We have often come across this question – Is social media meant only for larger brands? or a variant of it Can all brands leverage social media? The basic contention is that unlike mainstream media, social media doesn’t require deep pockets to start with. Any brand can embark on this journey with an investment of just few thousand rupees.
We are all cognizant of the fact that there huge number of SME firms in India and their contribution to Indian economy is significant. The competition within a particular industry is too steep and every SME dreams to build a convincing brand in the market with respect to the big banner brands. How can it be feasible for SME firms to compete on branding front with the larger brands who splash crores of rupees on mainstream media? If social media is the solution, can all SME brands leverage it effectively?
Image Courtesy: BookingNest.
I had an opportunity to work with large number of SME brands during my tenure with AdGlobal360 as Social Media Strategist. I interacted with founders, marketing managers of these SME brands and came across various myths they had about social media and its usage. I assume you too would have across these myths while consulting / servicing your SME clients. This is not an exhaustive list, however a few major ones.
Myth: Social Media is valuable only for biggies not minnows like us
Reality: Social media is available for any and everyone. Its just a media to converse with your stakeholders. Every brand has its stakeholders with whom it would be necessary for a brand to engage on a regular basis. Especially, it would be effective for SME firms to remain present on social media and gain initial word of mouth which would set the tone for its progress.
Myth: Will only social media marketing get me enough leads?
Reality: Well, the answer is both yes and no, depending on the context. However, primarily social media is meant for ‘engagement’ and ‘relationship building’. I understand that, as SME firms have a shoestring budget, every penny spent on marketing is supposed to earn returns. The ideal way would be to build an effective engagement with the stakeholders and gradually push them spread the word. When they do that, leads will pour in; however it would take its own time. If you ask me how much time it would take, well if you are lucky, you might start getting leads in 3 months time or might not get even till 6 months. So, social media is a waiting game, stick around and it will reap benefits for you.
Myth: Social media requires less investment
Reality: If you as a SME firm owner are comparing the absolute investment figures required in social media viz-a-viz mainstream media, then yes, it requires far less. However, one should consider the budget allocated as a proportion of firm’s total marketing budget. Also, as the lead generation cycle is delayed in social media, SME firms should consider the lag period and accordingly decide the investment required.
Myth: Lets start with Facebook & Twitter
Reality: This is a classic myth! Just because Facebook & Twitter have large audience and are well known most of them would prefer to start from here. This would be the biggest mistake for a SME firm. One should choose the platforms required based on one’s product category and the type of content they can generate to share a story about their brand. It is necessary to evaluate every platform on its merit. May be the best combination for an apparel brand would be Facebook + Pinterest, or for a B2B firm it could be LinkedIn + Blog and so on.
Myth: Even my kids are active on Facebook, why should I pay you?
Reality: Social media isn’t just about adding an image and writing a caption to it. The entire journey needs to be planned from beginning, platforms to be chosen carefully and content production needs to be planned before hand. It requires considerable time and effort to plan a successful campaign and it is of course not similar to what your kids do on Facebook!
If you have come across any other myths while working with SME brands, do add them in the comment section below in the interest of the readers.