Social Media: You Can't Control The Conversation... But You Sure Can't Afford To Be Missing From It!
Social Media Marketing is often maligned - especially in B2B businesses - as a waste of time. Yes, it can be a waste of time: there are lots of examples of that. But when it's done right you can tap into HUGE marketing power and business growth... traffic and customers that are there for the taking once you know how.
Social Media Management
With Enlightenment Media as your social media marketing partner in Melbourne FL, you'll gain the altitude and insights into what social can do for your business and how to put in place consistently successful social marketing practices.
Call Enlightenment today to get immediate free advice about your social media, and new ideas about how to integrate social media marketing effectively with the bigger picture of your brand message.
Facebook is just 10 years old. Viewed as an imaginary country, Facebook's population will be bigger than China within three years.
Source: Washington Post
Social Media: More Than Any Other Area Of Marketing, It's Misunderstood, Under-Exploited, And In Need Of Clear Strategy
Social Media have become a whole additional part of the online experience: in other words, it's not just websites and email where your brand and marketing message have to be present... you need to be where your audience are, and that's on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+. If your customers aren't English speakers you'll have to track them down in other social networks such as China's Sina Weibo and Renren, and Russia's VK.
Think about what people are doing on Facebook today. They're keeping up with their friends and family, but they're also building an image and identity for themselves, which in a sense is their brand. They're connecting with the audience that they want to connect to. It's almost a disadvantage if you're not on it now.
Clearly you are at a "disadvantage" if your business is not performing well in social media marketing...
But what is "Social Media Marketing"? It's not one specific thing... not a one-size-fits-all set of instructions... nor even any prescribed list of tactics. This is because there is such a wide range of possible marketing activities within each of the networks or a combination of social media. Each business should formulate a strategy that is most likely to be effective for the business model and customers.
While this means social media marketing is not a straightforward plug-and-play way to double your business, the rewards are great for brands which can discover a winning combination far ahead of market competitors.
At Enlightenment Media we devote time to examining the opportunities with you and formulating a strategy that matches your brand aims, is reasonable within a balanced allocation of resources, and integrates well with your other marketing activities. There's little point devoting any energies to social media until you are clear about what the strategic aims and measurable results are supposed to be.
Integrating Social Media With The Bigger Picture
If there's any one factor that determines the effectiveness of companies' social media marketing, it's how well it is integrated with the rest of their online activities and brand message.
When we encounter businesses which have not succeeded in joining up their social media with their content marketing, SEO, customer support, product development, and so on...and are not connecting their marketing people behind the scenes... it is extremely hard to apply the right kind of behavior that social media needs in order to succeed.
On the other hand, when we work with clients who understand that social media are just that - additionalmedia - in which to extend their multi-dimensional communication with customers... then there is no difficulty in creating a consistent message for the whole brand... and in developing the deeper value of social media in listening to and learning from your customers.
Commercial Clicks Right Now... Or Long Term Branding?
One way to look at social media marketing strategy is to consider a spectrum, at one end directly commercial and aiming for immediate customer action, and at the other end a much more indirect long-term brand-building exercise.
Some social media tactics, in particular the PPC-style advertising options, can produce direct commercial traffic to your site. But even here you have to consider that people are generally not on social media intentionally to shop or make business purchase decisions.
If you approach social media purely as a source of clicks and conversions to your sales pages, you are likely to be disappointed with the response and you will be missing the vast majority of what these channels can do for you.
At best, people are on social media for personal or community communications, and to pick up useful and informative information. At worst, people are on social media to be entertained, to relax, to avoid anything that looks like work or brain-stretching content or decision-making.
In social media, to some extent you are always interrupting people out of an informational or entertainment mode and trying to convert them into taking more commercial action. This is why blatant advertising and sales messages meet with a poor response.
It often works best to develop middle-ground "micro conversion" actions for people to take that are not actual purchases and don't involve major commitments of time or concentration. Such actions might focus more on acquiring more qualified leads in exchange for providing valuable gated content, or finding ways to get people actively involved in discussions, surveys, etc that move them cognitively closer to looking at your brand and products/services favorably. You can see why the buzzword "engagement" crops up whenever setting out aims for social media.
Advertising works most effectively when it's in line with what people are already trying to do. And people are trying to communicate in a certain way on Facebook - they share information with their friends, they learn about what their friends are doing - so there's really a whole new opportunity for a new type of advertising model within that.
As mentioned above, you can also consider the other end of the spectrum in which you don't expect your social media audience/followers to take any direct action right now.
Your aims can be much more long term and generalized such as building identity and recognition for your brand... associating positive qualities and trust with your brand/products/services... and bringing together like-minded people in a virtual tribe.
Building a tribe or online community can have outstanding value when you consider the opportunity to learn from experts and on-the-ground knowledge among your prospects and customers, either on a general market research level or in terms of specific feedback about your products/services.
Imagine: if you start to develop product/service features and marketing based on constant feedback and dialogue from your active customers and prospects, clearly this can put you far ahead of competitors who are simply guessing what the market might want. The more you consider the possibilities here, the more you can see you don't necessarily have to take the most commercial / click-through / ROI mentality about everything you develop in social media.
During 2014, videos became highly important on Facebook. In fact, by the end of 2014, Facebook replaced YouTube as the main place for web users to post videos.
Facebook has recognized the prevalence of video on the site and, as a result it has introduced new features to support videos. The site now allows you to display video views in your timeline, as well as offering an auto-play feature.
This trend for videos on social media is expected to continue in 2015. Marketers will have to keep up with users' expectations of video content in communications from brands.
Businesses which have adapted their marketing to reach their audience in social media are reaping the benefits, both in short term traffic and long term brand value.
Brands which are competent in social media also find it easier to react quickly to trends and news. "Real time marketing" is not an empty phrase. Because of staffing, mainly larger businesses are active in real time social media marketing. But from 2015 onwards, it is expected that smaller businesses will have keep up with this trend. After all, your customers are on Facebook, Twitter, and others at all hours and it will seem increasingly odd to you if you are "switched off" at any time. Being more active here is a fantastic way for a smaller businesses to distance themselves from competitors.
Facebook: Cats, Babies, Farmville... and advanced marketing software!
Did you know?
- EdgeRank is the measure of how your posts are going to get ranked in users' timelines, and thus how many views and clicks you get. Various analytics tools help you track EdgeRank proactively.
- If your Facebook audience contains a mixture of different people with different interests, you can promote certain content within this group using Interest Targeting.
- In Facebook Insights you can track which pages of your site(s) have been shared by other people and pages on Facebook besides your own.
- When you target Facebook ads you can perform a type of remarketing by showing ads to people who have previously visited your website.
Working with your marketing team, or entirely serving this part of your strategy, Enlightenment Media will demystify the tracking and analytics behind social media, and take care of the technical side so you can focus on your customers and your creativity.
A Clearly Defined Social Media Strategy: It's A Conversation, Not A Broadcast
When you have a clear strategy for social media you will find that your followers and fans provide a never-ending source of valuable ideas for your business, as well as being the most relevant audience to listen to when launching and promoting products/services.
Here are some ideas for getting your social media audience to feed back ideas to you. How many could you implement immediately?
- Ask people for best/worst stories about experiences related to your field
- Hold a regular Q&A (recorded video or podcast) interview with an expert (could be from your team) and call for questions in advance
- Host a live Q&A for people to jump in and share opinions
- Call for help contributing ideas for a list or other resource you are compiling
- Ask customers to vote on a choice of possible special offers
- Ask people to vote on who should win a prize or receive a donation from your company
- Hold a suggestion or design or mockup or setup competition for users to send in their creative ideas for a prize
- Organize a customer/fan event for fun or training and invite discussion and coordination of the arrangement in social media
- Offer 'bounties' for good suggestions about improvements to your products, service, or process
We've rarely come across a business which lacks great ideas for social media, once the creativity is allowed to flow. At Enlightenment Media we'll make sure the implementation is efficient and saves you from technical details that might slow you down.
53% of companies plan to spend more in 2015 on social media content development... more than say they plan to grow SEO...Oursocialtimes.com
Facebook: 3 Challenge Areas
Facebook marketing is incredibly valuable to businesses, but it's not without its challenges:
1 - Creating and Sharing the Wrong Type of Content
One of the main challenges for businesses is simply creating the right types of Facebook posts. Many businesses struggle to find the balance between posts that are too sales-orientated and posts that are too unfocused. Some businesses make the mistake of posting advertisements and viewing Facebook as nothing more than commercial broadcast engine. But consumers don't like pages that are simplistically advertising and seem to offer nothing of value.
2 - Offering Nothing Valuable Or Shareable
A challenge for businesses of all sizes is creating and sharing content that is truly relevant and valuable to their potential customers. Many businesses fail to create and share interesting content, so their Facebook marketing campaign is ineffective. Also, their content isn’t special enough for others to share it. Content that falls short of the shareable standard may be a waste of resources to produce. Some businesses take the approach of spending five days producing one excellent piece of content, instead of 5x daily poor quality pieces.
3 - Measuring Success
Many businesses find tracking the success of their Facebook marketing campaign challenging. This is because they simply don't know what they should be measuring. In fact, there are many things that can be measured in Facebook marketing, but before getting immersed in statistics and charts, it's about asking the right questions.
Social Media: Where To Begin
Prioritization is highly important in social media marketing work, where the range of creative possibilities is enormous, and you are considering tactics with a mixture of short and longer term value.
Here are some of the things we would like to discuss with you:
- How significant are your social media channels already in terms of bringing in traffic and new business?
- Are you suffering from competitors having a better presence in social media?
- What processes or skills in your team seem to be lacking to implement creative ideas in social media?
- What are the ways you offer value to prospective customers early in their purchase journey or between purchases?
- Who in the company believes in social media, and who doesn't? What are the reasons and what are the criteria being mentioned?
It is often easier to revitalize your social media and get more active in communications with your customers this way, than to work on complex and detailed improvements to your main website. We're pragmatic about getting marketing activities started up that bring fast results, so we'll definitely be talking with you about a list of immediate behaviors to start up in social media while we continue building content marketing plans with you in the background.
Very often the easiest way for business management to appreciate the value of social media marketing is to explain in detail why it is unimportant. Challenge the assumptions and seek facts. Digging into the possible misconceptions about social media is great fun, and everyone benefits from a change of mindset that says "let's stop guessing... let's test it"!
Complex/Niche business? We are always happy to look at unusual or highly specialised businesses tackling social media... In fact, our favorite are companies which start out strongly believing social media are irrelevant, only to look in delight after a few weeks at the metrics of a completely new traffic source nobody believed was there. Contact Enlightenment Media today and tell us social media marketing isn't that important to your business, we dare you!