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Social media marketing: Take a step back

Do you remember the day you set up a Facebook account? Or when you started experimenting with Twitter, then Instagram which you absolutely enjoyed because it did not require much reading? Do you recall the password to your Snap Chat account that you set up, while in a meeting because it was the right thing to do according to a digital marketing expert doing a presentation?

with EMMAGNESS RUZVIDZO

There are a lot of social media platforms out there and as an individual, you select which ones work for you and which don’t. You are also aware of the platforms that most of your friends or colleagues interact on and you make sure you are there unless, of course, you want to avoid them! This consideration and careful analysis is exactly what companies need to do when considering which platform their brand should be present on. Some companies have multiple representation online, but all of them have almost zero activity and they are left as empty shelves with more than hundreds of million eyes on them. What message does that send about your brand?

I have had meetings with various organisations that have a semi-invested presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Vimeo (just a few on Vimeo!) requesting for a new social media marketing strategy. My questions to them are always similar. Why are you presently on social media? Why are you particularly on Facebook? What were your objectives when you launched the account? Have you met them? And when representatives realise they cannot truly justify or explain “the why”, that’s when the real work begins!

The majority of marketers propose a digital marketing strategy as the first step to identifying what you need online or improving your presence. I want to take it a step back and recommend to any organisation well-represented on social media to consider a crucial step: social media marketing audit. This is an essential activity as it informs the business on the effectiveness of current strategy, as well as providing insights as to developing opportunities around social media and market movement. It also alerts the organisation if there are any ghost accounts that need to be shut down before they damage the brand.

Audits by their nature are not fun activities, but the rewards in the long term are unrivalled.

The audit is a fundamental part of the marketing planning review process. As you undertake it, consider and review both internal and external influences on the current marketing strategy, such as: (If you do not have a strategy in place, do it urgently, with an expert please!)

Tactics: Are your present tactical choices effective? Are there other options that could be more effective? Are you boosting the right piece of content? Are you targeting the right audience for your business with social media promotions?

Budget: Are the resources allocated to the marketing plan providing the required return on investment? Social media is not just about creating a page and letting the crowd take over, it requires huge investments — people, money, commitment. In this current constrained environment, it is important to streamline your budget and invest in the platform that will give you the best return. It is not volume that matters, but it is the quality. If for now your business needs Facebook more than Instagram or Twitter, then concentrate your resources on it and watch the returns become attractive!

Audience: So you have made it on Facebook and have 500 likes in a week. Well done, but is that audience your target market? Is it your best option? If you have calculated lifetime value, is this the most profitable platform potentially? Would your brand not have better engagement on Instagram or Twitter depending on your target demographic? Where are your customers spending their time? That is where you need to be.

Goals: What are your goals? Are they still relevant? Are they being achieved?

Metrics: Are the right metrics being measured? Gone are the days of measuring vanity metrics such as likes. The question is: are you engaging with your audience? Are they commenting, sharing or heeding your call to action? That’s what you need to measure, because that’s where the money is.

There are many benefits of a marketing audit

It evaluates your existing marketing strategies and assesses impact on the market. Where does an average Zimbabwean spend most of their time online? What has changed in the past year that may need you to re-evaluate your strategy?
It can often uncover new or improved platforms such as Twitter currently.

It generally fine-tunes your existing strategies which in turn can increase your market share.

It confirms (or alerts) your marketing activities are consistent with your goals and expected outcomes.

It validates your methods of communication with clients and as to whether customers are delivering the right messages or not.

What you discover during a marketing audit is likely to scare you, excite you, motivate you and ground you — but, most importantly, it will be the key ingredient to the successful outcome of your marketing efforts. The exercise is strenuous and can be uncomfortable, but the long-term benefits make the whole exercise absolutely worth it!
So, what next? Conduct a marketing audit, be honest, know what’s working for you and what’s not. Once you have all the information, then work on your social media marketing strategy and watch your brand achieve unparalleled success!

l Emmagness Ruzvidzo is digital marketing expert and she can be can reached on emmagness@icloud.com

*This article was contributed on behalf the Marketers’ Association of Zimbabwe, a leading body of marketing professionals promoting professionalism to the highest standards for the benefit of the industry and the economy at large. For any further information, visit the website on www.maz.co.zw or contact mazmembership@mazim.co.zw

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