April 17, 2015

Are You Sharing or Scaring?

Coffee creative meeting

Scan me! Like this! Share with friends! Retweet! Pin it! When communicating to today’s attention-deprived consumer, you may be sending the wrong message without even realizing it.

Eager to jump on the social media bandwagon, brands often overwhelm visitors by throwing every channel at them at once. By doing the research up front to find out where your customers are, and how they engage with your brand, you can use social media channels effectively to communicate and engage with your consumers. Here, we take a look at a few of the right social media channels, and the wrong ways to use them.

Pushing The Social Buttons

Does your business need to engage in social media? Yes. Does your business need to be active on every channel? No. You should at the very least be present and listening, but by no means do you need to actively direct your customers to every channel in every advertising tactic. After researching your business and target market, your marketing partner should give you recommendations on the best social channels to engage with your users. These are the channels you’ll want to promote in your media. Ask yourself — and your agency partner — how do my social channels complement and improve the strategic marketing messages we’re creating together? Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube etc are not all created equal, so make sure it’s your brand message that you’re sharing, and not just promoting the social channels instead of your business.

Deleting The Negatives

It’s true –you can’t satisfy everyone, but you can let them know they’ve been heard. When the time comes (and it will) that a disgruntled customer leaves a negative review on Foursquare, Twitter, Facebook, Google Places or Yelp no good can ever come from deleting the comment to save your reputation. It takes just one customer with a connection to a larger mouthpiece for the situation to blow up and attract an even bigger readership. Likewise, don’t engage in a verbal firefight in a comment thread. It may be difficult to let the customer’s words stay public, but addressing the comment as quickly as possible and inviting a private, offline, discussion is truly the best course of action.

QR Codes

We’ve saved the biggest offender for last. If there’s one thing marketers love, it’s jumping on a trend. But we think QR codes have been around long enough (they were first used by the automotive industry in 1994) for everyone to accept that consumers just aren’t going to glom onto QR codes the way that overeager marketers want them to. A Forrester Research study reported that only 5% of Americans who owned smartphones scanned a 2-D bar code during the last three months of 2011.

Why haven’t QR codes taken off? Simply: engagement vs reward. A QR code is a call to action and must promise a worthwhile reward for doing so. Why and how would a consumer ever scan a QR code on a billboard? Not only is it a questionable placement execution, it’s just dangerous. QR codes on underground transit advertisements may not be in an area with internet access (thanks, media team!). This, of course, further reduces engagement numbers.

If you (or your client) absolutely must have a QR code, make this part of your initial marketing strategy, not an afterthought. Create a QR code that adds something unique to the user experience and absolutely rewards them for their effort. And always, always make sure that the site that the QR code directs to is optimized for mobile screen experience.

For more examples of QR codes that are don’t scan, or don’t make sense, check out our guilty pleasure http://wtfqrcodes.com

There’s Hope!

Our hope isn’t to make you more confused or intimidated by social media. It’s a powerful medium that’s changing the dynamic between businesses and consumers. It’s more important than ever to work with professionals who can ensure you’re communicating the right messages — in the right places — with the right consumers. Click here for more social media marketing tips & tricks.