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Posts Tagged 'social media strategy'

Conversation Lost-How to Align B2B Social Media Marketing Efforts with the Right Strategy

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B2B Social media success is like the American ninja warrior TV show. Everyone makes it to the starting line and yet very few make it to the finish line. In fact, those that can make it just halfway through the course can sometimes advance to the next round, based simply on how difficult the course can be. They’re deemed, somewhat victorious for just getting ‘that far.’ The same holds true for B2B marketers. B2B social media marketing can be brutal but it’s not a loser.

If you’ve never watched the show, it’s essentially an impossible obstacle course that takes a lot of balance, agility, strength and sound judgment to complete. Those challenges, metaphorically speaking, completely exist in B2B social media in 2017. For those that were around in the “early days” of social media will be the first to tell you that today’s social media is a far cry from what it was back then. Understatements be damned, one could say that social media has evolved and still, others could say it has regressed.

So what is a marketer to do? Where does social media fit in the marketing mix? Should your organization have a social media strategy? The quick answers are: There is a path, it does fit into the marketing mix and yes but let’s quickly review what’s been happening.

Over the past 7-8 years, the act of truly conversing has slowly dissipated on most social networks, Twitter in particular. On other networks, however, see Snap for example, the act of communicating has escalated and changed. In reality, communicating in social media hasn’t so much as gone away, as it has been replaced by different types of communicating dominated more by imagery and less by conversations.

For marketers though, the one-way, scream it and blast it style of pushing out messages disguised as conversations, still exists today. Partly because a) they are struggling with a medium that deemphasizes the written word and embraces the emoji b) a general lack of understanding of how to use that medium and c) it’s not the only channel.

It used to not be like this. Social Media was at one point this living, breathing, conversational thing. Somewhere along the way though, marketers started to misunderstand the platform and treat social media and its content like it was an arms race. It became a content battle wrapped around the quantity and output of messages and how quickly follower ratios could grow.

Beyond that, companies became enamored with vanity metrics. Those are your typical likes, mentions, retweets, etc. In fact, orgs of all sizes still like vanity metrics, we all do. Why? Because it’s a tangible hard number that we can wrap our arms around. Like a unique visitor in the world of website traffic. How many times have you heard or have asked the question, how many uniques do you have or what’s your traffic like? It’s how we quantify and quantified success. The parallel is exactly the same as asking. “How many followers do they have?”

Recently I told someone that the same metrics that revolve around direct mail and direct e-mail success now apply to organic social media. Meaning that getting a 1-2% organic engagement rate via social is about equal to what you might see or hope to see in direct mail open rates. It’s almost considered a ‘win’ but not quite. It’s average. You would think that social media and social networks might have an advantage but social media marketers are generally not working off of lists. So for them, it’s all about the content and the creating of content. Engagement? That’s a bonus. Measurement? Maybe.

The crazy thing about social media content today? It’s not bad. In fact, it’s more visual than ever before. There are some great content creation tools these days and the whole process of creating content for social is an industry in and of itself. It’s not boring. It’s dynamic, it’s compelling and dammit, it’s clickable. But the kicker is, you have to see it. You have to find it. So really it’s not how the content is being packaged and it’s not how it’s being created or delivered. It’s more about when do you push that content out? It’s where and it’s why. Oh yea, and to whom matters too. Social media in a B2B setting is effective when the right content finds the right people at the right moment.

Blame it on growth and blame it on the “noise” that growth created but that’s the ‘other’ new reality. Getting the B2B customers’ attention is more difficult now than it ever was before. Your new digital marketing challenge is to figure out where social fits in your marketing mix. Keep in mind that it has to be there, you just have to decide which platforms you’re going to use and what the distribution of dollars and resources will be.  Let me reiterate. Social Media efforts in a B2B setting have to be there for the simple reason that the customers are there.

Does engagement really matter?

What is engagement? Or rather what did it used to mean? Loosely defined in social media. it means that an action occurred, some type of reactive action occurred in the form of a like, a retweet, a mention, or a share. All of those actions dependent on, in theory, you, the user, doing something. Some, thing. Oddly enough, the actual true meaning of engagement could not be more diametrically opposed to what is happening here. You have either a formal agreement to get married or an arrangement to do something or go somewhere at a fixed time. Neither of those really pertain to social media, do they?

In social media, because an ‘action’ did occur, marketers measured it in a positive fashion. The problem occurs or occurred, when nothing happens or happened after that. Thus, marketers were and are ostensibly hanging their hats on hollow metrics.

In email marketing or direct mail marketing, we can measure click through rates, open rates, conversion rates, leads generated and of course sales. These are things that happened after the fact. We don’t call it engagement. These are definite and distinct actions. We have a crumb trail we can measure. We have user data before and after the mail is sent. We can create a snapshot of the user based on that data. We can tailor content and give them what they want. Social media marketing on the other hand, organically speaking has to be more strategic in order to be effective. The tools and data are there but marketers are lazy.

Let’s explain it a different way. What kind of crumb trail or user data do you get from an egg with one name, no bio, following 50, with 10 followers and 5 tweets? Not much. Marketers will recognize and acknowledge the retweet, the mention and the share of the egg-but what does that really mean? Nothing.

In part two, let’s look at what a marketer should do. Let’s talk about what the distribution of marketing and social media strategies, tactics and activities should be and let’s talk about bang for the buck. The operative word being, buck, as in dollars, which should be your clue.

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8 mistakes you can avoid making in social media

I must admit that I was inspired to write this post based on the Social Media club of Orlando. They had tweeted me an invite to an event titled, “Mistakes and Lessons Learned in Social Media. It’s a great topic and thus I was inspired. I was going to title this post, “The biggest mistake I made in social media” but that would mean that it’s in the past tense, and at this point I got it down cold. No no no… That is certainly not the case. On the contrary, I still make mistakes. I learn from them and grow from them, but I still make new ones every week because the landscape keeps changing every week.

But what about you? You might be either just getting started in social media as a consultant, as a marketer for your company, or perhaps, you are a more seasoned individual. Either way, the assumption is that you are immersed in the culture and dynamics of social media integration in some way, shape, or form.  And lets assume you’re going to make some mistakes. With that said, let’s look at what some of those mistakes might be and how you can avoid them.

Note* I have made all  or some variance of these mistakes at some point in the past.

1) You assume Never assume you understand the consumer of your client.  You know what they say? Never assume because it makes an ass out of u and me… Before you submit or create a social media proposal you really should try and get a full understanding of the clients customers, their online and offline consumption patterns, their behaviors and their preferences.

2) You Don’t Define Your KPI’s . KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator and it’s a key part of  your measurable objectives with the client. They can be made up of  benchmarks, targets, and time frames.  Look, if you were a coach and you had a team, you would set goals right? They might be win x amount of games, make the playoffs, win the conference etc. etc. On a business level with social media in mind, they take on a different tone and level, but the outcomes are still measured in the same way. Coaches and teams don’t fly blind, and neither should you and your clients. Define your targets, benchmarks and outcomes that can be measured to determine performance and success. Define them and you’ll spare yourself some grief down the line.

3) You Didn’t Do Your Homework. Make sure you understand completely a) what the client is selling b) what their messaging is c) how they get their clients and…d) where those clients typically are i.e. where they hang out. Not all networks are the same and as social networks mature, new networks are cropping up daily that are more niche specific.  In simple terms, this means that selling brooms on MySpace might not work.

4) No Value. What you produce for the client digitally, or what the client produces digitally, needs to have value. There is an assumption that if one just creates content that that is enough to drive traffic to the client. No, it doesn’t work like that. There has to be a level of quality that tells consumers that your social presence is worth tracking. Quality and value take on many forms, depending on the company and the client, but the bottom line is never short you, the client or the customer on either. They’ll leave before they even get there. And you know what? You know the difference, don’t kid yourself.

5) You Ignore The Rest of the Company. We talk about enterprise wide integration of social media but that takes on different forms. This means that HR is going to use social media in a completely different way than IT and or your PR department. We sometimes stick to what we know best and oftentimes say that integration of social media should occur in marketing; but that’s a short sighted attack. Every channel in an organization can benefit from social media, it’s up to you to make it happen.

6) You Made it Complicated. If you can’t understand it, or you can’t articulate it properly to your clients, peers, or bosses, then don’t talk about it yet, and definitely don’t go trying to implement it. Do you think the people you’re talking to are going to get what you don’t understand?  It being the many different aspects of social media integration.  You need to understand nuance which is something that doesn’t happen overnight with social media. With that being said, never assume you know everything, and sometimes you just can’t know everything, but don’t pretend you do. Keep it simple for yourself and for others. Think about it from the user’s perspective.

7) Set Them Free. Don’t let clients bamboozle you into doing all of the heavy lifting for them. One of the important aspects of social media is that we’re asking people, clients and companies to be more transparent and authentic. It’s their chance to connect with their customers and prospects in ways that they never thought of. If you’re doing all the social media work for them, then you might as well call yourself a PR company instead. It’s not authentic. You need to help them integrate social media into their company, you then need to teach them how to use the tools of social media, and then you need to hand it off to them. Take the training wheels off. You can still monitor from afar-it’s what consultants are for.

8. Understand the Digital Big Picture. This last one is more of a philosophical mistake to avoid.. As a company, consultant, marketer or whatever, it’s important for you to understand that things will be changing. Rapidly. Don’t ever assume that the space that you operate in, is static. It’s not. Yesterday does not look like tomorrow. Always keep one eye on the prize and another on what’s on the horizon. Like? Mobile, Mobile social, Mobile search, and social search…


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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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