Updated: Sep 29
Through my stint in an ad agency and then with corporates as a consultant, I have often come across clients who expect social media management but are confused about how to go about it. While any new businessman or recruiting personnel in HR might not know too much about digital marketing as it is not their primary job, the noise of digital marketing courses and the misconceptions around the deliverables of a Social Media Manager or an Ad Agency has done a lot of harm.
What is taught in Digital Marketing Courses?
Most of the digital marketing courses are targeted at "Marketers" and NOT "Business Owners". They are designed like a "high-level talk" to tell people what is the latest trend on Social Media, the do's and don'ts etc.. They neglect the existence of the actual conversion rates and simply focus on increasing the engagement and the number of likes. The common pitch has always been "Get rich through digital marketing". But the reality is that a large number of likes or a massive number of Facebook Leads DO NOT actually turn into solid business.
We have discussed the organic ratios of conversion in our blog "How to use Organic Social Media to showcase the best of Your Brand" and advertisement conversion rates in our blog "Digital Ads- Are they effective? How to use them?". The international standards suggest that conversion rates of social media to websites have been between 2% to 15% for any industry and even these conversions are not confirmed sales but just the traffic directed to the website. Please click on the above links to read the research and facts if you are interested.
Then what is the reality?
The reality of any social media strategy lies in the process of defining the communication, creating content, publication, and advertising. When you as a business owner, want to build up your own social media presence, the first thing to keep in mind is that Social Media is not the base of Digital Marketing but a Website is. Social Media only acts as the voice of your brand. While a website acts as your online real-estate where you display all your products and services, company philosophy, and much more, Social Media accounts do the job of an exhibition of attracting people to your website. You could read more about "The actual flow of traffic in Digital Marketing" on our published blog series. As a business owner, you need to know the below-mentioned components while expecting a Social Media Management Service from someone.
What to expect?
Social media strategy (a media calendar):
A Media calendar is more like setting a pathway of what is to be done. This can be a simple excel file stating "What are we going to voice out in the coming month?". It includes:
Competition analysis of what others are saying on their channels for benchmarking
Defining our own goal of which service we would be talking about in the coming month.
The number of repetitions we want to have eg. 2 posts a week, daily posting, etc.
Which days we want to post on, depending on our target audience:
Hotels and restaurants might like to post on Thursdays and Fridays for the upcoming Weekend offers.
The FinTech sector might like to post on Sundays for the upcoming weekday.
The Agriculture sector might like to distribute evenly throughout the week for better assistance and handholding to the farmers.
Mr. Narendra Modi does "Mann Ki Baat" once a week
Script Writing / Copy Writing / Content writing:
When the pathway is decided by the strategist, it is passed on to the creative team to start giving our aspirations actual shape which could be processed further. A written document is created where the verbiage of our potential social media post is written.
An Ad Copy: It is a quirky small line that we see on the face of the photo. It is the one that catches the user's attention when they are rubbing their thumbs on social media while scrolling nonchalantly. Its purpose is to be bold and attractive to make that scrolling thumb stop.
A Script: It is long-form content written before making videos. It defines everything such as:
The set-up of the video
What is going to be said by the characters
Different cut scenes
Any voice-overs We all know how Movie Scripts work, don't we?
Content for Blog / SEO Article: When our product is complex, we would need to describe it further through either publishing a blog about it on our own website or publishing content on someone else's website and giving a link there, so interested people can come to our website (SEO). Content writing takes hours in researching what to write, structuring to have a better outcome, and then articulating in the best manner so that the masses of your target audience can understand what you have written. If it is not understood, then there is no point in writing any amount of content.
Creative Design or Video Shoot & Edit:
Creative design and video shoots involve the visual creativity of an individual. Designing a perfect creative is not an easy job. Have you tried making a PPT? Well, designing a creative is much more difficult than a PPT. A creative designer / animator / video editor needs to take a lot of things into consideration:
The brand standards of the company (Colour, font style, font size)
The right color pallet for overall color combination and easy readability
Hierarchy of the design
Experiment with Images, illustrations and designs so that there is a variety in the art
What you see and scroll in 2 seconds, actually takes hours of specialized effort to create. That is why creativity is expensive in nature, while often the customers begin their conversation with "we don't have the budget" but continue to keep on asking for multiple variants of the same creative.
Publication of the created content and distribution:
When the content is created, it goes for publication on any of the social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, and other industry-specific channels for distribution of the content to the masses. This communication on digital media is no different than printed pamphlets which are distributed among the audiences to increase awareness and invite them to our shop (website).
Manual circulation is when someone circulates themselves in different groups of Facebook, Whatsapp, Telegram etc.
Automated circulation happens through advertising which needs a monetary boost to push on the platform There are several free videos available on Youtube on how to set up ads on different platforms. One can simply refer to them when the whole process is in place
Deriving results of ads and Optimization for better performance:
When the ads are run on the specific target audience, they generate data on:
How many people saw the ad (Reach)
How many repetitions the ad made in total (Impressions)
How many people viewed the video (for different sets of time durations)
How many people clicked on the link
How many people filled the lead form
How many people purchased
...and more to count suiting the need of the company and the ad objective. While big campaigns with huge budgets generate Big Data that needs analysts to understand through SQL and Python, small ad campaigns can be deciphered manually through Google Analytics itself. As per personal experience, managing an annual budget of INR 1.5 Cr. for an agency client, I could support the fact that all results can be derived from Google Analytics itself. Languages like Python and SQL are used in mega projects of MNC's where the budget is tremendously huge. This would give the company learning of what is working and what more is needed to do better.
What are the components which make up pricing in Social Media Management?
Creative Designing / Video Shoot & Edit / Content or Copywriting: These three make up the most basic and the major chunk of the price component as these are time and labor-intensive activities. One needs a specialized skill set, purchased software licenses, and specialized hardware like a Camera, Mic., Lights, High configuration laptop, etc. to make these.
Market intelligence, social media strategy and management (Service Charges): This makes up the second base price component as someone is spending hours doing research and coming up with the best strategy customized for a brand. This also includes charges of publication, setting up, and managing ad accounts.
Advertising Expenditures: This component depends on the platforms selected and annual budgeted expenditures on ads that a brand wants to do. It can be as low as INR 1,000/- per day or several hundred thousand per day, depending upon the size of the campaign.
Do check out this video of an ad agency, showcasing the various departments which make up an ad campaign and how step by step, the campaign is carried out.👇🏽
The reality is that Digital Marketing is a complex function made up of small processes just like Business Operations, Sales, and HR are complex functions made up of small processes. If it were so easy as depicted in the 100/- Rupee courses, everyone would be doing it and there would be no joblessness or poverty.
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The Unfinished Business