Social media’s impact on marketing (and just about every other industry) is growing at an almost unfathomable speed. Mark Zuckerberg helped start the revolution from his dorm room just over a decade ago. Today, total marketing spend on social media in the U.S. is nearly $12 billion.
Eighty percent of marketing executives across an array of industries told a Gartner poll that their companies were planning on investing in paid advertising programs on social media. However, paid campaigns are only part of the picture. According to Jay Wilson, Gartner’s social media research director:
“Successful social marketers going forward will not just view social as an advertising channel only, but they will find the right balance between paid versus organic and advocacy efforts.”
Social media’s marketing potential is undeniable. Now, the only question is how to maximize its potential and synergistically incorporate it into a cohesive omnichannel strategy. No problem, right? Well, thankfully there are some good tools at your disposal to help plan, transmit, and analyze your social media postings across platforms.
Social media is going on 24/7, but the real world’s schedule does intrude in ways. There are optimal posting times for every brand and post type. Tweets, for example, often go later into the evening than LinkedIn posts, and fashion brands post more often at the end of the week.
Take a look at our in-depth guide to social media timing for more details.
Ok, so you’ve got their ear, now what? Bring something to the conversation. Everyone seems to have their own theory as to what engages audiences, but two themes appear over and over: Relevancy and Authenticity.
Relevancy means communicating something that your audience would enjoy. It can be information that will help them, a promotion that they would like to take part in, a simple distraction or bit of comic relief to brighten their day, and a million other things.
Authenticity is of newer importance. Millennials, in particular, are become well known for demanding their brands operate in a transparent manner that is consistent with their values.
It’s important to always remember the interactive nature of social media. Marketers have long strived to ‘create a dialogue’ with their audience. Until now they were mostly speaking metaphorically. With social media the conversation is as direct as it gets.
Social media is quickly becoming ground zero for customer service. If someone isn’t happy with your product and makes their dissatisfaction known via tweet, the whole world gets to listen in. This is your chance to make a good impression by listening to their concerns and taking the appropriate action in response.
All this data being transmitted back and forth isn’t just floating away into the ether. It’s right there at your fingertips to be studied. You can track engagement levels via clicks, shares, views, etc. and adjust your content to grow your network. There are also a plethora of tools to track keywords and hashtags that your content is associated with, as well as influencers who are sharing it.
The sector is evolving rapidly, but the most popular social media management products right now are Buffer, Hootsuite, Sprout Social, AgoraPulse, and Zoho Social. Prices range from $10-50 monthly for small business plans up to the thousands for enterprise solutions.
It’s the nature of all new technologies to move from innovators to early adopters and eventually into the mainstream. Social media’s days as a niche amusement are dwindling. Facebook, LinkedIn, and the like are already big business and their continued growth is all but certain. Don’t be left behind.