Wow, now that was a quick year. At this stage, you are probably back at the desk and, hopefully, still on track with your New Year resolutions. If you’re a marketer, you’re more than likely in the process of fine-tuning your marketing strategies for success in 2018. I have no doubt that such a process includes a social media marketing (SMM) strategy.
“Using social media? Sure, that’s old hat at this stage. Everybody knows what to do”. Have you heard this sentiment recently? I have.
So rather than a ‘how to use social media’ blog post, I thought it’d be worthwhile to use this post to a) see if organisations were keeping abreast of digital developments last year, b) if we are really ready to use social media marketing in a smarter way this year and c) suggest what our online behaviour should be like if we want our social media marketing to be successful.
But before we go there I would just like to revisit the perennial question – “What is the ROI of social media marketing?”
What is the ROI of social media marketing – is this the only measure of success? #oconnorandkellyClick to tweet
In your organisation, you and/or those with a financial background might constantly look to match a direct outgoing cost with a direct incoming profit. In business generally, this is a reasonable quest. However, when it comes to social media marketing a defined return isn’t always obvious and therefore, it can be hard to argue the case for using social media as a marketing tool.
I believe that this is missing the point of SMM. So when questioned by some of our clients embarking on a fresh online journey, my response is to say that the use of social media can generate multiple returns, some of which may well be sales. I have to emphasise that the return may not be linear, and is usually indirect.
The Indirect Return on Social Media Marketing
Yes, there are ways of directly measuring some social media marketing. For example, by using a platform to drive people to a landing page (or specific website page) that has a special offer, you can count the conversions. To me, pay-per-click (PPC) marketing like Google Adwords can accomplish this without much fuss. This method is fine – until you stop paying for the ads, then the traffic dries up and you’re back to where you started from.
The point I want to make here is that with SMM you are building, and engaging with, a community of people that want to hear from you – I mean, they either, followed you, liked you, linked-up with you or choose to follow your Pins for a reason. They usually don’t disappear if you don’t post every day.
So, to finish this point I would like to mention three definite areas where I believe that social media marketing provides an indirect benefit.
- It facilitates engagement with your brand on multiple platforms and channels – as determined by customers.
- The cost of branding to specific audiences is reduced (as opposed to traditional marketing methods).
- It provides the same potential return that offline networking does – in other words, you get back what you put into it.
6 Ways that Social Media Marketing Developed in 2017
So, you think you were totally on top of your social media efforts last year? Let’s have a look at some of the developments that occurred and you can judge yourself if you were on trend.
- Interactive video (e.g. Periscope, Facebook Live) became a thing. Live video content is still on the rise and will be one to watch this year also. You can now use mainstream channels such as, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to bring your audience what they want to see. Watch this space for growing customer service uses as well.
- Messaging Apps have (almost) taken over from text messaging. Think how this is going to change the face of customer service. Companies will be able to solve customer problems in real time and bring social networking to a different level altogether.
- The major platforms started to allow for e-commerce to flourish. Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook offered ways to purchase products directly from their apps.
- Virtual reality (think 360-degree videos) was expected to stick its hand up, promising great opportunities for us marketers. However, by the year-end it looked like augmented reality (AR) is becoming the first port-of-call for brands. Of course, AI (bots) also started to become mainstream, but that is a separate topic to be covered here at a later date, perhaps.
- Instagram was the first to copy Snapchat’s ephemeral (disappearing) content. Personally, I don’t ‘get’ the purpose of it except that it can possibly portray an unscripted or more human side to your brand. Of course, depending on your audience, this may be exactly what’s required.
- For sure, mobile advertising grew more competitive. Spend on all the major channels grew last year and the easier they make it – the more marketers will employ it as a sales technique. I suppose our advice for 2018 would be to experiment on the different platforms to see what works best for your audience.
If all of the above frightens you a little – don’t worry. Aidan and I, (O’C&K) are managing social media campaigns for our clients on a continuous basis. We are here to help you as a smarter marketing resource or as once off project managers. Contact us for a chat.
Behaviour is Important in Social Media Marketing.
The one thing that we (brands, company owners, marketers etc.) should have learnt, over the last say 8 years, is how we should act on social media. People expect us to act in a certain way and if we don’t, our brands may suffer.
The irony here is that as we all get our heads around social media marketing, it is also harder to rise above the noise. Determining what your customers want from you is a great way to gather positive attention and strengthen your brand.
Here are our 4 pillars to base your social media marketing on in 2018:
- Be Active on Social Media. Nowadays people of all ages expect you to be on social media e.g. Facebook. They might not check out your website, but they will search for you on Facebook or LinkedIn. Companies that ignore this point are missing out on an opportunity to engage new (and existing) customers. In addition, by sharing your content they also become influencers within their own communities.
- Be Honest on Social Media. In the recent years of political uncertainty and economic upheaval, your customers want (expect) an honest relationship with brands they prefer. So, in an environment of ‘fake news’ and political falsifications – you can safely assume that at some stage wrongdoings are going to be aired on social media. Honesty is no longer an option – it is a necessity.
- Be Flattered on Social Media. Focus on making a personalised connection. Let’s be honest – none of us wants to be sold to, on social media. If people think that your brand is on social media purely for sales, I can guarantee that your social media marketing (sic) will not succeed. Be flattered that they want to engage with you and treat them as people and not pay packets.
- Be Supportive on Social Media. Usually, people, outside of personal connections, want to ask questions, join conversations, be entertained or find out about timely events. So – make sure that your activity on social media is seen as being supportive. Respond in good time, be relevant and be consistent.
If your social media marketing is to succeed, the secret is to bear in mind why people (your customers) are on social media in the first place. Your organisation should use it in the same way as they want to use it.
The thing to remember is that social media is ultimately a place where people go to make a connection. A brand being active and supportive builds trust and thereby an emotional link. One sure thing that will break that link is where the finance people look for a 1:1 return and the relationship is measured purely in financial terms. So if your organisation is going to undertake social media marketing, it is important that it is done right. Of course, be professional but also be human.
N.B. April 2018: Don’t just take our word for it. We came across an excellent social media marketing movie wherein, with a goal of helping businesses understand the power of social media marketing, a digital marketing expert spends 24 hours interviewing renowned influencers in the industry.
Have a look at it here:
“Thank you for reading our blog post today, we hope our pointers will help your business grow.
Cheers – Aidan & Jim.
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