Social Marketing: What We Should Do Right Now

checkmarkNobody likes wasting their time, or their effort, or their money.  That’s why it’s handy to know, at least in general, what does and doesn’t constitute effective social marketing.

The infographic and slideshow farms have been very busy, presenting several articles and studies that all speak to what the social user wants and is thinking. So let’s do some listening and act on what users are telling us.

Mary Meeker’s 2013 Internet Trends report asked what social media people are using. Facebook is still #1 but…was the only network to decline.  YouTube experienced the strongest growth, with Twitter, G+ and LinkedIn rounding out the top 5.
So we should: Keep maximizing and resourcing Facebook, but wake up to the fact that people like to get info and entertainment via video, preferably short ones.

We also learn from the study how hard it is to get Americans to share content. Saudi Arabia shares the most at 60%, while the US fell below the global 24% average at 15%.  Japan shares the least.
So we should: Realize most people only share if the content triggers an emotion, or if sharing it casts a positive reflection on them.  Our content can’t just “lay there.”

The disconnect between marketers and the real world remains stunning. While only 6% of the public spends their media time with print, we put 23% of our ad spend toward it.  Meanwhile, as users spend 12% of their time on mobile, we threw a mere 3% of ad spend that way.
So we should: Give ourselves a good face-palm, say “Duh,” and market where the people are.  

The amount of content created grew 9 times in 5 years. Over 500 million photos uploaded a day, 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube per minute. And think audio is dead? 11 hours of sound was uploaded to SoundCloud per minute. 
So we should: Recognize we’ve got content competition not just from our competition, but from anyone with a phone.  See section above about how our content can’t just lay there.

45% of Groupon transactions in North America are from mobile, up from less than 15% two years ago. Tablet growth is even faster than smartphone growth.  People want access to everything no matter where they are.
So we should: Develop experiences with the device user first in mind.  Not only will mobile use only go up, the study says it will soon be wearable/drivable and hands-free.

Surveyed CEO’s said they now think technological factors will have the biggest impact on their organizations, second only to market forces.
So we should: Disrupt the enterprise, scary as that is.  Socially enable it so all customer touch point experiences and analytics can be integrated into actionable data.  That’s where social ROI comes from.

A Ypulse study of 14-30 year-olds sought to learn where they get their information. Social was at the top of the list with 68%, followed by word of mouth. 
So we should: Recognize that social IS word of mouth, and we have a golden opportunity to not only be a source of usable info but to have it spread credibly.  Key word: “usable.”

66% of this age group have little confidence the news they get is accurate. Information sources have forfeited their credibility.  The audience is highly guarded.
So we should: Begin the long process now of building trust through honesty, transparency, sincerity, humility, and making sure we know the customer intimately. 

69% of 14-30-year-olds prefer to be informed by people who are older, not by people of the same age.
So we should: Not embarrass ourselves pandering to young users, desperately trying to be “hip.”  Oh, and just being 22 doesn’t qualify someone to be a community manager.

Lastly, our friends at Georgia Tech compiled 14 things that make a real difference in your ability to get Twitter followers. They didn’t study brands, but what works for individuals applies to us as well.  The top factor: when people see a friend follow an account, they’re more likely to follow it.
So we should: Recognize success begets success.  Retweets attract more followers as well.  So get momentum by acting on these next suggestions.

Inform. Make sure tweets have a target and a point. Use clear, simple language. And don’t pack your tweets with worthless hashtags. 
So we should: Realize even one little tweet is content.  Don’t ask your customers what they’re doing this weekend.  That’s generic filler.  And make tweets quickly readable.  Cool it with the symbols, hashtags, and hieroglyphics.

That’s a lot of things we should be doing. But, since they’re responses to what the audiences we’re trying to win over and turn into our advocates are telling us they like and want, perhaps it’s high time we got serious about following their lead.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

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