‘Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts,’ once said a certain Albert Einstein. And in today’s rapidly evolving world of multi-channel communications and data analytics, businesses are having to learn fast where to put their marketing money to get the best return on investment.
While in the past, million pound budgets would be confidently spent against outdoor media campaigns without much insight into the demographic breakdown of who saw the ad and what action it led to, now technology and social media can provide businesses with granular customer information not just to understand the impact of the now but to shape even more targeted and efficient campaigns in the future.
And with social media spend within marketing budgets expected to increase 128% to 21.4% in the next five years (1* Chief Marketing Officers Survey, 2014) social activity is becoming more integral to brand perception and business performance. But before any business launches a multi-channel socially connected campaign, a solid strategy and foundation already has to be in place where learnings and insight into social media platforms and customer engagement have already been made.
Core to the delivery of an effective social media strategy is understanding your target audience, setting clear objectives and knowing what you’re going to measure and why. Just because 2billion people are on Facebook does not necessarily mean your business should have a Facebook presence. Your target audience actually might be most active on Linkedin (*2) or if you’re a visually led brand like hotels, travel and leisure the most engaged communities maybe on Instagram or Pinterest.
While some may still see social media as a ‘risky’ marketing channel to pursue or even something to ignore, the reality is your #business is already being spoken about somewhere in the social ecosystem. And if you’re not listening or acting on these conversations then not only are potential opportunities being missed but brand reputation is at risk.
A smart social strategy can help businesses develop lead generation, build brand awareness, drive customer acquisition and attract high performing talent. And as a customer service tool it can get critical messages out to the masses quickly when dealing with any crisis comms.
LINKEDIN IS 277% MORE EFFECTIVE FOR LEAD GENERATION THAN TWITTER OR FACEBOOK – Hubspot Survey
But, yes, while we champion the successes and opportunities of social media there is a scrapyard of brand fails out there where a combination of poor judgment, lack of strategy and training has caught out big brands.
Take HMV for example when redundancies were announced their staff went rogue on HMV’s Twitter account. Tweeting live from the HR department as they were being ‘fired’.
Management reportedly were unaware of what was being posted and when they did, didn’t know how to shutdown the company’s Twitter account. Question – do you know which social channels your business is on and who keeps all the passwords?
And then there was the over-excited KLM social media team who forgot about their corporate position as a global brand and tweeted passionately about The Netherlands defeating Mexico in the World Cup. Cue social backlash across the internet.
The immediacy and virality of social media today means you can’t always predict what the impact of your branded content will be but companies now should be well prepared to quickly leverage the good and mitigate the bad, if required.
References: *1 CMO survey – http://cmosurvey.org/tag/chief-marketing-officer/
*2 Hubspot survey – http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/30030/LinkedIn-277-More-Effective-for-Lead-Generation-Than-Facebook-Twitter-New-Data.aspx