Why do the majority of social media campaigns fail?

Social Media Interaction Social media channels such as Youtube, Twitter and Facebook have been responsible for big changes in business communications. However, a study from IBM found that marketers still struggle to harness social media. While nearly 25% of social media campaigns succeed, what are the factors and elements that plunge the vast majority of campaigns into doom?

In our article about the ‘Like’ Economy, we discussed how social media channels can be great platforms for brands to engage in real-time conversations with consumers. Brands can have more control over the people they reach on social networks, allowing them to target consumers by demographics and personal interests.

It is clear that people view social media as a vital tool for communication and keeping up to date. An average of 200 million tweets are sent each day, while Facebook has more than 800 million active users. However, despite brands’ attempts at embracing the fast-moving world of social media, why do 75% of social media campaigns fail? What are brands missing here?

The nature of these communications channels is that it is the consumer who ultimately decides how best to benefit from social media; it is about people sharing information and stories that they like or dislike. People want to be heard and talk about their own experiences. Social media gives us the opportunity to easily connect with each other, to share our best attributes and to advise each other on solutions to our problems.

A few consumer brands such as Coca-Cola, Starbucks and Old Spice are using high profile social media campaigns to great effect, in order to discover what their customers want and to communicate with them. However, not all campaigns experience this kind of widespread success. One of the main factors that contribute to the failure of so many social media campaigns is a lack of understanding about how this revolutionary medium can benefit a brand.

Social media can help brands to communicate with people across the world, including those consumers who would otherwise be isolated from marketing efforts. Mobile devices have also made us even more connected, making it easier to share real-time information. As experiential experts, we know how great experiences can change emotions, actions and beliefs. Within the communications sector, we have generations of experienced practitioners who have developed consistent knowledge and theories to support these marketing practices.

However, social media is not all about theories. What creates a powerful social media campaign is the experience that you are offering to your consumers; it is about telling a story that will create an emotional connection with your brand.

Below are our top five tips to harness your social media campaign:

1. Social media is about socialising, and not selling. It is about making two-way conversations with your audience and creating content that is worth sharing.

2. Reward your audience. People want to feel recognised and gain a positive social standing amongst their friends. By offering a great experience and sharing great content, you can help your consumers to stand out from the crowd.

3. Have an accurate strategy. Get to know your audience and focus your efforts on analysing the most appropriate social platforms through which to engage your customers.

4. Invest your time and budget. Social media is not free media; a good design and creativity will get people talking but if you don’t give it the budget that it deserves, your campaign will not perform as expected.

5. Learn from your mistakes. Look back on your strategy and ask yourself – why did the campaign not work? This will ensure that you don’t make the same mistakes again.

Today, there are a myriad of ways in which brands can use social media to tell their story; real-time conversations on Twitter, YouTube channels, Facebook fan pages, photo sharing sites and other new mobile technologies such as QR codes, Blippar and location-based service. All this can create positive word of mouth for your brand as the story is shared, liked and discussed across the web.

Ultimately, brands need to start viewing social media as a long-term investment that requires an accurate strategy, making the brand’s voice consistent across all forms social communication. We discussed in the previous article ‘Experiential marketing and social media: A marriage made in heaven’ that experiential marketing and social media are a perfect marriage, as they work best together. Therefore, if you are looking to create a successful relationship with your customer, experiential campaigns can add value to your social strategy by giving your audience a meaningful brand experience, which inspires people to share your story.

Hotcow is a multi-award winning brand engagement agency specialising in experiential marketing. Our mission is simple: to help brands understand the power of “experience-based marketing” and offer expertise in how to develop, plan and execute campaigns in the right way to get the right results. For more information or a free consultation about how to integrate experiential marketing and social media to help your brand, contact us.

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