For the past few months, there have been varying posts discussing the importance of social media marketing, the downfalls, and the ways to increase your ROI (return on investment). It’s come time to begin to summarize everything we’ve learned together over those months.
There are six tools that are essential to social media marketing success. Facebook and Twitter undoubtedly make the list. Twitter has developed since its creation, and it’s become one of the absolute most popular social media sites. Businesses have turned their attention towards it, customers, and just day-to-day users. There’s an audience. A great aspect of Twitter is its utilization of hashtags. They allow for a brand to make their own trend, to start something that will grow. Nike is known for this, and one of their most popular “hashtag campaigns” was their #MakeItCount campaign.
Facebook is a great place for marketing as well. You can create pages with followers, and there isn’t as much going on on a user’s timeline as there is with Twitter. A typical issue that is becoming far too common however? Social media algorithms that are changing the way we keep up with friends. The sites determine who they think we’d like to see information and photos from, rather than showing us the most recent. So unless you have quite a following, this can be problematic.
The other important tools for effective social media marketing are images (ESSENTIAL! You need to give your fans a face! Some color! Some graphics!), content, building a community, and starting a campaign.
It’s going to take a lot of work! But if you’ve learned alongside me these past months, you’re on your way to success!
Why spend all this time learning about social media marketing if it isn’t going to benefit your company for the better?
It’s important to be able to determine your Return on Investment (or ROI). Ad Age offers five steps to do just that.
Ad Age predicts that by 2017, 16% of digital ad spending will consist of social media marketing. One could measure their online social media popularity through fans, followers, retweets, and shares. However, popularity doesn’t always correlate with investors. In order to truly determine how much your business is being affected by digital advertising, these five steps will help get you there:
- Align your social media goals with your business objectives.
- Identify your key performance indicators.
- Benchmark against your competitors.
- Assign values to your key performance indicators.
- Set up Google Analytics to track conversions.
Checking all of this is important. If your ROI doesn’t seem high, that doesn’t mean that you are wasting your time or that you should give up. It means you’re learning what isn’t working, and that allows you to move one step closer to find a strategy that does work.
I didn’t fail. I just found 2,000 ways not to make a lightbulb; I only needed to find one way to make it work. – Thomas Edison
Don’t give up. You’re only getting closer.
Earlier this week the annual event Social Media Marketing World – hosted by a site I reference often, the Social Media Examiner, was held in San Diego.
Some of the brightest minds in technology and social media join together to make predictions about what’s to come. They created a list of the “next big things” for 2016:
According to the event’s keynote speaker Mike Stelzner, founder of the Social Media Examiner, the following statistics will apply to video in 2016:
- 58% of marketers will seek to improve YouTube knowledge
- 73% will increase their use of video
- 21% claim it’s the most important form of marketing today
There was also talk that Facebook is going to lead the social media world, and Snapchat is becoming increasingly popular. In fact, at this year’s event, many speakers used their Snapchat avatars to introduce themselves, according to business.com.
Every week another article is written about the increasing popularity and importance of social media marketing, so it’s important to have a few tips to make sure you’re on top of your game:
- You need to come up with a theme for your online persona.
- Role-play: come up with a controversial social media post and go over it with a friend, seeing how they react and what they’d suggest doing differently.
- Analyze competitors’ posts to see how you can improve your own.
- Similar to role-playing, come up with a “mock disaster” and see how it’s handled.
Social media is word of mouth on steriods
According to Finn McHugh, millennials are the driving force behind social media marketing. However, McHugh takes a different spin on social media marketing. He isn’t referring to writing on social media accounts for a business, promoting your own company, or offering discounts. He is referring to the marketing tactic of word-of-mouth, a way in which many of us inadvertently market for other companies or events
An example McHugh offered was ticket sales for a specific concert or event. He doesn’t need to see advertising through the ticket sales agency or the venue publicizing the concert; he receives word of said event because on his newsfeeds and timelines; his friends are writing about the tickets they have just purchased. Word of mouth online has become the vast way that many of us hear about places or deals, not to mention how we get our news – however that’s another topic entirely.
Given that 37% of millennials feel we are “missing something” if we aren’t active on our social media accounts daily, it’s essential that companies use these sites to grab our attention. In fact, over 85% of millennials own a smart phone, so marketing via a mobile device has become a rather solid way to reach our generation.
We, as a generation, have become marketing’s greatest tool.
As popular as social media has become, recent studies are determining that marketing via the social interweb isn’t actually benefitting companies as much as it can. The solution? According to Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose of the Content Marketing Institute, brands really need to pay money in order to make a real difference.
The reason for this is large in part due to social media algorithms that are making recent and relative posts void. The algorithms post the most popular or attuned-to-you posts first, and if a business isn’t careful or smart about it, they’re going to get lost in the shuffle.
In fact, there’s a direct correlation between these new algorithms and the amount of money Facebook is banking off of them. Business owners can’t rely on a social site to help assist them; they have to take matters into their own hands. Or, as Blaise Lucey puts it, you have to Pay to Play.
Fundamentally, Facebook cares about THEIR business, not about YOUR business. – Jay Baer
Organic reach is what we once had: newer posts at the top in chronological order, and the ability to see everyone’s posts on our feed. According to Social@Ogilvy, posters now stand a 6-12 percent chance of being seen by their audience. Six to 12 percent. That’s it. The one way to fix this is to purchase paid promotions.
It is a shame that a site once designed to let us know what everyone is up to has been altered in order to turn a larger profit, but can we be at all surprised? Now it’s our turn to do what we need to do in order to turn a profit: you’ve got to spend some to make some.
Marketing agencies are having to grow and develop with the always-changing marketing world. Epic Design Labs in Portland, Oregon is ahead of the herd as they incorporate social media marketing services, thus becoming an “all inclusive marketing agency.”
The company claims this now allows them to better help their clients build a marketable website “from start to finish.”
“We specialize in effective web design and e-commerce. We help you with all aspects of your online marketing, including web design, search engine optimization, branding, video and now also social media design. We want to set ourselves apart as a one-stop shop for all digital marketing needs, and we’re happy to see how much support we are already getting from our clients.” – Kalon Wiggins of Epic Design Labs
Interestingly enough, one of the company’s “specialized knowledge and skills” is actually WordPress, and they claim to have trained themselves on every aspect of social media marketing so as to better assist their clients. This is a step that all marketing agencies are going to eventually need to make, especially in this technology-based, millennial-driven world. There are a few other start-up companies taking advantage of this, such as Firebelly, which focuses more on social media than any other aspect of marketing.
This coming weekend a conference will be held to discuss social media marketing strategies. On March 31 and April 1, experts from around the country will gather at the Aloft Hotel in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Visitors to the conference will hear experts and entrepreneurs discuss how social media has enhanced their businesses in regards to productivity and efficiency. They will be providing advice and strategies for social media marketing hopefuls. The conference has been around since 2011 and is called SMTULSA – Social Media Tulsa.
This goes to show the ever-growing effect of marketing via social media. It’s no longer just an idea, it’s a concept that is being utilized and taught.
“Social media is not just an activity; it is an investment of valuable time and resources. Surround yourself with people who not just support you and stay with you, but inform your thinking about ways to WOW your online presence” – Sean Gardner