We’ve polled some of the savviest sages in social media to help you think through your 2017 social media plan. As it turns out, there are a lot of things to put on your consideration list — from reassessing how you measure your activities to making sure social is integrated into your overall campaign from the start. Oh, and don’t overdo it with brand emojis!
1. Manage Your Metrics:
Brian Kardon, CMO, Fuze
Too many marketers focus solely on their activities — the number of blog posts published, number of webinars hosted, number of field events, and so on. Boards and CEOs do not care. They do care about the results of those activities. Marketers need to do a better job of presenting the results of their efforts — like the number of leads, pipeline created, deals accelerated, higher win rates, etc.
2. Calibrate Your Content:
Stephen Monaco, Chief Strategy Officer, Future Marketing Institute
Marketers need to stop creating content in a vacuum and should develop content marketing strategies that couples each piece of content on every channel with their organization’s overarching objectives — and customer’s needs. There needs to be clear business objectives for content initiatives, including the value that will be delivered to distinct audience personas. Developing audience personas is challenging, but necessary.
3a. Corral Your Channels:
John Lawson, President, ColderICE Media
Stop chasing rainbows. Being everywhere on social media is not a great business strategy. Being relevant and successful on just one or two major platforms will always trump being lackluster everywhere.
3b: Prune Your Platforms:
Brian Moran, Founder & CEO, Brian Moran & Associates
Marketers need to stop worrying about FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and having a presence on every channel/platform. They should double-down their efforts on the platforms most used by customers and prospects, and cut out the channels that simply aren’t working for them.
4. Acknowledge Your Audiences:
Jason Falls, Founder, Partner, Conversation Research Institute
We have got to stop assuming our audience is the same on all social channels. You might be talking to active moms on Facebook, but your Twitter audience might be middle-aged dads. Look at the make up of your various channel audiences and wake up to the fact that the same messaging and creative on all networks is a waste of energy.
I had a client recently whose audience was 51 percent young male adult on Twitter and 66 percent almost middle-aged women on Facebook. They are very different audiences. Stop treating all your channels the same.
5. Cultivate Your Customers:
Kerry O’Shea Gorgone, Senior Program Manager, Enterprise Learning, MarketingProfs
Start throwing as many resources as possible behind your customer experience. Some marketers think their job is done once sales takes over a lead, but in reality, it’s just beginning. The way people experience your brand impacts the way they talk about you, which has a profound effect on the success of your company over the long term. Devote some of your marketing budget to nurturing existing customers or clients: make sure their experience is stellar.
Respond to them when they mention your brand publicly (whether the mention is positive or negative), and cultivate a strong, lasting relationship with your brand’s fans. There are some great books that will help you do this; Mack Collier’s Think Like a Rock Star (http://www.thinklikearockstar.com) can help you to connect with fans, and Jay Baer’s Hug Your Haters (http://www.hugyourhaters.com) can help you to address people who aren’t fans.
6. Step Up Your Staffing:
Tamara McCleary, CEO, Thulium
I recommend that marketers don’t “do social on the cheap.” It’s a mistake to assign social media strategy to a single person, or as I have seen in many companies, handing it off to an inexperienced intern. Successful companies take their social media strategy very seriously and invest in it, just as they invest in other channels. The team owning social must have experience in order to effectively design and execute a profitable social strategy.
As companies experience the impact to the bottom-line of a well-run social strategy, more senior level or director level involvement will be assigned. I’ve worked with a few companies this past year that are running their social strategy so well, (both consumer-facing and company-facing with a stellar employee advocacy program), that they’ve eliminated their ad spend entirely.
7a. Integrate Intensely:
Jeff Snyder, Chief Inspiration Officer, Inspira Marketing Group
As marketers, we need to stop thinking about content marketing and social media as “plus-ups” or “add-ons” to programs that we create in other channels. To drive optimal results for our clients, content and social marketing need to be part of the fabric of almost every program that we create. Ideally, brand and agency teams need to bring influencer and content marketers to the table during the initial strategy and planning stages to develop a fully integrated program.
7b. Integrate “Intensely-er”:
Kelly Wenzel, CMO, Centro
Stop the “swim lane” approach to marketing. It’s all about integration: finding ways to for every single program, tactic or content piece to reinforce another. Best case, they are all working for each other. For example, create content that you can promote via paid social and also organically through your employee’s social networks — then re-promote it a few months later.
8. Correct Complacency:
Martin Jones, Sr. Marketing Manager – Social Media & Content Marketing, Cox Communications
The one thing I would advise against is: becoming complacent when it comes to social media and content marketing. It’s easy to think it might be okay to take your foot of the gas pedal when you have an established audience and social channels. Don’t! Very few things “move at the speed of social” and many times the real value comes from being ahead of the curve, and the competition. I’m not saying that you should jump on every new platform and technology that comes along, but you should be aware of trends and changes, and be unafraid to try something new.
9. Hone Your Handles:
Konstanze Alex, Corporate Social Influencer Relations, Dell
Stop creating social accounts based on your product line-up and begin creating a social account architecture that reflects your customers’ information needs. Social Influencers can really help here. They can represent your customer perspective because, let’s face it, once we are steeped too deeply into a company’s jargon and way of thinking, we will lose the ability to think like our customers. That means we need to build trusted relationships with people who provide constant reality checks.
10. Ease Up on Emojis:
Seth Grimes, President & Principal Consultant, Alta Plana Corporation
It’s OK to create a couple of emojis, if they enhance your brand. But don’t overdo it. It’s PepsiMoji that sent me over the edge. Is the brand so weak that PepsiCo felt it desirable to hitch its branding to a transient social fad? That’s the message I get. Reinforce and strengthen your brand. Don’t submerge and cheapen it.
Have any advice to add to this list? Be sure to let us know.