SOCIAL ADVERTISING IS NOT SOCIAL MARKETING.... SOMETHING NIGERIAN BUSINESSES MUST KNOW



By Ben Iyoha,


The annual advertising spend for Social media in Nigeria has been put at a meager 15 Billion Naira compared to traditional advertising that gulps a staggering 120 billion Naira, this in effect is a retrograde to what it should be. Yes, a far cry, but it is something we can leverage on lest for the emerging stereotype that has been brewing in the minds and psyche of Nigerian firms. 

Firstly, the opportunity of selling your goods and services or rather making your brand visible on social media have not been properly utilized by Nigerian firms who still nurture the opinion that conventional advertising is still the best bet for selling or exposing their wares/brands regardless of the fact that social media takes a point-and-kill approach. 

Many companies run to Social media because they think of it as a trend and not a platform and being complaint is all they seek, some come with needs and a desire filled with urgency, some come with a view of skepticism and others are there just too crowed up the social party. After which there's no adequate result achieved.

Here's the big mistake: Social Media Advertising have been mistaken for Social Media Marketing, the difference being that social media advertising involves a short term campaign on social media or rather a brief brand exposure after which social activities are enveloped and shelved. In essence, this is what conventional advertising will do compared to a fledged marketing structure.

It is timely and strategic to affirm that “Social Media for businesses” should be approached with a marketing standpoint and not with an advertising orientation. Advertising has always been a one-off thing, it is always based on campaigns and campaigns will only last for a given period of time after which the campaign must come to an end. 

Social Media Marketing involves a multi and steady stream approach in a brands social engagement; it always involves a long term goal. However, what we find obtainable in the Nigerian scene are just online advert placements and search optimization activities that only last a few weeks or months after which the brand or product goes silent.

Some of the well known disadvantages of getting involved in social media advertising includes: brief exposure, goals are never reached, ROI is always the advertisers aim but rarely achieved, brand value and presence is never sustained, it is always product specific and not brand specific (products gets visibility not brands).



PUTTING SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING IN YOUR BUSINESS!

Social media marketing should not involve only the use of Facebook, Twitter Ads, Display and Search Ads. Social media marketing must include a social marketing system that integrates your brand into a wide range of social platforms and hence ensure steady management and continuous interaction with its inherent communities.

Always remember, putting your business in social media is different from putting social media in your business. For Social Media Marketing you must put your business in social media (Advertising and placements of brand/product) and you must also put social media in your business (A sustained social presence & social community engagement).



FACEBOOK, LINKEDIN & TWITTER STEREOTYPE!

Demystifying the stereotype that Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the only best options for a brands social engagements has not been easy. Sometimes as a social media strategist it has become a herculean task to convince brand execs that targeting people is easier on less noisy platforms than it is on over cluttered platforms. 

I had come out with an idea on a long term sustainable content for social media. The content mechanism is to create stories driven by still-images, these stories centers around how customers of a bank could carry out several transactions and be happy; this is a story that will be told in an engaging and inspiring way using visuals. What this kind of stories will do for a financial institution is that it gives out information on services, advertises products and also help the institution drive growth, create entertainment, engage the public and sustain a brands social presence. There are very few platforms that can properly allow such engagements and these are Pinterest and Instagram which most Nigerian brands are currently absent from. 

Micro-blogging, video channels and wikis should not be left out of a brands sustained social engagement this is also one way to keep your brand visible and sustained socially.



THE WAY OUT!

Brands who genuinely wish to effectively maximize the use of social media need to take the following steps.


1) Avoid third party services; hire an in-house Social Media strategist or consultant. This will help you leverage on whatever goal, successes or strategy you have set. Third party agents are only bothered about your cash and will only work for you and others clients at the same time; therefore your community engagements will be poor even if you have a good advertising budget and campaign.


2) Always have in mind that your Advertising campaign might last for just a week, but with a sustained social community engagement across many social platforms you can nurture that community into brand ambassadors.

3) Always ensure to create "virtual engagements" with your social community. Thumbs up to GTbank Nigeria for blazing the trail in this regard. Virtual experience helps your customers and community have a sense of belonging when carried along. These engagements must be driven by top notch ideas and concepts.

4) Social Media is not free media... Just because opening social accounts are free doesn't mean you will get quality exposure for free. Be ready to sustainably place ads across boards, pay for third party management wares like Hootsuite, Addictomatic etc and also have in mind that it's easy to have all your investments returned if you keep it sustained.

5) Put Social media in your Marketing-Mix. Before now when marketers consider a marketing mix approach (especially FMCG's) they don't consider social media. Till this day I'm still wondering why the likes of Unilever, Indomie, PG and PZ etc don't have "Virtual-stores" Or rather have their sales models integrated with e-commerce sites? 

My take is... You wouldn't know what a thing can offer until it is given a try. Virtual stores for FMCG's could be the future for sales and marketing. Supermarkets, mini marts, stores and malls could order these goods directly online and have them delivered by specially created delivery teams or Direct Sales Reps, you could call this virtual sales or virtual marketing.

6) Lastly, Don't ever forget the role of "Enterprise 2.0" every firm, government offices and businesses need this model to achieve success within and outside their working space. In the US and Europe almost every business is shifting to enterprise 2.0 to help it shed and disseminate volumes of information, semantics and ease bureaucratic bottle necks in a fluid way using social media platforms. It will be wise that Nigerian businesses and firms start implementing enterprise 2.0. 



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