Don’t Mistake Activity for Effectiveness in Social Media

stop-spinning-your-wheels

The world of the content marketer/social media marketer is changing. I had mentioned in a previous post how it resets every day. When it does reset, we no longer are responding to what our readers, followers and fan say as much as we’re responding to what the analytics tell us in regards to consumption habits and trends from the previous day. What that tells us and what a lot of old school social media marketers will tell you (old school being about eight years… ) is that the art of engagement has now become a science. The conversations, have been lost.

How do we get back to our roots, to that happy place, to that place where social is social again?

Mack Collier talked recently about how Twitter just isn’t the same anymore and blames it on a lack of conversation and in a recent New York Times piece on specializing to survive this quote jumped out at me:

“It’s becoming harder and harder to separate the wheat from the digital chaff. The problem with the Internet is anyone can post, so it’s hard to know whether you are looking at a fact or pseudofact, science or pseudoscience.”

Clearly, we are all suffering from a need for speed. A rush to crank the content out. We’re so enamored with the platforms that allow us to say something quickly, or publish or push out a piece of content in just 2-3 clicks, that we have lost our way. We have lost our ability to have conversations and in our desire to want conversations. In fact brands and the companies that monitor brands have even redefined engagement.  Just go look up the definition.

The definition of engagement is that … there is no definition!

We can fix this though. It’s simple and it’s in the title of this post. Don’t mistake your social media activity for social media effectiveness. Measure your effectivensss in connections made and conversations had and realtionships created; and not on the quantity of what your pushing out and the number of places that you’re pushing it out on. All that does is dilute the message.

The One Mistake Every Marketer Makes with Social Media Every Day

erase

I promise you that what I’m about to say is worth reading. Before I elaborate though, let me stress that I am qualified to post something so link-baitish as this. I’ve been knee deep in social for the better part of 8 years. So much so, that it seems that not a year goes by now where I either hear or read about how social media doesn’t work or is useless or is dying. Let me put that notion to bed quickly. It does work, it is not useless and it is not dying any time soon. If anything, social media might be the Benjamin Button of digital these days.

But I digress. You’re not here to read about my justifications of all things social, you’re here to learn one thing, so let’s do it.

If you work in social media for either a small org or the largest of the large, chances are, your work life revolves primarily around content. You have tools to discover it and you have platforms to schedule it within and you have ways you can automate it. It’s tailored to your company and it speaks to your audience. You may set it and forget it and then move on to the next task on your social media to-do list.

Additionally, part of your social media manager duties may include looking at the data, i.e. looking at the numbers. What was the reach? How many impressions? How many likes or shares? How many retweets and how many mentions? Yes they are soft metrics, but they still do matter. It’s how you measure the effectiveness of your content, right? They may even be part of your KPI’s. If you are seriously managing a social media campaign, then you may be looking at CTR’s to a specifically tailored page to grab data, to allow downloads, signups and registrations; stuff that actually moves the needle. Or as a lot of CMO’s are looking for these days: Business Outcomes.

The key being that all of your social media activity above, is just that,  it’s ACTIVITY.

But is that enough? Let me ask you a simple question. If I asked you to engage with the people, the followers, the brand champions of your product or your brand, could you do it? If I asked you to be the subject matter expert for your company, product and industry for the social media handles that you manage, could you do it? Can you represent your brand via social without sounding like a novice? Can you hold your own, representing the company, in a space that YOUR company is supposed to own? Do you see what I’m getting at?

The biggest mistake that I see a lot of brands and companies making is discounting the notion that social media activity is not a front-line activity for the brand. Forgetting that sometimes for potential customers, buyers, partners and vendors, their first encounter or engagement with a brand, might be… wait for it… via social.

If you manage a social media team or if you’re the director of marketing or even the CDO or CMO, let’s make sure that some of your most knowledgable people of the brand are doing social; instead of the person who has platform experience but no real world brand experience. Don’t make the mistake of undervaluing the power of educated engagement in social media. It’s tough to influence the influencers if you don’t know what you’re talking about. :)

The Content Paradigm Shift

ParadignShift

I’m cutting to the chase. and feel free to disagree with me at any point when you think I’m wrong. Content curation tools are great. No really, they are, except all they do is pull the content in and that really is just half the battle. The content game played by every brand, everywhere, in some way, shape or form, is finding that content, every day, manually interpreting it and then tailoring it to their audience and then pushing it out. Every day.

Brands can and will measure its effectiveness, they fish where the fish are, and every day they push out more content. In the hopes that the consumer will bite; and in most cases they will. This is what digital marketing has become. It’s a game. The game has become more sophisticated about how it is played and approached, but guess what? The consumer has evolved as well. The consumer knows what content they like, what content they want, how they want to consume it and where they would like to consume it and on what device.

The bottom line is you cannot automate the customer experience. Creating a truly fluid customer experience might be automated across devices and platforms, but to understand what your customer wants and needs has to be interpreted manually.

The world of the content marketer resets every day to square one. The really good marketers know what works and what doesn’t. Not merely from the data but probably from actually listening to the customer. I think that a fluid customer experience has to start with content that connects, it then flows through engagement and ends with trust. That’s it. Let’s trust you know your customer and what they want. Why? Because it resets every day, what you do and what they want.

Why is the Customer Experience so Hard to Deliver On?

rubik

You’d think brands would know what the customer wanted at this stage of the game, right? It’s 2015 and companies left and right keep talking about their new mandate of delivering on a quality customer experience. providing a powerful and memorable customer experience, etc. etc… It’s almost as if what has happened up to this point didn’t matter or was not a quality experience. I guess, what I want to know is, what have I been getting all of these years?

You might want to say this out loud: “Companies just now, are starting to actually care and do something about me and for me, the customer.” What changed? What happened? What took you so long? You have to wonder, could you have actually been getting more out of your brand experiences all this time? I almost feel like I’ve been short-changed. Until now.

I’ll tell you what happened and it’s really pretty simple; and most of you will slough it off as yet another social media justification post, but it’s true. What happened is social media happened. Social gave the customer a voice they never had.

For the longest time, companies just pushed out what they thought the customer needed and wanted. They didn’t really ask. Sure, they might have done the occasional test/focus group or survey but those were never a large enough sample size. Back in the day, wasn’t customer feedback the 800 number you called to leave your complaint? You never really expected them to get back to you. Did you?

Of course you know this but I’m going to say it again anyway to drive the point home. Social media has allowed customers to have a real voice on so many levels/platforms now. You can write 1000 words diatribes praising or bashing a company. You can voice your displeasure immediately in 140 characters or less on Twitter. You can rate your experience via Yelp or you can Video or take pics of how bad the experience was via YouTube or Instagram. Clearly the customer now has a voice; and that scares the crap out of really large brands as well as small and medium sized businesses.

Why does that scare them? Because the truth actually might hurt them for a change.

I hate when I hear the term, “the customer now has the upper hand.” That’s not what this is about. Customers should not have to compete with a brand. They just want a fair and equitable brand experience. The truth finally evens the playing field. So if consumers are competing, which they shouldn’t be, at least brands know that there are eyes and ears on the customer experience now.

Hard to believe that brands are just now starting to talk about and acknowledge the need for delivering a superior customer experience, but hey, talking is one thing, doing is another. Will the customer rise? Is the customer experience the brand experience? Or is it just lip service for 2015?

Does #IoT Mean Anything to Us Yet?

The short answer is no. The easy answer starts with Google’s Nest. Which is a smart thermostat. From there things have quickly spriraled out of control so to speak. In a short time The Internet of Things has become akin to what it was like when social media became a “thing.”. Everyone is writing about it, everyone is talking about it and everyone is trying to figure out what it does, what it means and how it will affect us.

Maybe this infographic will help.

What the Internet of Things Means for you at Home and In Business #infographic

Offline Expectations from Online Engagements are Unrealistic

great-expectations

Picture this: You’re at a stop light. It seems to be taking forever for it to turn green. You become impatient. You start yelling. You’re wondering why it hasn’t changed. Finally it does change and you peel out. You’re angry because it took entirely too long. It’s been an astounding and unfathomable 3 minutes.

Here’s another scenario: You’re at your computer, you’re on Google and you’re searching for something…The screen freezes, you see the little “thingy” going around so you know it’s “working,” and still nothing. You become impatient, you check your connection, check the cache, check your security settings. finally the page loads…and you think, I’ve got to get a new machine; yet it’s only been an incredible 2 minutes of agony and frustration.

Why are we like this? How has it come to this? Blame it on technology. You see technology has set an unrealistically high bar of expectation for speed and delivery for everything that is not technology related. Whether it’s your toaster, the elevator, the manager at a hotel, the service at the restaurant, the boarding of the airplane, checkout at the grocery store, customer service on the phone or the drive-thru of your favorite restaurant. If we don’t get what we want and need NOW, we have a melt down.

Like the New York Times says, “We need a reset.”

The problem is that we’re armed with so much more information, access and ability so quickly through technology, that it has lead people to expect, demand and want the same type of results from their offline experiences. Is that realistic? Probably not.

 

 

Facebook Stickers- Bad Idea Good execution…

glasses

Did Facebook just jump the shark?  Or does it just seem like it? Back in April of 2013, Facebook launched stickers but only in private messages. Now they’re is rolling out the “stickers” feature to everyone’s timeline posts, enabling users to voice their opinions with a cat, a smiley, or anything else that’s in the Facebook’s Sticker Store (social commerce?) (virtual goods?)

Initally only available in Japan, the feature appears to be rolling out globally. One has to ask the question why? Yes we needed something other than a thumbs up, but stickers? Really?

I’ve said for awhile that social is killing the written word and now this, the dawn of the social infused emoji.  This just solidifies my belief. So instead of saying how much fun I had at the beach with my friends. I’ll just do this…

stickers1     stickers2  stickers3

Where’s that sad frowny emoji when I need it?

:(


The Deets

Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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