In my experience working with SMEs, startups and scale ups in more than 10 sectors across 7 African countries, I have heard managers and business leaders express all sorts of reservations against digital marketing.
- a 2-time unicorn founder and a respected African VC saying digital media doesn’t move the needle
- early stage founder lamenting how they paid ‘one SEO guy’ who ended up spamming his website
- popular tech CEO cum social media influencer opine that growth marketers are good for nothing
- a Nigerian music guru, who has helped many African artists crossover global markets, swore that influencer marketing has zero impact on brands
In defense of the industry where I gather my daily 2k, I tag their claims unfounded allegations.. funny, but not funny.
Maybe you have had reasons to doubt the impact of digital marketing too, I’m writing this to sympathize with you, at the same time shift your mind.
Have you seen the social media trend called ‘I’m not the bride!’? For a refresher, it is a challenge whereby different people come forward to say ‘I’m not X, but I’m the Y to the X‘. Remember?
Now, this is a perfect analogy for the problem… Digital channels look and feel all the same, so people tend to replicate the same content, campaign and strategy on all of them.
Yes, it is a huge mistake to make, as a marketer, manager or founder. This mistake hits different in businesses where the major decision-makers do not have marketing background but have the final say on marketing activities.
Not throwing shades but such decision-makers often make marketers fetch water with big baskets. That’s a matter for another anyway… Back to today’s matter arising.
The snapshot of what I’m saying is that Facebook and Instagram are siblings but their destinies are different. The same way you would not expect identical twins to think, act and live their lives exactly the same way because they were born at the same time or even share an umbilical cord, you need to identify and play to the strengths of each platform.
Before I dive into the problem itself. What normally leads to ‘digital marketing doesn’t work’ scenario is majorly mis-alignment between the digital marketing channel of choice and the business objective at hand.
For instance, if you are a B2C brand who wants to find, engage and sell to new customers, Facebook is the ‘wrongest’ place to generate new qualified leads. Don’t be deceived by its cheaper cost of ads, and ease of attracting new followers, it was not primarily built for lead generation or conversion.
You will basically be feeding a dog with grass if you keep spending more money to achieve business objectives that a digital channel is not built for. You may sometimes be lucky, but the results will not be scalable. For real…
What makes people think Digital marketing, especially Social Media, does not work? … Let me use examples I shared with students in my recent Content Marketing course at Simon Page College of Marketing.
The Right Business Objective for Facebook
Discovering and stalking your old friends like monitoring spirits is Facebook’s original destiny in this life. Are we together?
Ever had a time that your ex partner, colleague, schoolmate or childhood friend came to your mind and you opened a Facebook app to check them out? Yeah, that is what makes Facebook golden. It also reminds you of the birthdays of people whom you can barely remember how, where, and the last time you met.
Getting Great Results from Facebook
Foster relationships, drive engagement with your existing and inactive customers. Although Facebook’s organic reach continues to reduce with new updates, it is still the most homely social media platform where you can engage people in a very personal way.
For instance, you find a very good client of yours on Facebook, check his/her old posts and find wedding anniversary pictures. How elated do you think the client would be if you send them surprise gifts to mark their wedding anniversary?
This is just one example of how you can grow engagement, retention and brand advocacy on Facebook, instead of burning your funds trying to collect new leads that are wrongly targeted.
Let me mildly burst your brain.
Facebook targets people using their social interests and general online behaviours. This means your ads will show to people based on posts they like, tantrums they throw, celebrities they follow, comedy skits they share with friends and the kind of topics that Facebook’s algorithm has been trained to believe they are passionate about.
You will hardly find updated information about their business, career, income range, financial goals or future plans which you can use to align their pain points with solutions you offer.
This is why an accounting firm would run Facebook lead generation ads hoping to collect contact details of SME owners and freelancers, only for one Mallam that makes barbecue in a 3-star hotel to pick the call when their sales guys call to follow up with the leads they collected.
If you think I’m capping, ask those who have burnt thousands of USD to gather totally irrelevant Facebook leads for further details.
The Right Business Objective for Instagram
Instagram was created to help people share the highlights of their lives with old and new friends. It is very great at helping people and businesses find new friends, products, hobbies, partners, recipes or places they could visit on their next hangouts or vacation.
It has a unique way of making users find, engage and invite their buddies to interact with a post – unlike Facebook and Twitter where people can simply copy and paste other people’s content which ends up littering everyone’s timelines with duplicates of the same post, and then waters down engagement.
Have you noticed a time where you discussed the next recipe you want to explore over a phone call or WhatsApp chat? Boom.. You open your Instagram app and different videos of this dish take turns to get your attention?
You view 2 of such videos, and for the next 24 hours different posts or ads by food vloggers and vendors who have posted the dish before want to suffocate you? You can clearly see that discovery and relevance are prominent in the way Instagram works, right?
Playing to Instagram’s Strengths
Brand awareness, lead generation and conversion ads work like magic on Instagram, especially for B2C businesses. Ever wondered why we have so many online vendors and SMEs with minimal marketing budgets and experience flourishing on Instagram?
It helps new customers easily find their businesses, DM or contact them via WhatsApp link in their bios to place orders. Because of how Instagram works, the number of clicks or interactions required to buy something you just found is fewer than most digital channels.
Apart from discovery, Instagram has interesting visual content formats that help any business or person to sell whatever they want, in as much as they can make great content or express themselves convincingly in any language their audiences understand.
Personally, most of the things I have bought online are from Instagram. It is either I visited a website and later encountered similar Instagram ads or the vendor has great customer service that makes the buying experience personal compared to websites where you may not get response for months or the delivery takes a decade for no tangible reason.
In summary my brethren, the journey from discovery to conversion is shorter, and more personal on Instagram than most websites, mobile apps and other social media platforms. These make it a popular social commerce platform.
The Right Business Objective for LinkedIn
For lack of a better phrase, let me tag LinkedIn as ‘Facebook for B2B businesses’. This nickname is because LinkedIn has evolved into a platform where professionals can let hair down, find and foster career or business relationships.
Organically, LinkedIn may not be a great place to sell a product or service, except you master LinkedIn ads and certain features that are not very common.
As someone that ‘blew on LinkedIn‘ in the early days, before Microsoft bought it, I have observed how LinkedIn has transitioned from a conservative platform for chasing gigs and contracts to Facebook with a professional touch.
My perspective of LinkedIn-worthy content shifted during an exclusive consultation call for LinkedIn premium users about 2 years ago during which the LinkedIn staff told me how much they value engagement as a platform.
In fact, LinkedIn has an ad performance metric that uses the level of engagement from your recent organic posts to calculate the bidding cost and reach of your ads. In other words, if your company page has very low engagement, LinkedIn will charge you higher fees to serve your ads than a competitor page with great engagement on their organic posts.
Making LinkedIn Work for Your Business
LinkedIn has probably the least number of daily active users compared to other digital platforms, but it is more targeted and generates more qualified leads for B2B businesses. It is one underrated platform that can deliver any business objective across your marketing funnel.
Awareness: create content to engage other professionals and businesses. Priortie how your content makes you likable such people and businesses want to engage with you both online and offline.
Consideration: create lead magnets (ebooks, webinars, events, etc) that you can promote with ads, influencers, employees or strategic partners. Use these magnets or offers to build credibility and followership. This has little or nothing to do with your comments and likes. It is about giving value in exchange for trust.
Conversion: use lead generation ads and tools like native lead form to collect leads. With LinkedIn ads, you will have access to the most relevant criteria (such as industry, previous work history, years of experience, company size, etc) to effectively pre-qualify the leads you get.
Retention: create or join LinkedIn groups which are public or close communities where you can get personal with your customers and many other people who share similar interests with them.
Have you had any ah-ah so far? I can assure you that how you leverage digital marketing to grow your business will change for the better if you deeply understand how each of the digital channels uniquely works.
Twitter, TikTok and Snapchat are in a totally new dimension. If you have just been posting and paying influencers to increase your reach, you have not struck the gold mine on these platforms yet.
I will share how you can get better results for your business with them, IF you really want to know. How many more platforms do you want to know about?
Content Krush is a data-driven digital marketing consulting firm in Nigeria with major strengths in Search Engine Optimization, Growth Marketing, B2B Lead Generation, Content Marketing, Website and Application Development.
We’ve helped clients in Outdoor Advertising, FMCG, Healthcare B2B SaaS, DNA Testing and Digital Insurance rank for 150+ Google first page keywords, some of which have achieved 80% increase in web traffic and leads in the past 1 year. Should we help improve your website’s visibility in organic search and generate qualified leads OR we should mind our business? Let’s talk now.