Being In-Touch with Your Audience – and the Times

This is by far the most common mistake that even the biggest brands in the world have made, offending your audience or making a light-hearted joke about whichever world-wide news event making headlines can seriously backfire and damage both your brand image as well as audience engagement and has even resulted in boycotts in some scenarios. On a smaller scale, changing brand image, values, products/services or the wrong advertising campaign can all result in being out of touch with audiences and has led to many businesses going backwards in the past, so how do you avoid these issues?

Besides the obvious commenting on sensitive events and disasters that occur, it depends on the industry you’re in and why your audience likes you as a brand. For example, Dove has in the past relied on ‘real beauty’ and associated itself with the goal of positive body image; their whole brand aims to debunk the idea that beauty is unattainable or something to always strive towards. Despite this, in 2013 they faced heavy criticism for lack of diversity, only showing Caucasian models that were thin and young, and three out of the four main participants were blonde with blue eyes. It’s hard to talk about positive body image and beauty that doesn’t discriminate when the advertising campaign doesn’t really align with the reasons their customers love their brand.

The branding objectives and identity of the business should be forefront in the mind of whoever is executing any marketing campaigns for a business, and the question should constantly be asked; does this achieve what I want it to achieve in the eyes of the beholder. Oh, and maybe try not to weigh-in on controversial topics without a solid reason.

Ignoring, intentionally or unintentionally, your audience

This can be one that can do some serious damage to companies’ reputation. No matter who you are, you like to have your questions answered, and if you are asking a company about a specific service or product, you want that question answered in a timely manner.

Now it is easy to answer a question about your services because let’s face it, there is a good chance this might turn into a sale or positive review. But responding to a complaint can become a nerve-racking task, as you don’t want to agitate the complainant even further.

One of biggest mistakes companies’ make is either ignoring or deleting a negative comment, but this can look like you are trying to hide something. Now you don’t want to get into a mud-slinging match with online trolls, but if someone has a legitimate issue, it is good practice to respond that person in a positive and timely manner. If you understand the persons complaint and talk to them like a human being, there is a good chance you could turn a negative comment into a positive review.

Structured ads

Facebook and Instagram have one of the best ad-targeting systems out there (if you’re an advertiser) and not many businesses are utilising it to maximise its full potential benefits. Social media marketing allows businesses to have the freedom and control over who sees their ads in the first place – there is absolutely no benefit to try and sell landscaping services to someone who lives in a city apartment.

Through social media advertising business have control over the location, times and devices in which their ads show, as well as specific target audience attributes such as age, gender, household income, occupation, education, frequent locations, interests and behaviour/interactions. It is absolutely crazy how specific you can be when setting your advertising attributes; but it goes further. Through various different advertising objectives, the ad will learn and optimise itself differently to provide the best result as according to your campaign objective.

The real value that Facebook and Instagram advertising offers is the seamless utilisation of the sales funnel (explained here if you’re unfamiliar with the sales funnel)  and the ability to track and then target again those who have had specific interactions with your brand. This might be the difference between a sale and not in many cases, a good example of this is showing already interested audience’s previous customer reviews that show their experience with you is an excellent one; because showing this to a cold customer doesn’t have nearly enough value.

Now, we didn’t say it was an easy tool to learn, it’s quite difficult to master – Facebook even has its own school dedicated to learning their advertising systems and methods. Which is why many successful businesses out there use digital marketing agencies (such as us) to do all the dirty work for them while maintaining control over the content, creative and brand image they want to display. However, not fully utilising this fantastic method of marketing can put business behind their competition and has in the past, slowly eating away at their growth until they’re in decline with no obvious clue why.