We’re all very good at shouting on social media. We tweet, we complain, we tell everyone what we’re doing. Even as businesses, we’re very good at pushing things out about ourselves, or what we’ve written.
However, as time goes on and social marketing matures, we need to take a more sophisticated approach to our social marketing. There’s a wealth of data and information at our fingertips, if only we knew how to take advantage of it. There’s a wide range of social strategies that can be applied, and there’s a significant demand (
So how do we move to a more sophisticated Social Marketing approach? Here are five ways you can develop your social strategies from shouty to sophisticated…
#1. Start listening
Somewhere in the background, there’s been a war for your marketing budget. Microsoft have been among the most active, rolling out social listening (a little late, but still this is Microsoft) while Salesforce and Oracle have already integrated their offers. The reason? The need to listen better to social conversations, and integrate that information back into CRM profiles.
And this doesn’t involve having someone sat in front of Twitter all day waiting for a tweet, it’s all about finding the right triggers, automating, and ensuring that the data that comes back is pulled through in an easily understandable – and actionable – manner.
Sentiment is hard to measure, and no machine can yet claim to have understood sentiment fully. Therefore, there’s a large human element in social listening. However, the data that you can glean from it is huge – you can inform almost every part of the business, from sales and customer service (naturally, through escalation points), through to Research & Development and even Finance. Social listening is another layer on top of your current business intelligence.
#2. Start adapting
Twitter, Facebook, Bebo, Myspace, Pinterest – all different audiences, at different times, in different moods, doing different things.
So why push out the same message? Or even the same theme?
The mistake that many organisations make is to assume that one message fits all sizes, when in truth, we need varying approaches. We need not only to look at format and tone of voice, but equally time of day and other, simpler aspects to manage. For instance, your Twitter followers may be most active at 4pm (there are tools out there to tell you this, e.g. Followerwonk) – but your Facebook fans might be more active around 9pm.
Your Twitter followers may be more receptive to news items, but your Facebook fans are more receptive to more controversial blog posts. Who knows? You do.
Adapt your messaging according to platform, and you’ll move on measurably.
#3. Start integrating
So yes, adapt to your medium, but equally, integrate your campaigns better. There are plenty of cross-overs, and you can even think about bringing the offline into the online. Your offline advertising, whether that be in a newspaper, a magazine or on the street, can flow quite nicely into your online.
That doesn’t just mean asking people on billboards to “like” you on Facebook (they often don’t) – it can be more involved than that. Just by mixing in those offline messages into your online messaging, you increase the impact of the second touchpoint. That could be imagery, or a slogan, but the impact will be increased if the potential customer has seen it twice.
At a more complex level, you can start running competitions that begin offline, and end online. Encouraging people to go online through offline messaging is not easy, but if it is done in a unique and convincing way, it’s a great method for filling the top of your funnel with potential future customers.
#4. Start capturing more data
Twitter cards are a great way of obtaining e-mail addresses for your newsletters and marketing campaigns – so long as you have something worth exchanging that valuable data for. They’re just one way of turning social media into a lead generation campaign, and for those concerned about proving the worth of social media, this is a boon.
This isn’t a tactic that can just be thrown out there – the messaging has to be honed and tested to within an inch of its life, but it can provide real top-of-funnel data that can at a later point turn into sales. LinkedIn is a proven ground for generating soft conversions, but does require you building your own data capture forms on your site.
#5. Start cultivating your audience
You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your social media followers, so they say. That’s not entirely true… while many people do follow back, you’ll find that the most influential people – those who are most likely to seed your content & help you build your profile – don’t follow you back.
To cultivate an audience, you have to define who it is you want following you, and why. For instance, you may want your peers to be following you so that you improve your visibility – and hopefully get shares or retweets from them. But they’re not likely to buy from you.
The second segment of social followers has to be your potential customers. If you work well with a specific segment of the market, e.g. accountants, why not start following them, tailoring some of your messaging to them, and seeing if you can start to build a segment of followers who are accountants. Followerwonk is a great tool again, and helps you selectively choose which ones to follow initially. And if people don’t follow back, well you can always unfollow.
You can always choose those who you follow, of course!
Images: “woman hand pressing social marketing icon on blue background with world map/ Shutterstock.com“
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