the hassle of monitoring hundreds of sites yourself. I'll continually update this page whenever I see something genuinely useful that I deem worthy.
PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising on a platform like Google AdWords can be challenging to get right even for experienced advertisers - and a monumental waste of money for beginners.
If you are thinking of starting a new online ad campaign be sure to read through this introductory guide that will help ensure you drive the right type of traffic, with the right user intent, and convert it efficiently to make decent returns.
Before we even look at the AdWords platform it is important to ask:
Having a great product or service is simply not enough to enjoy strong sales (especially online), which is why it is crucial to build strong relationships with other organizations.
But recognizing that your enterprise can succeed or fail depending on the quality and quantity of the business relationships around you is one thing - finding and nurturing those partnerships is another thing entirely.
This article highlights three techniques that have proven themselves to be invaluable when it comes to ensuring that your company is constantly growing a powerful network of allies.
If you have been tempted into using an online press release distribution service (free, or otherwise) then I'm here to warn you about the risks.
Search marketers used pr distribution services to quickly spread "news" and articles of dubious quality around the Web. This lead to a huge increase in targeted backlinks that improved organic traffic listings and PageRank in Google.
Essentially, press release distribution services became a great black-hat SEO strategy that worked well - until Google caught on.
Design an app that tracks users' trips each day (ostensibly to and from work). Then, once it has matched a person's trips with people who do much the same trip each day it allows them to request lifts from each other.
The app charges people half the petrol for the distance of the trip so you get a free trip if you drive two people, and make money for more people.
Payments are made via the app. It simply transfers funds to your account from theirs (and vice versa) - depending on who's driving. Top-up funds by in-app purchases of credit or request a payment if you've earned cash.