Social Media Marketing: The Good and the Bad
It's not the size of your business. No, it’s not the products or services you sell, either. Even location is only a small factor. Brand success on social media can happen anywhere at any time to anyone. It just takes the right strategy.
Now before this starts to sound like a post over-hyping social media, let me be clear – it’s not. However, with some basic strategies in place, your business can set itself up for social success. More importantly, you can keep yourself from making major social mistakes.
The key is establishing your definition of success, then applying the right strategies and tactics to make it happen. For some, social media is a marketing tool. For others, it is an online customer care and outreach instrument. And still others simply want to make sure they have a presence on specific social platforms.
Regardless, it is a tool which needs to be handled with extreme caution. All too often companies think that social media gives them free reign to post anything they want. While this is mostly true, you don’t have carte blanche. Content must be original, and it should not be misleading. Definitely avoid anything that would be considered slanderous or scandalous.
There is a fine line when it comes to a user’s privacy and how a company can exploit these vulnerabilities. Instead of toeing the ethical line, brands should look for better ways to encourage customer engagement on social media.
Case in point, a mother recently tagged Crocs, the sandal brand that her daughter was wearing in a picture posted on Instagram. It seemed like a perfectly acceptable thing to do. However, Crocs took her daughter’s photo and used it on their website. According to the New York Times, a reporter caught wind of the picture and notified the mother of its existence on the site. Later, Crocs did ask for permission to use the photo but the New York Times reported that the woman had declined to respond to Croc’s belated request and that she felt a “little weirded out.”
As social media marketers, we have to put ourselves in our customer’s shoes when it comes to customer engagement. How would you feel if you suddenly found a picture of yourself or your child on a company website that didn’t seek your permission first? I would certainly feel my privacy was being violated. Instead of just taking this picture from Instagram without consent, why not try and make it a marketing strategy? Crocs could have easily asked for the picture and in return they could have offered them a valuable coupon toward the purchase of one of their products. In all likelihood the mother would probably have posted her daughter’s new pair of Crocs to social media. This would then gain customer loyalty from the mother as well as positive user engagement on its social platforms.
On the other hand, many brands are actively engaged in strategies to incorporate their customer’s photos into their own marketing. The Wall Street Journal recently highlighted Modcloth.com, a women’s online retailer that openly asks customers to post their photos directly to their site in order to showcase real people in the brands’ clothing. The photos then go right on the website into their “Outfit Photos” tab. I couldn’t believe it when I clicked on the tab that actual customer’s photos popped up! Not just professional models showing off their clothes, but real people like you and I.
Social media is an incredible tool to not only gain interaction between your brand and customers but to also involve customers into your marketing and adding valuable credibility to your company. As a brand, one simply needs to identify creative ways like Modcloth.com to encourage customers to interact with their products. Not every company is as big as Crocs or Modcloth.com, but any marketer can think outside the box to encourage customers to engage with their brand on social media platforms.
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