Navigating the social marketing gray areas—handy tips

By: Srini

The realms of ‘the social’ have penetrated into marketing so deep that everyone wants to jump in, startups and small businesses included. But if social networking is rewarding, it has its own shades of gray as well.

Here’s a look:

Employee (Mis) Engagement

The ‘Phonedog’ story is a classic example of how conflict of interests can throw a hugely successful social campaign in limbo. While in this case, the ownership tussle for the company’s Twitter account has pitted a whole organization against a socially influential employee, there are myriad cases where employees, either out of ignorance or otherwise, have time and again ended up creating negative brand value. (Most often through ranting and raving against one’s current or ex-employer)
To safeguard your social interests, have your legal rights chalked out upfront. Create explicit corporate standards laying down the etiquettes all employees and personnel would need to abide by in their social engagements.

The Anonymity Bubble
While social networking can provide invaluable market insights, you need to be wary of walking right into the ‘anonymous’ trap. While anonymity is one of the Internet’s greatest strengths empowering people to voice opinions uninhibitedly, it’s a big concern too, especially for marketers and advertisers.

For example, a competitor or an employee, on the pretext of anonymity, may post information you wouldn’t want to reveal. Or chasing some easy brownie points, an anonymous competitor may post some negative product reviews, seeking gains for his business.

Filtering out segments of your social connections isn’t realistically possible--so treat your social engagements largely in terms of generic marketing inputs. Be wary of reading social networking as the single substitutes to other market research channels—but use it to foster your customer relationships and define long-term marketing goals.

The Minor Playground
While social networks are doing all they can to regulate age requirements for joining, there are a lot of minors already scouring these networks, Facebook in particular.

Catering to minors is a highly lucrative proposition, but things can go wrong easily if due caution isn’t exercised. Like, an internet marketer may be totally ignorant of the fact his activities are being viewed by a minors audience too, unintentionally of course.

Even though this could have happened by accident, it exposes the brand to possible legal and/ or ethical accusations. The only watch word is—caution—especially if your services/ products demand a mature audience.

The ROI measure

Where most businesses falter is in determining the exact effectiveness of a social marketing. One major reason is that many companies still tend to read a lot into ‘likes’ and ‘follows’ as opposed to the kind of value addition they bring to generating leads. The ground rule in social media is always connectivity. Your social marketing success will always be a direct measure of how meaningfully you have managed engagement with your audience. But does that mean the number of likes, shares, follows effectively quantifies your ROI?


For effective ROI measurement, you have got to scale down deep. For example, once you determine the leads accrued from your social campaigns, and the depth of engagement across each, then figure out user interaction times and get a clear analysis of how long a user lingers on your social pages. Generally, a shoot up in engagement times means you’re headed in the right direction. Bounce rates, recurring visitors, content shares etc. are all factors that add up to determining the actual effectiveness of your social efforts.

Finally, the ultimate measure of your ROI comes from increased sales and conversions, and the above metrics need to reinforce each other to achieve the best of results.

Is your social campaign scaling up in the right direction? Is your ROI getting beyond likes and follows? At Softwaredevelopersindia, we develop social media strategies aimed at delivering maximized ROI and creating positive brand values. For detailed internet marketing plans, Visit:

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SDI develops Social Media Campaign aimed at delivering maximized ROI and creating positive brand values. Our Internet Marketing Experts help you generate the targeted leads your business needs!

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