Marketing Lessons for social media are sometimes best learned through the mistakes of others.
When PepsiCo released an ad featuring celebrity Kendall Jenner a little over a year ago, it seemed like a good idea in theory. The video not only featured a social media savvy figure, but also addressed current social-political issues, like Black Lives Matter.
It was also a flop. Viewers felt like it made light of serious political issues by insinuating everything could be solved by sharing a Pepsi.
Not only was it a major social media marketing misjudgement, but it was a lesson for others when the ad was pulled days after its release.
Learning from other’s mistakes
Of course, PepsiCo is far from the first or last business to make a social media marketing misjudgement. iHop infamously announced on its Facebook page that it was changing its name to iHob, until shortly after changing its name back. The announcement did garner attention, but mostly derision.
In short, the top social media marketing lessons come from a business’ failure to:
- Read the current political or social environment
- Identify a target audience
- Establish a clear company ethos
- Provide transparency
- Interact with customers in a personal way
In a less severe, but perhaps just as common way, some businesses simply do not optimize their social media pages to the best extent, remain active enough, or attempt to network with others within the industry.
What you need to know for 2018-2019
Social media marketing forecasts, so to speak, are fickle at best. While you can track trends and review analytics from both your own social media pages and competitors, this has to be a continuous process, and flexibility in your approach is key.
What we can do, is look at lessons from the past year that hint at ways to avoid social media marketing mishaps, and put you ahead of competitors:
- Be sensitive to the social and political moment: Many businesses choose to be apolitical, but you can still make a misstep. Posts, tweets, and videos should always have your audience in mind, but also the current social and political environment. It’s a great idea, especially if one of your outreach efforts includes commenting on a current hot button issue, to get an outside consultant to vet the idea. Testing it on a small group of people before it goes live is also key.
- Not all businesses have wide audiences: It’s tricky: in order to grow as a business, reaching to new audiences is key. But having a niche audience is powerful, and essential to developing your brand.
- Be careful about creating content without purpose: It sounds like silly advice at first, but think about it: while selling a service or a product is your goal, content also needs some substance. And in light of Facebook’s new algorithm meant to prioritize posts with “meaningful interactions”, you’re better off investing in some videos and memes that both sell your name and also provide some sort of emotional or personal appeal.
- One social media page won’t cut it: While a Pew Research poll for this calendar year held Facebook and Youtube as still dominant for social media use, the amount users, especially younger ones, using Snapchat and Instagram continues to climb. Plus, businesses may see an improvement in their Facebook analytics when linking to other social media pages.
- Remember: social media is public…very public: It may seem like common sense, but to take this advice too lightly is failing to learn a lesson that has been showcased over and over this past year. T Mobile Austria made a severe error when it thoughtlessly leaked parts of security passwords via Twitter.
- Giving up: If we’ve learned any lesson from social media marketing this past year, it’s that things can change on a dime – and that isn’t all bad. Sometimes the best progress is slow and measured. Having a key understanding of your target audience, your competitors, and your company ethos go a long way. By networking and posting strategically but consistently, you can gather followers along the way. Giving up too soon simply means you haven’t tried to innovate enough to find your marketing sweet spot.