This is a term that has been formulating for a number of years now but the recent changes to all mainstream social media algorithms means that companies finally have to sit up and get truly social – or pay the price.
Real marketers who know their customer base are welcoming this evolution. They have built up clear communities and know the channels where their customers hang out. Can you say this about your business? Do you just post content and cross your fingers, or do you schedule insightful stories, adapted for each individual platform at times of day when you know your customer interaction will be the highest.
How do you get all of this information I hear you cry? Social media analytics software has been around for a while and is becoming more sophisticated each year; but a survey by Adobes CMO reports that only 15% of companies have proven the impact of their social media strategies quantitatively. Often marketing managers will credit their social media strategy as adding soft ROI but this is unacceptable, all marketing efforts should be quantifiable.
Established social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all have native analytics functions built in which are incredibly detailed but can be difficult to compile if you are managing multiple accounts. Software such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Buffer are the most acclaimed analytics softwares out there depending on your requirements and budget. For companies and agencies with big budgets there are also the more costly options of Social Bakers and Simply Measured. As a relatively new platform, Instagram does not have native analytics and the aforementioned social media analytics platforms do not serve it very well. This is developing however with sites such as Hootsuite recently adding an Instagram plugin. We use Iconosquare but you can also look to CrowdFire and Social Insight for varying capabilities. All said, marketers today have no excuse not to know the exact analytics of their social media accounts and how to leverage them profitably.
So what social strategies can companies adapt? Social media examiner has asked the founder of Social Tools Summit, Neal Schaffer and he suggests four key areas.
- Influencer Marketing
Brands need to recognize their distinct communities and top influencers within these communities. Rather than creating campaigns around marketing initiatives, they need to tailor them to the long-term relationships with influencers.
- Employee Advocacy
The marketing department is notoriously separated from the rest of most corporate companies and the poor social media person is often the only person that has any idea of the company’s social media strategy. This has to change. Companies need to recognize their employees as one of their greatest strengths with have immense reach capabilities as advocates. Get teams involved and build campaigns around them!
- Social Selling
Sadly although marketing and marketing theory has been around for so many years now, there are still marketers that will tell you that everyone is their customer. There is no company that caters to everyone. The sooner companies realize this and narrow down their ideal customer, the sooner they will become relevant and influential. Social selling ensures that all content is tailored with the customer in mind.
- Content Marketing
The core of social media should be customer engagement and conversations. Just like your mom and pop stores have been doing for generations. Large corporations become lazy and feel that because they do not see their customers on a daily basis that they should not know who they are, their names, their birthdays or even their favorite drink at Starbucks! Insights on this scale are crucial for brands to succeed in social in the future.
Digital platforms and social media is an incredibly exciting frontier. Marketers have to run fast to keep up with developments but clever managers should see the immense opportunity and value to be gained! Watch this space as we trial the latest software for you and distill the knowledge. Happy social!