- 20 Jan 2014
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- Social@Scale: Business Executive
About nine months ago, I was charged with creating a buyer’s guide for the social business applications market. The task seemed simple enough. I’ve written similar guides before and didn’t expect this project to be any different. But I was wrong – very, very wrong.
As an organization or an entity begins to scale, it is common for things like operational efficiency to get in the way of interpersonal communications and relationships.
It’s common for things like customer experience or community cohesion to be sacrificed in the name of scale.
However, the central challenge of our time for large organizations that are faced with the rise of the empowered customer in the conversation economy is to not make that trade-off.
Instead, it’s to avoid the tyranny of just “doing” social and insist on delivering an experience across every touchpoint within every business silo that shows they are committed to “being” social. After all, that’s what people are entitled to. A real relationship.
Most people start slowing down in the few days leading up to Christmas.
I will be the first person to say that I love Facebook. I love seeing photos of friends and figuring out how to use this powerful channel as an opportunity to build a brand’s community. However, I think anyone out there who runs a Facebook page for a brand has been frustrated to see a huge drop in fan impressions as Facebook is making the “pay to play” message very clear. If you’re ready to embrace this new way of thinking, then let’s chat about how to do it successfully… and how to avoid the confusing messages out there.
You’ve seen them many times. Stickers on the cover of people’s laptops.
Some proclaim an allegiance to a movement, team or brand.
At Sprinklr, we have a few different stickers we’ve made over the course of the years.
Expensive? Not particularly, but if we went into the purchase of these stickers with the question of “What’s the ROI going to be?” we never would have bought them.
Recently, however, I had an experience that made me glad we did.
Even though spending on social media marketing is at an all-time high and continues to grow, there’s a good reason that the overall portion of the marketing budget dedicated to social channels remains comparatively small. Frankly, this is a bit surprising. It’s been nearly 10 years after social media arrived on the scene and today social media essentially dominates as a share of digital consumer attention, yet social channels remain an under served target for many businesses.
The underlying reasons for this general underinvestment in social media marketing are complex. In general, marketers have discovered that attaining their objectives through social media can be 1) less predictable, 2) the outcomes harder to tie to specific business goals, and 3) because the discipline itself is one of the fasted changing in the media business. Also, directly translating traditional marketing activities into social media usually doesn’t produce the best results, as marketing efforts typically have to be rethought for two-way engagement, user participation, and/or viral amplification.
Some of the current data is sobering:
Yet over 70% of marketers plan on increasing their investment in social media next year, and by an average of 50%. This means marketers will be doing more in social, expectations by the business will be higher, and successful outcomes more important than ever.
In this environment then, my research indicates that marketing teams will be looking to increase the effectiveness of their social marketing efforts in three ways: a) by better adapting their digital assets and campaigns to social channels, b) shifting to a focus to managing for quality metrics, instead of just quantitative measures, and c) preparing for more rapid engagement in new channels including mobile and new emerging social networks.
Against this backdrop, here’s what 2014 holds in store for social media marketing:
Of course, much more will happen in social media marketing next year, but these will be some of the most significant in my analysis. That’s not to say that some of the strategies of five years ago aren’t still key. For example, I’m still sanguine the major investments in customer communities have the biggest bang for the buck, even as the window increasingly closes on the easy opportunities.
What are you seeing as the biggest trends for social media marketing next year?
Real-time marketing enables companies to connect with consumers in the same way that consumers connect with each other – with timely, highly relevant content. When done correctly, interactions of this type increase engagement, boost earned media, and help humanize large brands.
Large organizations are constantly striving to be more engaging in social channels. They see the potential for earned media to offer transformational marketing benefits, but they struggle to be more than an outlet for company news and generic stock photos. Real-time marketing is a business practice that uses the conversations and activity of the market, consumers, and critical constituents to inform production of relevant and timely content. When brand content is rooted in this model, marketers can:
Our latest white paper outlines case studies from 6 major brands (Nissan, CitiBike, Absolut, WestJet, Xerox, and AT&T) that are achieving these outcomes through salient real-time marketing tactics.
Here’s an example of what’s inside our new white paper:
Absolut Vodka has a longstanding affiliation with the arts, and uses its social presences to align its brand with the art world. It made sense as an extension of that branding for Absolut to connect with the street art community as it processed the demise of the famed 5 Pointz graffiti park in New York.
The spirits brand has an active Twitter presence, heavily focused on its involvement with visual arts and collaborations with the art community. The brand’s print advertising has long been praised for its creativity and artistic nature, and its social presence is a natural extension of that concept. (See #OpenCanvas, #TransformToday, #TransformBasel) So, in the wake of 5 Pointz’s closing, Absolut tweeted a simple image that memorialized the site.
The tweet yielded [117 retweets and 64 favorites], a substantial increase in engagement from the brand’s typical tweets (usually 1-10 retweets and 0-5 favorites). The success of this real-time tweet demonstrates the inclination of consumers and brand audiences to more readily engage with brand content when it is relevant and timely – especially when the brand has a longstanding voice in the context of a given trend.
The brands we’ve looked at have determined practical ways to engage with audiences in real-time. They constantly seek ways to improve these tactics, in order to enhance their brand perception and audience engagement. In aligning their content with trending topics, powerful stories, and relevant concepts, their brands are revitalized and more than just a business. It’s a new way to build brands, and now is the time for your team to get started.
Download a copy of “How 6 Brands Are Leading the Real-Time Marketing Charge” to learn how brands like Xerox, AT&T, Absolut and Nissan have implemented real-time strategies that enable them to produce timely content and engage with audiences.
It seems about once a week I sit down with clients to discuss how they plan to measure their social activities across regions. Sometimes these metrics are well thought out; but most of the time, they’re the results of a caboodle of blog leftovers and bad consultants.
I’ve ordered a pair of Google Glass and will hand it over to the marketing department on Monday morning. The plan is for every person in our company to use Glass for a week and get familiar with what it can do, as wearables are positioned to be one of the most important trends for brands. Maybe not in 2014, but certainly in the next few years.
After a couple days, my biggest takeaway is that it’s important to understand the potential of Glass and its functionality while monitoring the cultural, technological, and commercial environment of wearables:
Keep an eye on the Dachis Group Twitter feed as my colleagues take turns as explorers in the weeks ahead.