In part one of this blog, we thoroughly uncovered some of the most important trends in social media, such as influencer marketing and data measurement. For the business owner who is serious about mastering the art of marketing via the social catalyst, this blog is about some of the more technical processes that can make your social media machine operate on smooth, highly-productive and efficient levels.
With the myriad of social platforms most businesses are utilizing at once (and with a slew of new ones coming up on the horizon) business owners are needing to integrate like never before across web, ecommerce and mobile.
Customers expect brands to deliver consistent, personalized experiences across touch points. Yet most social marketers are still using up to 7 different, disconnected tools to manage social activities.
This disconnection - from data to content and from workflows to teams is leading to poor customer experiences. Tool consolidation that facilitates integrated content, workflow and data will be critical to leveraging the power of social media to drive better more consistent, one-voiced digital experiences.
As predicted before the onset of 2016, we are seeing platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram move toward dominating content with live, real-time video. These platforms have products that enable marketers to connect with their followers in a completely different light than they are used to experiencing.
Video presents the opportunity to create more candid experiences for your followers. Social media users will continue to demand to live vicariously through social media content put out by brands and influencers. The question is, how will you make genuine real-time experiences that make your followers/consumers feel as though they are actually there?
Birchbox‘s Facebook Live experience is fun to watch because they unbox their product (it’s a curated, monthly subscription box for men and women) and show what the product is and how to use it. It’s engaging, creative and personable.
As you envision your social media strategies for 2017, be thoughtful about each platform and your followers.
Why are they watching your Facebook Live, Snapchat, and Instagram Stories? Are you differentiating your accounts to fit what your followers are interested in? Why are they following you? If you can’t think of a reason, it’s time to reinvent your strategy.
Analyze Your Target Audience
Consider conducting a competitor analysis of what your consumer is doing on these platforms products, focusing on what is successful for them and how you can better those efforts for the brands you are managing. Always remember that you’re building a tribe. So what would kind of a tribe would you want to be part of?
This year especially, elections on both sides of the spectrum have proven that one outcome is imminent; so unless you sit down with your target audience and ask them for their thoughts and opinions on whatever product or service you are selling, you could be barking up the wrong tree.
Social Media Customer Service
People prefer to do as much as possible via their cell phones. We’ve discovered that people also go straight to their phones to complain about things on social media networks.
Subsequently, it’s becoming necessary for businesses to come up with defined plans on how they are going to handle customer service issues via social media for 2017. Not handling complaints the right way and rapidly, can result in terrible PR for companies.
Both Facebook and Twitter allow you to set availability hours & auto-respond to messages. I recommend all businesses learn about the customer service options available on both Twitter and Facebook.
In addition, consider the staff you are putting in charge of managing your social media accounts. Who has the temperament to handle potential and current customers in a patient, highly-professional way?
Social media does not offer the kind of forgiveness that a phone conversation does: if you say the wrong thing, you could get tweeted and retweeted all the way to the evening news.
Educate your upper level management in how critical social media customer service is. Create protocols for all situations: support, FAQs, requests, billing, complaints, technical issues, crisis management and even trolls (not an easy one for sure).
Hot List of Extra Tips:
360-Degree Photos & Videos
There is little doubt that this is going to blow up, due to Facebook’s acceptance of it and VR headsets. Soon we will be seeing brands posting a plethora of 360-degree media. Take advantage of it now by purchasing a $100-200 camera that shoots these types of images and beat your competitors to the punch.
Brands will need to fine tune focus on the platforms that are most important to their audience and figure out how to make the most of them. Do an audit of best performers and eliminate the time suckers.
Augmented reality (AR) virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) are the latest public relations (PR) buzzwords turning heads. Now is the time for social media marketers to make sense of this new technology.
With social traffic referring from mobile over desktop, it’s important that your content is speedy and provides a good user-experience on a smartphone with 4G bandwidth.
Entrepreneur.com makes a solid case for content being even more important in the long run than SEO. The quality of content is key, however. In 2017 social media marketers will need to step up the game and only the brands investing in talented, journalistic style writers will survive.
More social networks are moving toward a pay-to-play landscape. As organic reach declines, it’s more important to pay for visibility. Social networks will continue to grow their abilities for businesses to narrowly target their users by demographic, psychographic, and technographics.
The Value of Relationships Supersedes Any Other Value
The value of relationships comprises our last and most important trend. Marketers are shifting the primary focus of social media from vanity metrics (followers, fans, likes, etc.) to relationships. The longer the relationship, the greater the return on investment, and lower cost of acquisition. The follower, fan or connection that has never been touched by the brand has zero value.
As attractive as it may be to report growth of the audience, sustainability of the brand will be determined by revenue. Winning hearts and minds is more important than ever to brands that wish to nurture leads, customers, champions and business sustainability. This takes a lot more than just personalized website pages and emails.
People crave one-on-one connection and reliability to everything in your brand - from your product or service to your story, and from your customer service to your image and branding. In all of your marketing, but especially social media marketing, maintaining the social, relational element with your consumer is the fine line between succeeding or failing as a company.
If you're interested in learning more about social media branding contact us!