The power of digital is impossible to dispute. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram have become natural extensions of human relationships. We rely on social to share resources that make our lives better, communicate in times of crisis, share resources, and engage in public discourse. Our social media identities are extensions of our own identities.
Despite the importance of social in our everyday lives, marketing teams often find themselves understaffed. Often, teams lump social into other functions. The idea is that writing tweets and status updates should be a natural extension of what we do as marketers. We’re writing ad copy and blog content anyway—what are a few more lines of copy?
It’s this perspective that causes companies, large and small, to miss out on powerful connection-building opportunities. And now, social media is becoming more complex with the proliferation of niche communities through platforms like Slack and Facebook groups. Where should marketers devote their time? How can content teams ensure that they’re reaching the right audiences in communities that are likely to be the most engaged?
This is a strategic question that requires creativity, analytics, and long-term planning—efforts that require forethought beyond writing copy. Here’s what happens to companies with centrally managed social operations:
- BT, one of the UK’s leading communications companies serving the broadband, phone, TV, and mobile needs of customers, was able to save more than $2M by routing 600,000 contacts per year through social media rather than call centers. You can read the detailed case study here.
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has built a last-click attribution model that tracked close to $30M in sales. Read this post for a look into how the company’s social strategy is evolving.
Elements of an Effective Social Strategy
Here are the components that teams must consider when building a similarly robust social program.
46% of B2B marketers say they’re not sure whether any social channels have generated business revenue, according to research from Econsultancy. But there’s a remedy to that gap. Social media teams need empowerment with technology, tools, and resources to set key performance indicators (KPIs) and then design campaigns to meet those goals.
Reverse-engineer your KPIs from your business goals, and then build your social programs around the milestones that you would like to achieve. This governance framework will facilitate alignment between campaigns and long-term business outcomes. This comprehensive guide to measuring social media ROI can help you determine the first steps to take.
People like interesting, cool marketing. We also have short attention spans and cross paths with more content than we have time in the day to read.
Research from Twitter has found, in fact, that tweets under a hundred characters perform better than longer ones. The social media leader encourages marketers to use a blend of video and stunning graphic design to communicate a full idea.
You can read more about techniques for writing short, compelling tweet copy here.
Social media ecosystems are becoming more vast, with people creating their own Facebook groups and digital communities. Marketers need to identify the channels where they can contribute organically to the conversations that target audiences are already having. LinkedIn groups, Twitter hashtags, Facebook groups, and independent Slack communities are all options.
Spread your efforts too thin, however, and you won’t reach anyone. When selecting channels, the need for precision—to be selective—is essential.
Technology and Tools
A strong social media strategy isn’t enough to prove its value. Like any marketing strategy, marketers need to take advantage of the tools that are available. Every social team needs a management and social listening tool to start.
Conversions, link clicks, @mentions, and impressions are valuable to learning your audience and adjusting your quarterly social plan. Working in one space that captures engagement metrics and leads helps a team work smarter, not harder.
How are your social programs relating back to your business’s core value proposition? Social media teams need their own organizational platforms to communicate with C-suite stakeholders who may not understand the nuances of social media ecosystems in the same way that on-the-ground marketers do.
A centrally maintained governance program, tied to business intelligence, will help ensure that social media and long-term organizational goals stay aligned.
Social media needs brainpower beyond a single person. The function requires a completely different skillset than other marketing disciplines. The ability to write in short-form, communicate complex ideas succinctly, and build a sustainable channel marketing strategy requires analytics and tools beyond basic Google docs. Don’t bother pursuing a half-hearted social strategy.
If you want people to listen, go all-in. Invest in your people. Invest in your audience.