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Think outside the box: social media and marketing

Think outside the box: social media and marketing 

Rubin explained that marketers still apply campaign-based tactics to social media. “They view it as advertising,” he said. Agencies treat social media as another forum in which to broadcast a campaign because that is what they are accustomed to doing. Rubin called this approach “debilitating.” By adopting the same tactics they have been using for decades, they ignore the opportunities this fairly new platform affords them. On social media, a marketing message does not have to stop simply because the campaign’s timeframe has passed. “With social media, it’s not stop-and-go,” Rubin commented. “It’s an ongoing process.”

Overcoming the campaign mindset will be an enormous challenge, Rubin acknowledged. “We need to change the way we think about marketing,” he asserted. Instead of focusing on pushing a message, brands and marketers should concern themselves with building relationships. Rubin believes relationship building is one of the most important principles of social marketing. It is the basis for social media. Although people access digital platforms, their primary activity on these networks is to share content.

Rubin encouraged companies to empower employees to use social media. Giving them the proper tools and the correct training to share the brand’s message allows them to create connections with the public. “Consumers are desperate for a relationship with brands,” Rubin noted. He emphasized that employees are the human face of the brand, and they are the ones with whom customers will forge a bond. This desire for a relationship hearkens to the days when no one did business with anyone unless they knew him or her personally.

The social marketing strategist also shared some best practices for advertising on digital platforms. “Listen to consumers,” he urged. They frequently tell brands what they do and do not want, although if their words fall upon deaf ears, they will abandon the company. “Listen to your employees,” Rubin added. If you allow your employees to be the touch point for your customers, a two-way flow of information will spring forth and your connections to both groups will be stronger. “Listen to your target audience,” he recommended. This group is your most loyal set of customers, and their opinions should matter the most.

Other best practices involve changing the way brands think about advertising. Rubin advised companies to move away from applying campaign-based tactics to social media, because those maneuvers do not work on those platforms. Ad campaigns have beginnings and ends, whereas social marketing messages do not. He also advocated the abandonment of elaborate processes. “The bigger a company gets, the more process and structure people think it needs,” Rubin remarked. That is not the case, though. Keep things simple, especially when it comes to advertising, and the organization will benefit.

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