In the last 8 to 10 years Social Media Marketing has grown and matured. It use to be marketers were beholden to the number of followers or retweets they received as a point of measurable analytics. That’s no longer the case. Social Media Marketing efforts, as I’ve stated for years, need deeper accountability. Engagement and conversion are the keys to accountability when it comes to any social media marketing strategy, however, how engagement and conversion are measured varies widely, not just from company to company, but from industry to industry as well as type of customer served.
This week the AMA sponsored a great webinar put on by Net Base that discussed 5 trends social media marketers should be paying attention to that go way beyond the basic “views”, “likes”, and “retweets”. This is where the measurement and accountability gets real when it comes to brand engagement and customer loyalty and conversions.
Visual or Image Listening
First on the list is likely the hardest to accomplish because it’s the toughest to contextualize. Thankfully with the progress in technological tools allotted to social media marketers, this type of listening has gotten a big easier. So what do I mean by “Visual Listening”? It means paying attention to your brand, products, services in images and how they are being utilized, portrayed and engaged with. It’s tough with tools that only look for hashtags, keywords and analyze blurbs of conversation and you need to factor in that over 350 million photos a day are uploaded to Facebook every day. For this you need more robust tools that actually can examine images for specific logos or items you instruct it to, one such as Net Base.
Trending Topic Data
There are a lot of tolls out that can provide a treasure trove of data, so much so that that type of fire hose of data can be quite overwhelming. How does a social media marketing team no only be on topic, be timely but also, most of all be relate-able? It’s a tall and tough task to fulfill, but consider this, first know where you audience is and then your team needs to consider that Facebook now provides over 10 times the conversation volume of other social media networks.
Those two pieces combined can be a real game changer. No longer do you have to assume your audience talks about your products at this time, with Facebook’s Topic Data you can either prove or disprove who your ideal audience is, when do they talk about you and in what reference are they referring to you in. By utilizing a tool like Data Sift (which partners with Facebook to make sense of the Topic Data) your team can make much more informed and relevant decisions that can be taken beyond Facebook and into other social networks where your customers might be engaging.
It’s been a fact for years now, people on social networks aren’t tied to just one. While they prefer a method of engagement, everyone has different reasons at different points in their lives for focusing on one social network over the other. From cost factors of communication (think about What’s Up and communicating internationally) to building your professional network (think LinkedIn) to keeping up with what your pals are doing everyday (think Facebook), there’s a time and place for everything, everyone and every platform. But the convergence of media topic even goes well beyond the social platform to how exactly your brand, products and services are being shared and its just not how, its who is it being shared alongside of.
Understanding the convergence opens up new conversation points and engagement opportunities. Stop and think for a moment, that you are a hotel chain, vacation outlet or even a cruise line. Sure you’re going to search on hashtags for your brand name, or location, or type of specialty service you may offer, but what else converges with your brand. If you are a hotel chain in Orlando, how many times does your brand converge with the theme parks that surround you? At those convergence points what is being shared? Tweets, videos, photos, conversations ….. it’s likely all of the above. The point here is think beyond “yourself” and think about those convergence points of all social networks, media and other opportunities.
Customer Experience Management
If there’s one thing that is consistent in this ever changing world its the expectancy of customers. Customers and visitors to sites, now more than ever, expect that companies use the data they collect to give the best optimized experience they can to get the customer what they need. No longer are customers poking and prodding around sites to find what they want. If they can’t find it in a click or two – they are off to your competitor. If their experience isn’t consistent across platforms, they are off to another brand where it is.
This means your team needs to manage the experience, plan it from beginning to end. Consistent messaging to consistent delivery to consistent conversion experience. That includes a marketing strategy that takes into account research, strategy and planning, Content & Creative Development that takes into account consistent campaign messaging & imaging (across all social, web and mobile platforms) and Targeted Advertising that takes into account consistent campaign execution (meaning drop them on the page where they can buy the product you advertised on Facebook) and analysis of those campaigns.
Finally, but by no means meant to be the least looked at, is audience analytics. It used to be enough to know when and what brought a visitor to your brand’s website, app or social media profile. Now customers and audience members want that more personalized experience. That’s where the audience analytics come into play. This is where strategy and segmentation are now extending into the social media marketing world. 48% of Americans expect brands to know them and help them discover new products and services that fit their needs.
Social Media Marketing teams now need to look beyond just the “click” or the “like” to the factors behind the actions. Where are these likes coming from in the world or country, what stage in life is the person who responded, what brands do do your customers have an affinity to beyond your own and even down to defining behaviors/attitudes and personas. This can be done with a wide variety of tools from Adobe Social to Net Base, but it’s a matter of analyzing and utilizing the data to extend your teams efforts.