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Social Media, What Matters Most for Marketers

Social Media, What Matters Most for Marketers iMedia Editors
Article Highlights

  • Industry insights

  • Social Media Marketing (SMM) Challenges

  • Dialogue, rather than monologue

  • As marketer, how well do you listen?

  • Realize the true value of SMM by using the right social media technology

  • Creating brand advocates through unique user experience

  • Using Social CRM to establish a long-lasting social bond

  • Value exchange: Sharing valid content not just sales messages

  • Stay actively involve or stay away

  • Think smart and act cautiously

  • Manage all you social campaigns from one system in real time using advanced social technologies


Industry Analysis
With visits from three quarters of global online consumers that use the internet, and accounting for 22% of all time spent online, social media usage has enormously grown in the last 5 years. Ad spend on social marketing is forecasted to reach $6 billion this year, and Facebook alone is expected to cash in $4 billion from the total amount, according to recent forecast by eMarketer.

The likes of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter grew unimaginably. Furthermore, number of registered Facebook users have now exceeded half a billion, and growing.

What does this mean for marketers?

It means, your social media strategy should contain a lot more than being present in a SocNet sites. It’s about effective communication, cautiously creating awareness and long-lasting bond that should be propelled by effective interaction and the continuous provision of relevant content. As a marketer, you can possibly get all the apps out there at your disposal and a presence in a variety of SocNets, but the numbers don’t matter, because they won’t just add up on the bottom line. It’s about how effectively you share the right piece of information about your brand at the right time, right place and to the right audience using the right social media technologies to analyze, measure, and determine the ROI of your overall Social media strategy.

Remember, an interaction should be reciprocal, rather than an overload of information about your brand to your fans and users. Brands should be focused on creating a valid and sustainable relationship with their fans.

How ready are marketers?

Challenges for the industry
Companies are quick to start social media marketing without the necessary planning and proper integrated marketing strategy in place.

Do you know where your customers/potential customers hangout online? Do you speak the language they understand? Have you planned well? Are your goals clear enough? Can your success be measured? If your answers to these questions are yes, then you are on your way to the new world of social marketing where customers matters the most as their experience with your brand may serve as a steppingstone to positively add up to your bottom line or become disastrous for your brand.

A successful social media strategy begins with a good preparation. Avoid pitfalls encountered by many brands that failed to internally communicate the essence and goals of their online media strategy with their employees before going online. Companies’ employees using social media have a significant role to play in enhancing the performance of a social media strategy.

Twitter and other SocNets are drastically changing the way information is distributed online. This trend in digital information sharing is still a huge challenge for many companies.

Stay actively involved or stay away

Even though it’s voluntary, many companies are forced by related trends to partake in social marketing with the sole motive of succeeding. However, what it takes to succeed in social marketing is still beyond the knowledge of many marketers who still consider the “numbers of fans and followers” as the key determinant. Halfway or inconsistence participation is a complete waste of time. It can even be counteractive to your marketing goals to some extent. In today’s marketing world, a successful social media strategy depends on “whether you are In or Out” A middle position is a dangerous territory, especially for brands whose industry is increasingly becoming more social. Brands with profile pages, and presence in large number of social media networks that fail to consistently engage fans with fresh and unique content on regular basis, respond to feedback, etc, are going against the house rules of social media marketing (SMM). This can be disastrous for their brand.

By integrating all marketing efforts together, marketers can provide consumers with multiple ways to engage with their brand.

How can Marketers Foster engagement to improve long-term returns on SMM
In an effective social marketing environment, marketers shouldn’t be doing the talking. Your main concern should be the provision of interesting and fresh content that is capable of attracting attention, and boosting engagement that will lead to further online dialogue among users. Play by the rules and give them something to talk about. Many users actively seek interesting content or topics to talk about whenever they are online.

Even though companies can’t control what is said in SocNets about their brands, however, they can positively influence and stir the direction of opinions through the creation of brand advocates. This can be derived by a valuable exchange process in which users are provided with a unique experience about a brand or company.

What do you tweet about?

Marketers should refrain from sounding too sales focus with their messages. Engagement shouldn’t be directly related to short term goals. Providing users with exclusive content that may form the basis for the establishment of a long lasting relationship and the creation of potential brand advocates should be the core aspect of a SMM communication. On facebook, for instance, companies ask consumers to like their brands. Some companies go further by providing exclusive access to users through online games, music, interesting videos, virtual goods, Farmville, and Causes, etc. All these are effective rewards and SMM initiatives that can produce relevant brand engagement. Users can eventually tweet their experience about your brand to the world. This is an example of how brand evangelists are created.

Conclusion
SMM requires a consistent creation of unique content that can engage and spawn meaningful advocacy across a variety of online networks for a marketer’s brand. With the help of an expert, social initiatives can be integrated into the entire marketing strategy, making it an important contributor to the marketing mix of a ROI driven marketer. Companies that are actively involved tend to be in the forefront. They anticipate changes and continuously seek new opportunities. Marketers will need to play the game rather than sitting back and relax feeling comfortable about the numbers of “facebook likes”  and fan based they have developed on their social profile pages.

Furthermore, using Social Media Content Management, Social Campaign, Social CRM, and Analytics technologies, marketers can now measure, analyze and determine the true value of their returns in SMM in real time.

At the end, what matters the most is how your SMM initiatives directly or indirectly generate valuable traffic to your website/blog and how these visitors convert on your pages.

What to avoid?

Avoid “Copycat marketing”. What works well for company A may prove to be disastrous for company B.  Try to be more creative with your content and message as risks of failure from copying your rival’s social media strategy are high. The message and strategy of your competitors SMM strategy may be beyond the borders of what your brand is, and can actually deliver. Focus more on differentiation as it enhances your brand retention.

iMedia Communications, Inc. is a trade publisher and event producer serving interactive media and marketing industries. The company was founded in September of 2001 and is a subsidiary of Comexposium USA.  ...

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