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The most over-looked component of many social media campaigns

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You know what’s perplexing about the way companies plan for today’s social media campaigns?

They don’t plan for BEST-CASE scenarios.

And, in this case, that means planning and staffing appropriately for community management.

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Consider the following scenario:

You’ve been planning a social media campaign as part of a broader marketing effort to launch a new product. You’ve been at this planning for nine months. You have a big social media ad budget (read: tens of thousands of dollars), and you feel like your creative is fairly solid. You’re hoping for a successful launch.

The big day comes, and the launch goes extremely well. In fact, it goes so well, from a social perspective, that you crush your engagement goal. You have more likes, comments and shares than you know what to do with.

But, that’s the problem. You have so many customers and prospective customers commenting that you can’t keep up. You respond to a few, but you simply can’t keep up. Many, many comments go unresponded to. Some people even get upset you don’t respond. But, there’s not much you can do because you simply don’t have the people.

I don’t have any scientific data to back this up–but, I will say in the research I do for this blog, the Talking Points Podcast and the Talking Points e-newsletter, I see this scenario playing out on social fairly often.

Let’s look at a more specific example: John Deere.

Deere made the following post on Sept. 14.

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Not really a post aimed at generating fan engagement, but they received a number of comments nonetheless, including a full-out question right away.

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But what else do you see in the comment thread above? Ideal opportunities to engage and respond to positive comments, right? Easy opportunity to respond to Troy Samuels, who took the time to snap a pic of his John Deere and post it (heck, they didn’t even “like” any of these comments!).

Or, what about these comments?

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Again, an easy opportunity to engage right at the top–and more importantly, from someone who wants to BUY A JOHN DEERE TRACTOR!

This is just one example–but I’ve seen many others just like it.

Why don’t more brands resource and staff community management appropriately? I just don’t get it.

You spend all that time and money planning a social campaign, which often includes engagement as one of THE key metrics, and you fail to staff the piece where you can actually take advantage of that engagement?

That makes no sense.

Many brands would LOVE if they had customers and prospective customers commenting liberally on their social channels?

Yet, we continue to see brands respond to customer comments semi-regularly at best.

For YEARS, we’ve been talking about the importance of connecting with your customers using social media channels.

Yet, brands get the opportunity to do just that and they fail to respond to every single comment in a thread?

I just don’t get it.

If you’re going to take social seriously as part of your marketing/PR team, you HAVE to take community management seriously, too.

Seems obvious, right?

Then why are we seeing so many companies failing to respond to so many comments?

A few theories:

Leads > community

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to many, but marketing teams are often far more focused on the lead components to a social campaign than they are the community piece. Leads are what drive budget–not community and customer service.

Brands can’t find good community managers

I think sometimes brands want to build and engage with their communities–they just can’t find the people to make that happen. At least not in an effective way. I think there are a lot of people out there who list “community management” on their resume and claim they have experience in that area. But, I also believe community management is an art form–and in many ways, it’s an innate skill. Sure, you can coach people up in this area. But, for the most part, the community manager either has “it”, or she doesn’t. That’s what I’ve seen at least. And, I think that’s an issue at play here, too.

Social is still a broadcast channel to many orgs

Let’s face it, many companies merely see social as an opportunity to blast their messages, offers and promotions across the internet air waves. They don’t care about responses. They don’t necessarily want comments. They just want to talk. Sadly, we see too much of this (still) in 2016.

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The most over-looked component of many social media campaigns

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