Social media marketing often gets media attention and viral activity when big brands create a big budget video designed to attract attention and be shared. Consumers often connect with humor or emotion contained within such videos, share them and the next thing you see is the media and news sites writing about how awesome or effective the campaign was and what you need to learn from the situation for your brand. Sound familiar?
Big brands are also singled out when they commit an epic fail within social media marketing. Writers and the media love to jump on the bandwagon for these situations and turn another company’s misfortune into traffic, viewers and subscribers.
In both cases, there are often few connections between these fortune 500 companies and your business or personal brand. Nothing they do within social media can seriously be translated over to what YOU should be doing. In fact, it is my belief that most major brands are largely clueless about social media marketing, engagement, relationships, selfless value and their audience. And you know what? They don’t have to.
Large brands have spent millions and probably more like billions on branding, major media advertising and exposure over the last 15 years prior to the heydays of social media. Their purpose and focus for being in the social graph is more liken to being forced into it or solely to further their other advertising efforts, rather than a corporate culture shift that compels them.
Let’s be very clear here. I am not speaking about EVERY major brand out there, but certainly MOST. Don’t believe me? Just mention your favorite major brand on Twitter, or comment on a post on their Facebook fanpage and prepare for the ignored silence you will receive. For most it is about branding and additional impressions, not relationships, conversations and connecting with their audience.
Having said this, there are several distinct advantages that small and medium-sized business (SMB) marketers and brands have over large behemoth corporations that you may not consider. Understanding these advantages and leveraging them within your social media management is paramount to winning in your space. Let’s outline a few of these advantages.
4 Significant Advantages You Have Over Big Brand Social Media
Decision Making – One massive advantage you have as an SMB is a lake of corporate bureaucracy. You have the freedom to make decisions and execute on them without committees, corporate politics and meetings. You can perceive needs, identify opportunities and respond to them as you see fit.
Nimble – In business there is something to be said about having speed. Speed to market and the ability to shift, change and pivot are distinct advantages online. Having the freedom to make decisions and the ability to quickly act upon those decisions is incredibly valuable to a social business. Market changes, trends and the latest news provide opportunities to the nimble brand within social media. Your ability to act upon these information pipes faster than the larger brands should be an important part of your social media strategy.
Relevant Value – As we defined above, large brands often make their social media marketing an extension of their media advertising and branding efforts. YOU have the ability to transcend branding and elevate your efforts to the human level. You are able to share relevant, selfless content with your audience that big brands don’t. You’re able to comment on your target audiences posts and open communication channels that build real and lasting relationships.
Understanding this point and executing it properly, provides your SMB with numerous opportunities to out maneuver big brands and gain traction far more rapidly than they ever could.
Mistakes – Finally, you can make mistakes with your social media marketing efforts with far less impact to your brand. You’re not a massive publicly traded company with executives that are far more afraid of what could go wrong within social media, than how to make it effective. You can make mistakes, own them, apologise and move forward without a massive media or social graph backlash that requires thousands of dollars, public relations repairs and time to heal from the impact. You can press your social efforts ahead without fear of making a brand-killing mistake. Talk about freedom!!!
As you finish reading this blog post and go back to your day, I would like to challenge you to consider these advantages. Ask yourself if you are actually leveraging them in your favor. At the end of the day, you have many opportunities to be more effective than these big brands. Maybe not in raw numbers, but certainly with more speed and as a percentage.
Stop trying to emulate what big brands do in social media and instead focus on being human, engaging and with selfless value. At the end of the day THIS is where you can outperform your biggest competitors.