Social Media Is Maturing
Social media has become one of the most talked about marketing subjects ever. It has also changed forever how brands use media channels: to communicate, manage their reputation, recruit talent, research customers as well as develop brand awareness.
Social media is maturing though. To compete for prospects, customers, fans and the public, businesses need to differentiate themselves in their use of social media. The noise is building – it isn’t about staying ahead it is also about differentiation.
Social media channels, tools and techniques are now regularly built into marketing campaigns. Here are a few facts and figures about current use and adoption:
- 73% (365) of Fortune 500 primary companies have corporate Twitter accounts. This is an increase of 11% from 2011. Source: UMass Dartmouth
- Over 75% of CMO’s believe that social media drives sales : Source Bazaarvoice
- use of social media is up from 44% to 53% among small businesses (1-99 employees) and up from 52% to 63% among medium businesses (100-999 employees). Source: Research and Markets
- Marketers rate social media as the second-most imporant factor (64%) in search, behind only strong content (82%). Source: BtoB Magazine
- 47% of b2b marketers say they are actively using LinkedIn vs. 90% on Facebook. Source: Social Media B2B.
- 70% of local businesses use Facebook.The U.S. has the largest number of Facebook users. The country with the second-largest Facebook population: Indonesia Source: Jeff Bullas
- Facebook is the leading source of referred social media traffic to websites, at 26%. Twitter is second at 3.6%. Source: Pooky Shares
- 66% of digital marketers surveyed working for companies with an annual turnover of more than £100m agreed that ‘social media is integral to business strategy’. Source: eConsultancy
- 75% of business owners have been “put off” a particular company due to their poor use of social media. Source: Telegraph
5 Ways To Stand Out From the Crowd
According to an IDC study similar to Internet adoption in the 1990’s, B2C companies – especially retailers – are driving social media adoption while B2B companies lag behind.
With competition mounting and more businesses getting on board with social media it is important to stand out from the crowd. Here are five proven ways to improve your social media efforts.
Wildfire released a report called ‘How Superbrands Breed Superfans’ based on an analysis of 10,000 Facebook campaigns. One of the key points was to ensure you use images to attract and engage with your audience. We are hard wired to take the world in using images and we learn better this way (see Dales Cone of Experience).
Instagram and Pinterest are the fastest-growing social networks on a global scale. Instagram has grown over 2,000% in the last year in the UK and over 17,000% in North America, it now has over 80M users. Pinterest is growing rapidly with a further 8M users added since January, now standing at 20M. Yet only an estimated 7% of marketers are using Pinterest.
Every brand uses images to convey their message – non-profits, public sector, BtoC and BtoB. Instagram can be a useful tool in the social media armoury but as always you need to match the profile of your audience to that of the social network.
Match the image to the key message you are looking to convey and understand the best time to post on any network. Provide a clear call to action – share this, click to see more like this…don’t simply promote
Marketing is a blend of science and art. The science is to research and understand your market and customer and distil this into viable commercial opportunities to meet customers needs. However, the art is to win the heart of the customer, to create a brand advocate – why because they share more and add more value to your business.
Creative content can set you apart and since content is now the hub of customer engagement. The tools now allow you to experiment and use media in new and exciting ways. Here are some examples:
Use a mix of commercial and creative people to come up with some ideas. Get people to work in small teams to come up with ideas; recognise and reward people’s ideas and actively follow up with people to know they are appreciated. Embedding social into a business is about taking those small steps with your people (not just the training and tools). Some examples:
- See what information in your industry is out dated or not known – update and publish a summary.
- Find the top problem customers have and how you can provide help to solve their problem.
- Choose two social media tools that you haven’t used before and (if your customers use them) come up with ideas on how you can integrate them into a campaign
Focus on The Customer Journey
Customers often research a company and market before they commit to purchasing. The higher value the product or service and the more complex the more research will be done. We don’t like to take risks with our money (BtoC) or others (BtoB).
Mapping the customer journey and provide helpful and relevant content at each stage that helps them solve problems or overcome the uncertainty. Download our marketing persona template to see a simple example.
Have a Purpose – Identify Your Voice
One thing people can learn from some of the best charities is that they rally people behind a cause. A purpose gives you a clear identity and you can use this to drive your content marketing and conversations on social media. Ask yourself Why Should People Want to Be Involved With Our Business.
Respond To Your Community
Recent research from Socialbakers showed that up to 70% of fans were being ignored by brands on social media. people participate in a 90% to 9% to 1% ratio. 90% observe or passively consume content, 9% take small actions such as sharing and 1% create content or actively engage or influence others. Now if we take the idea that on social media communities the (9% + 1%) 10% you are ignoring creates a bad impression to a far wider audience.
Develop your community, foster your brand advocates: reward and recognise your fans and followers.