Social marketers, there's plenty of good news for the year ahead. Social audiences have grown, and are less resistant to branded messaging, according to recent studies. Content and social marketing have become such large focuses for organisations because such large focuses for businesses because they work. The audience is there, and they're excited to engage.
Over the next few weeks we will be taking a look at what has changed in 2014 on the social front and what you need to be doing to lift your social media marketing to a whole new level.
#1 MEASUREMENT AND INSIGHTS
What Changed in 2014?
With a well-recognised evolution from basic listening and monitoring to more sophisticated performance measurement and market analysis, brand storytellers paid attention to data to develop a stronger understanding of their audience, and their competitors.
What to Do in 2015?
Better measurement means better goal-hitting strategies and tactics for digital teams. By increasing your brand’s social understanding and self-knowledge, you can improve everything from cross-platform strategy to organisational structure to multi-media marketing campaigns –and make it very clear why you rocked that campaign.
Create your own ROI definition. What does social ROI mean to you? The answer varies for every brand. Are you more interested in brand awareness, driving your social audience to your site, increasing engagement with customers? Find the metrics that match your goals, and start benchmarking.
Differentiate between owned, earned, and paid. Which of your efforts are bearing fruit? Are you putting your advertising dollars to their best use on social?
Target better. Build your social content around your ideal social personas. By knowing who’s already engaging with you, you’ll get a pretty good idea of who you should be targeting or which tweaks you have to make to your strategy to attract the audience you actually want.
Analyse your competition. Like in any other branch of your business, you need to know what your competitors are doing well and not so well. Make this social analysis a pivot part of your measurement strategy.
#2 CUSTOMER SERVICE
What Changed in 2014? Social media is transforming customer service. With the modern person attached to their smartphone at the thumb, today’s consumers often look to social media as the go-to route for customer service interactions with brands around the world.
What to Do in 2015? There’s a greater incentive for brands to satisfy needs and fix problems expressed on social. An irate customer only influences other irate customers. For brands, it means cost savings and more satisfied, vocal customers. If you’re frustrated with your typical experience in a customer service phone tree, go online to get the answers you want.
Have a dedicated customer service handle. By maintaining a separate main brand account and customer service account, you can separate support inquiries from marketing efforts. This means your customers get more direct access to help and your marketing efforts remain undiluted. If your business can’t support this through resource look to have a clear customer process for your social media platforms.
Sign on, sign off. The best-in-class in Social Media customer service let followers know their customer service availability in their profiles and send out Tweets at the beginning and close of business hours. This makes sure community expectations are managed and more often met.
Focus on response time and resolution. Measure your progress by benchmarking with these two metrics. How long does it take your customer service team to respond on Twitter? How many Tweets are necessary to close a customer service case? Create response time and Tweet resolution goals based on your industry norms.
#3 SHOPPING GETS SOCIAL
What Changed in 2014?
Earlier this year, both Twitter and Facebook began beta-testing “buy” buttons, which appear alongside certain tweets and posts and allows users to make purchases with just a click or two, without ever leaving the network.
What to Do in 2015?
Expect e-commerce and social media integrations to deepen in 2015. In fact, it’s a little surprising it’s taken so long. For starters, this approach eliminates one key dilemma all merchants face – how to get customers in the door (or to your website).
Start working on a receptive audience. An audience which happily chats with friends, browses the latest trends, shares photos and videos, etc. Once their payment details are on file, purchases are a tap or two away. Then it’s back to cat GIFs and updates on weekend plans.
Time-sensitive offers: Since Facebook and especially Twitter are real-time media, they’re perfect for short-term deals tied in with fleeting trends. With time-sensitive offers literally streaming by, consumers may well be inclined to act quickly and seal the deal, forgoing the obsessive comparison shopping that characterizes lots of Internet transactions.
Buy buttons provide concrete revenue figures: Finally, there are major benefits to advertisers. Connecting individual Tweets and Facebook posts with actual purchases has thus far proved a huge analytical challenge. But with the advent of buy buttons, concrete revenue figures can be attached to specific social media messages in a way that hasn’t been possible until now.