Social media is not magic trick and it will not instantly win your organisation more business. Like any communication tool, it is best to hire a professional marketing agency to create the right brand image, tone and message to engage your potential customers. I have recently read two stories which highlight the positive and negative effects of social media.

WONDER STORY: #FindMike (Guardian, Friday 31st January)

Jonny Benjamin tried to take his own life six years ago by attempting to jump off the edge of London’s Waterloo Bridge after having been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. Luckily a stranger talked him out of it. Six years later Jonny, in a better place, felt compelled to find the stranger and thank him for saving his life. So Jonny launched his story via social media with the help of Rethink Mental Illness. #FindMike trended on Twitter in UK, Canada, South Africa and Australia. Eventually Neil Laybourn aka #FindMike, came forward after his girlfriend had recognised the appeal on Facebook. Jonny and Neil met and described the meeting as ‘incredible’ and are hoping to keep in touch. You can hear this amazing story in full by clicking here.

BLUNDER STORY: Younger people most at risk as eating disorder cases rise by 8%

Social media’s obsession with image partly blamed (Guardian, Friday 31st January)
Hospitals are treating an increased number of young people with eating disorders. Social pressures including bullying, relationships and social media are all to blame: photos of celebrities with perfect bodies and people who post photos of themselves in various poses hoping to get as many ‘likes’ as possible is putting pressure on young people to conform with the ‘perfection’ trend. Sue Minto, head of ChildLine, said: “24/7 nature of social media places huge pressures on children and young people which in turn can lead to significant emotional issues”.

Five Top Tips for wonderful Social Media campaigns
  1. Both the stories above made the national press because the emotional message is huge – be it positive or negative. Both are stories with happy and sad endings. When you want to promote an event, product or service, you need to get back to marketing basics. People buy with emotions – so what would motivate people to come to your event? Is there a story?
  2. Social media is ‘social’, so when I see posts from people constantly advertising their services and events on Facebook I block them. The Brand Surgery only posts offers once per month. Generally we post stories that engage readers, for example the #findmike story above, or case studies of business successes.
  3. Who do you want to reach? You may need to consider that an online marketing campaign may not be effective on its own, especially if technophobes are in your segment. Remember that some corporates don’t allow staff to have social media access. Think about who you are trying to target. A social media campaign may need to run alongside offline marketing communications (direct sales/promotions) so your budget would have to allow for this. If the correct background work is done (see below) then your return on investment will be high.
  4. What is your marketing objective? Plan your online marketing campaign with precision. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Social media is instant, and if you don’t plan, you may post something without thinking. Once it is posted – it is alive forever.
  5. Time your posts so they appear when your audience will have time and want to read them.  Social media management platforms such as Hootsuite and Socialoomph will help with scheduling your timing which helps you to avoid gaps when you go on holiday.

Before you start merrily tweeting, research the language that appeals to your target audience. Why should they go to your event or buy your product/service? Whats in it for them? Each person has their own agenda. Create tailored marketing messages which will engage with these prospective clients or attendees at your event.

Call The Brand surgery, No. 1 design and marketing agency in Worthing, Sussex to find out more about our social media campaigns. Call 01903 824229 or email vicky@thebrandsurgery.co.uk.