Social media indeed is an excellent way for marketers to reach the target audience with accuracies that could only be imagined a decade before. Marketers all over the world are well aware of that, and they have already started putting their attentions and resources into their social media outlets receiving a varying level of success. In this endeavour, some find commendable conversions, and some do not. Some marketers successfully introduce an idea, which soon becomes a trend, whereas some struggle to get the minimum attention they deserve. Brand managers from all over the world have learnt that there is no one-size-fits-all social media strategy and trying to follow another company's successful campaign may lead to poor performance. Repeatedly trying to make those strategies and work just because they worked for someone are the traps known as 'social media marketing myths'.
This article aims to debunk five of such myths, which are often seen to be practised by the marketers of both small and large firms in Bangladesh. To get valuable insights on proper social media practices and on how to avoid these common pitfalls, this writer interviewed some of the young social media marketing professionals.
Myth 1: Reach is the best parameter for any social media marketing activity
Many marketing managers have this habit of focusing only on visibility or reach on social media. Reach is only the first step of marketing through social media platforms. There are many other parameters that are key to brands such as- engagement, click through rates, sales conversion etc. On this point, Mashfique Khalid, managing partner, Lie to Eye- a digital experience agency, shared, "Reach depends on how much money you are spending but effective campaign depends on how much engagement you are getting from that reach."
Myth 2: You should not get personal
Many companies refrain from expressing their brand personality fearing that it will be taken as a lack of professionalism. On the other hand, there is this recent trend among startups where they try to incorporate some innovative marketing tactics to get attention from their audience.
Anindya Shubhra Banerjee, digital marketing associate, Purplebot Digital said, "Any company, be it on any platform, should not resort to petty promotions. What they could do is capitalise on blunders or errors by other competitors and communicate the differences in a classy and sophisticated manner, while keeping their unique positioning intact. Case in point: The recent Chillox vs Takeout wars, vs what Sushi Samurai did with Tao Town. You can be aggressive without being petty and too personal, and that is what segregates good digital marketing from bad."
Myth 3: Companies should be active on all social media outlets
Quite a good number of marketers in Bangladesh consider social media marketing a free alternative to expensive traditional marketing, which mostly is not the case. Along with boosting or promotional charges, creating and procuring the right content to convey the right message is expensive. When a company is active on Instagram and is receiving the desired level of response, it may not need to equally invest in its Twitter profile since the process is expensive. It needs to analyse if its target market dwells in that social platform and if the platform's culture is relevant to their business.
Ridwan Hafiz, co-founder of Dhaka-based digital marketing agency Analyzen, has put insights on this issue this way, 'Most companies should be on social media but of course, they do not necessarily have to be on any or all of them. A brand should get specific and desired value from LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter. If the value is nothing significant; then the manager can always opt it out.'
Myth 4: Social media marketing is effective nationwide
Currently the active social media users of Bangladesh belong to major metro and urban areas. In the rural sides of the nation, social media users are not engaged enough to build long-term loyalty. If the product or service is for rural markets, then social media marketing should not be the first choice for marketers.
Myth 5: All tools should be used by social media professionals
Social media platforms release numerous tools for users and marketers every year. It does not mean all tools are relevant or useful for every company. For example, the use of hashtags is often misused by marketers. When asked about the importance of using hashtags, Ridwan Hafiz further has said, 'Hashtags are overrated, especially for Facebook. It works very well for Instagram exploration or twitter trending, but it is of almost no use on Facebook. The thing is you cannot create something viral by creating catchy hashtags; so focus on the content only and expect (or pray) it to go viral.'
Myth 6: Content marketing should be about your products and services
In this modern age of marketing digitally, brands and companies are supposed to be aware and enlightened regarding whatever is going on in the world around them and create their identity and communication in a way that is relevant to the issues and occurrences of the global community. Marketing with the details of basic services and products is not as effective as before. A company's service/product must be a fantastic one, and they have to market that well, but as a brand, they must have the sense to care about what is happening around them.
Marketers need to thoroughly study the norms, trends and examples of effective social media marketing activities to modify their own strategies and tactics for digital age.
The writer is a second-year student of BBA programme at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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