Social media hygiene

A large number of companies are trying to use social networks to promote brand building. In the long run, however, they are still making the same textbook mistakes that cost them both time and money. With regard to the current situation and the impending recession, comes the ideal time for the hygiene of the social networks, and the search for unnecessary costs and inefficient practices.

Social media

Recently, we have reviewed several audits of the social networks, that were primarily about the evaluation of the work with content on Facebook and Instagram – from creative through optimization to efficiency, which is in the current period more than required. In addition to the classic mistakes, which, even today, appear over and over, we came across one more interesting fact, which we hadn't encountered before, at least not on this scale. Indeed, there was a large imbalance between the amount of content produced and its delivery to the target group. An error that was beautifully rendered in the long-term data analysis.

The pages posted hundreds of posts a year. Most of the contributions were optimized for interaction, being promoted with a very low amount. Part of the contributions did not promote at all for sure, and it relied only on an organic reach. The result of this effort was that each post got on average only to the lower units of thousands of users. For better context, I note that the target group always covered a large portion of the Czech population, and the brands strived for the social networks primarily to promote brand awareness.

What is the point of trying to build a brand on social media if the brand speaks to barely 1% of the target audience? And how does it then affect the budget and time spent by an internal specialist or an external agency? There is an unnecessary waste of a marketing budget that could either be used more efficiently on a given platform or invested into another communication channel.

Since most companies use social networks primarily to build brand awareness, I've put together some simple tips to think about when trying to build a brand on social networks.

Advertising is not for free

It is estimated that there are more than 60 million business profiles on Facebook, which already creates a very competitive environment. Thus, on the platform, the amount of contributions is constantly growing, while the degree of interest (interaction) with them decreases sharply. In 2018, Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook would continue to limit organic reach on corporate pages. Brands are increasingly being pushed towards using of paid content, and for many of them "reasonable" organic reach becomes unattainable. Often relatively large resources are spent on preparing eye-catching creatives that are seeded on the social networks without promoting or with only minimal support, and reach is only to several thousands of users.

You don't build the brand with the page fans

According to the study of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute (one of the largest drivers of the world of marketing last years), ion which he participated even Byron Sharp, the fans of brand pages are by a large part their most loyal customers. By doing so, the study pointed to the inefficiency of targeting the page's own fans in order to build a brand. In this case, it will always be more interesting to expand the reach, spreading out to new audiences.

Save Microtargeting for activation campaigns

Accurate targeting options are one of the key advantages in online advertising, but like everywhere else, everything must be in balance. Exaggerated microtargeting and personalized creatives for microsegments can also have negative consequences from the point of view of brand building. For brands, that gradually build their brand, there should be something like a common awareness – all potential customers should understand the single idea of the brand, what it means, what it costs.

But microtargeting is the opposite. If serve an individually personalized content to everyone and so build different associations with micro-audiences, the brand as a whole actually starts to fall apart. On the other hand, microtargeting definitely has its place in the activation and performance campaigns, where it may in short term increase performance in the form of sales. You can read more about why personalization harms brand building here.

No one gives likes to TV advertisement or billboard, and yet works

The last point I would like to mention is that many brands still use level of enthusiasm as one of the main KPIs in social networks. Meanwhile, Facebook itself discourages from using its Engagement optimization purpose, and demonstrates it with the results of research by Nielsen conducted on 478 global online campaigns.

The research did not prove a significant correlation between engagement and brand metrics. In addition, optimization of the ads for this purpose makes the reach of target group considerably more expensive, because the advertising system must, in a more complicated way, choose among a smaller number of users, so-called clickers, which are still targeted by a large number of incorrigible advertisers.

Long story short:

Do not rely on organic reach and promote posts sufficiently. The costly creatives to be seen by a hundredth of a target group are inefficient. To do this, balance out the amount of posts so that you can allocate enough media support for them.
Fans are most likely your loyal customers. With them, you no longer need to invest in brand building.
Build a unified association within a segment or category. Keep the Microtargeting for activation.
Set the right KPIs. Likes, shares, comments look nice, but they do not help the brand growth. In addition, optimization for engagement makes your target group's reach more expensive.
But nothing is simply black and white, and definitely there will find a brand or page which, by the nature of their business, generate such an entertaining or useful content that they can get organically to a large number of people or pages that were established just for the purpose of communication with your customers and fans are so very precious, as well as microsegment for the brand with a narrow target group. However, for most brands, that generate an average ad with an average budget for a relatively large audience, these tips are valid, and it is certainly not off-topic from time to time to reflect, and to confront yourself with the state of the page, for which you have responsibility.