You would think by now that every brand, business, or cause would understand the value social media can bring to their marketing strategy… but you would be wrong. While more and more brands are waking up to the fact that social media is important, few can give a reason why that’s much deeper than “we need to be on Facebook” or “our competitor is on Twitter so we should be there too.”
I still have conversations with business owners and marketers who still don’t understand the real value social media brings to their marketing strategy. They’re frustrated. And if their reason for being on social media isn’t deeper than, “because everyone else is…” I can definitely understand why they are ready to throw in the towel.
Whenever I talk with someone who doesn’t understand the impact social media can make for their brand, here are a few things truths I use to remind them that social media might just be the best thing that ever happened to their marketing strategy:
1. Social media helps you find your audience
This is one of the key ideas coming from innovative technology and marketing conferences like SXSW. As a marketer, you know have the ability to leverage “big data” to dig deeper into the content consumption habits and digital behavior that drives decision making.
Social media allows you to identify where your audience is spending their time. Thus, you’re able to get the most out of your social media efforts by trying to do one thing really well rather than spreading your efforts too thin.
2. Social media let’s you to listen directly to your audience
This isn’t new for most marketers. They understand that social media allows you to listen to your audience and respond directly as a way to improve the customer experience. But most brands stop there. They don’t take the time to leverage social media to get inside the heads of their audience.
Listening on social media isn’t just about interacting and engaging, it’s about taking what you hear and doing something about it. Use the information you gain by listening to your audience to improve your products or services. Create new solutions for the problems and issues you hear your audience discussing on social media. Social media gives you an automatic “test group” that enables you to listen to feedback and adapt your products.
3. Social media allows you to optimize your marketing messages
This is a key idea that Gary Vaynerchuk talks about in his book, “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.” Before social media, marketers spent thousands of dollars creating advertising and purchasing ad space. While they had some idea the ad would resonate with their audience, the couldn’t guarantee it. If you put a TV add out there, you’re “hoping” it resonates.
The great thing about social media is that you can connect with your audience through free platforms and optimize the messages that resonate. For example, if you put an image on Facebook with a product promotion and it starts getting a lot of engagement (likes, comments, shares), you can infer that your content is motivating people to act. You know you’ve found a message that resonates. From there, the likelihood of that message resonating with more people is greater when you use advertising it through a promoted post.
There’s one caveat. You can believe that all of these things about social media are true, but unless you actually do something with them, you’ll never experience the impact social media can make on your marketing strategy. What matters most now is applying creativity and strategy toward understanding what to do with it.
How is your brand, business, or cause incorporating these ideas into your social media strategy? What are some of the biggest “wins” you’ve seen from investing in social media to help you find your audience, listen, and optimize your messages?