What you need to know about social media marketing

Lance Concannon Lance Concannon, Marketing Director, Europe

Social media is an important part of the mix for most marketers these days, whether you work in B2B or B2C, brand or agency. You might be a specialist who focuses entirely on social, or it might just be one of many channels you have to manage as a marketing generalist; either way, staying on top of social is a real challenge.

In our latest eBook, we’ve covered everything marketers need to know about social media, to help you understand how to use it to generate real value for your business. If you don’t have time to read the whole thing, this blog post summarizes the key points.

Social has been around for well over a decade and is beginning to mature as a marketing discipline, but by its very nature we see constant innovation, both in terms of the platforms and features available, and how consumers use them. No surprise, then, that 25 percent of marketers still say that creating a cohesive social media strategy, and almost as many say that community building is their biggest social media challenge.

First, listen
So how do you make a start? The first step is to understand which social channels are most important. Sure, you’ve heard of all the big names, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, Linkedin – but where should your brand be? Answering that question takes research and analysis, you need to understand where your customers are, and it’s never a good idea to make assumptions about that. Understand who your customers are, and then spend some time finding out which social channels they use.

Social listening tools can help you find out where your audience is, but also what they’re talking about, and this is critically important. As marketers we can often be quite poor at understanding our customers motivations and interests, they’re often not talking about the things we expect them to be. So it pays to use social analytics to really get a handle on what topics and issues they really discuss online.

With tools like Sysomos Search, you can investigate and analyze a huge archive of social conversations (including the full Twitter firehose) going back a full 13 months, which provides a great resource for uncovering these kinds of insights.

Think like a publisher
It’s a bit of a cliché that all businesses are publishers in the age of social media, but the simple fact is that if you want to make social work for your brand then you’re going to need a lot of good quality content. For better or worse, this does mean that your marketing team will need to borrow processes and skills from the world of professional publishing. This includes:

  • Robust asset management
  • A detailed content calendar for at least 3 months in advance
  • Content production and approval workflows
  • Processes for sharing top-performing content across the enterprise
  • Governance policies for maintaining quality levels

Effective engagement
Publishing content is just one piece of the puzzle, you also need a plan for how you’re going to engage with people who interact with you on your owned social channels, or those who simply mention your brands on their own, such as Twitter or Instagram. You’ll have to work out some rules of engagement; how will you respond to different types of mention (complaints, compliments, queries), what tone of voice should be used, how quickly should responses be posted, who will be responsible for ensuring that happens?

Consistency is key in engagement. Once people learn that they can reliably expect a response when they engage with you on social, they will come to trust the channel more which makes it a valuable resource for your business.

Tracking ROI
There are so many data points available to social media managers these days that measuring campaign performance has never been easier. But you need to understand what you’re measuring. The days of using vanity metrics (follower numbers, shares, likes) are over, and we have to be much more sophisticated in the way we track how social media activity has contributed to our marketing goals. But along with increasingly detailed data from the social platforms, marketers also have access to powerful analytics tools like Sysomos, that enable you to be more forensic in your analysis of what social media has actually delivered for your brand.

To get the full picture on what modern marketers need to know about social media, download our eBook today.