Insights on Marketing & Technology

Why Social media often fails to impress the C-suite

As companies have witnessed a change in their customers’ purchasing behaviour and a fragmentation of the media landscape, they are not only rethinking the way they interact with their customers, but also how they organise. In line with these changes, involvement in social media is becoming the norm. But how to master these new media?

Casper Henningsenmikkel Bach-Andersen
  • By: Casper Henningsen og mikkel Bach-Andersen
  • Published: 17-09-2015

To master these new media, we have seen companies introduce extensive planning processes and content calendars, and purchase expensive software tools to track and analyse their social media efforts. They have also hired social media managers and external agencies. The investment in time and money is extensive.

Despite this considerable social media outlay, they often fail to secure a return. The primarily reason for this is the huge gap between the commercial priorities and the output of these channels.

Together with our colleagues at Kunde & Co, we have over the last three years helped some of Europe’s largest companies use social media as a business driver. We have conducted a wide range of social media audits and had the opportunity to discuss these with executive stakeholders. In doing so, we have scratched below the glamour and glory and uncovered some worrying tendencies, false truisms and strategic shortcomings. We have gathered our experiences around five key areas and devised a plan for how they should be addressed:

Strategic direction

Frequently, a company’s social media presence comes from a campaign idea or is initiated by a social media enthusiast. Despite good intentions, such uncoordinated debuts often lead to entirely explorative approaches where interactions and content availability define the path ahead. This loose method is far from ideal.

Before embarking on any social media adventures, it’s essential to outline your channel, content and target group strategy. This is not an easy exercise and demands meticulous research. To ensure the best chance of success, it’s crucial to analyse community composition, website traffic, search trends and conduct social media listening and ethnographic research to identify the thematic drivers of the industry and potential shortcomings of your current infrastructure.

It’s also important to resist trying to be everything to everyone. Define a narrow target group and content frame and then focus on building depth instead of width. Within these boundaries you can begin applying a more explorative approach. But if you’re heading down the wrong road, it doesn’t matter whether you’re flying, running or walking – you will not reach the right destination.

Community building and audience targeting

An unfocused approach often leads to heavily skewed communities, with an overrepresentation of irrelevant people. Our experience shows it is not uncommon for students, non-industry people and others from exotic markets, who are in no way relevant from a sales perspective, to constitute more than 60-70% of the community.

One reason for this is that content is often so broad that everyone can consume it: from students, employees, friends and family to senior executives...

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Mikkel Bach Andersen

Mikkel is Group Account Director at Kunde & Co. For more than 5 years he has helped primarily international companies use marketing and branding as business drivers.

Casper Henningsen

Casper is Managing Partner at Kunde & Co. With Caspers many years of experience and thousands of ‘hands on’ working hours as management consultant in international corporations, he has seen the results of adapting to new consumer behavior and technology with intelligence and perseverance.

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