Social Media Marketing 2015

What’s up with social media marketing these days? 

social media marketing

Lots.

It is morphing, expanding, and transforming making it difficult to keep up.

While on every Internet corner, you’ll hear the shout to produce more and more content to entice engagement – more Facebook posts, more Twitter tweets, more LinkedIn, more images, more videos, more times of the day and more stuff.

All the while, the Internet has become massively bloated with content – content few have the desire, time or energy to read.

Mark Schaefer of Grow already identified this fact earlier this year with his Content Shock post. In his post, Schaefer laid out the pros and cons of a More Content strategy.

Social Media Marketing Paradox

Study after study shows that the Big Brands are investing more resources into social media.

Why?

Because the Big Brands believe social media is delivering business to the bottom line through increased awareness, brand loyalty, increased leads all at decreased costs of traditional media channels.

Yet, a recent study by TrackMavens shows that:

  • A growing majority of professional marketing content fails to have an impact.
  • Between 2013 and 2014, content output increase by 78% and engagement decreased by 60%.
  • Brand generated content is seeing the lowest engagement rates now that any time in 2013 and 2014.
  • 43% of professionally-marketed blog posts receive fewer than 10 interactions.

What does this mean?  If the Big Brands aren’t getting engagement, how can the little guy expect to generate engagement with Social Media Marketing?

Good question.

First, let’s step back and ask ourselves why the decreases in social media interaction are happening.

1.  Social Media is growing some Facial Hair

Or Social Media is losing its new car smell, losing its luster.  It’s been around for a decade and people have become used to its presence.

This isn’t unique to Social Media.  It happens to every new thingy…the car, the airplane, the cell phone…it is part of the natural progression of things. What starts off with a bang, becomes embedded into our everyday lives and has less dramatic appeal.

It means a ‘new’ normal is being established.

2.   Consumers are becoming more Selective

Face it.  No one but the weirdest among us have the time or inclination to liven minute to minute on social media.   So the audience – your audience – is learning to be more selective about who gets what piece of their attention.  This speaks to Schaefer’s point

3.  Consumers place a higher value on non-branded content

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, customers rank traditional media and online search engines as the most trusted sources of information (63% and 65%, respectively). The trustworthiness of social media and owned media, however, trails by a third (45% and 44%, respectively).

With time, the trustworthiness of social and owned media will continue to decline.

4.  Consumers have some well-founded trust issues

Consumers are becoming more cynical about social media marketing from brands. They don’t really trust it.

The result is they pre-select the companies they want to do business with through online searching, peer-to-peer reviews, online ratings and company reviews.  This is BEFORE they ever land on a website, walk into a store or talk to a company rep.

5.  Consumers are weary of being ‘SOLD’ and the latest Social Media Marketing tactic

Rather than being tricked into giving a ‘like’ or a ‘tweet’, consumers far prefer to be educated, wooed, courted, encouraged, armed.

An example provided by TrackMaven demonstrates this fact.

The Pottery Barn wanted to increase its presence on Pinterest.  More pins did NOT result in more engagement.

Social media Marketing - Pottery Barn Before

However, once Pinterest changed the content of the pins, it did begin to see more engagement.

Social Media Marketing - Pottery Barn After

What is the difference between content?  It moved from this interesting image with 41 interactions…

Social Media Marketing - PB 1

To this “how-to” throw a cheese party with 571 interactions.  Posts were more educative, informative and more about the consumer and less about Pottery Barn.

Social Media Marketing - PB

What does all of this mean? 

It means, independent sales and service professionals – little guys like you – have an opportunity over the Big Brands when it comes to Social Media Marketing – if you will just seize it.

Your clear advantage of being small is being nimble, quick and responsive.  Big Brands lumber.

Whatever you do…don’t give up.  Better you upgrade your content.

Don’t make more content. Make every piece ‘woo-worthy’ of being distributed and noticed. 

Here’s a simple basic plan to help you do just that.

1.  Have a Social Media Plan of Action

Know your…

What – What do you want to accomplish through your social media marketing?

How – How will you measure your goal?

Who – Who do you want to reach?

Where – Which social media platform do you want to use to engage with them? Don’t say “all”.  Instead, say “this one platform is best because it is the best fit for my company and for my audience”.  Remember: You want to be responsive so focus your efforts where it will deliver you the most return and fit your bandwidth.

When – When will your audience be on that platform?  Not when will you be in the office…but when will they be online.

2.  Use your critical eye

Evaluate your current online presence and improve those areas that need to be addressed – better visuals, stronger positioning, calls to action, free or more enticing incentives, etc.

3.  Create Woo Worthy Content

Create or share the following pieces of content:

  • Top 5 questions you hear from users or from shoppers
  • Top 10 questions buyers need to ask before purchasing
  • Top 5 mistakes buyers make when using your product
  • 10 things buyers don’t know but should about how your product is made
  • 5 How-tos that relate to your product or service
  • 6 events to have throughout the year with a special speaker that pertains to your product, service or some area that you know will appeal to your customers/fans.
  • 6 user contests where your customers/fans send in photos, provide stories, etc. related to your product or to an upcoming holiday
  • Share industry or product related research
  • Share postings from your most influential fans and customers
  • Share postings from movie stars, musicians, online and offline personalities your audience likes
  • Add some news-jacking content where you link your company, fans or products to some recent new event you know your audience cares about (e.g. Oscars, Super Bowl winner, color of the dress, etc.).

Notice that the proposed content is NOT about YOU or directly about purchasing your product.  It is about your audience and arming them with information that helps them become a better buyer and giving them material that tells them you understand who they are and what they like.

4.  Create a Customer Review Campaign

Don’t forget that consumers are doing the pre-shopping through customer and online reviews. So start collecting those reviews and don’t be afraid to feature them in your Social Media Marketing efforts.

5.  Tear it Apart and Repackage It

Take your content apart and spoon it out in bits and reformat it into ebooks, slides, infographics, video presentations, etc.

6.  Plot It

Create a Social Media Marketing Calendar plotting out your content and follow it consistently.

7. Incorporate Repetition

Plan on when and how to reuse your woo worthy content. In other words, one posting is not enough.  You should always figure out how to reuse or recycle each piece of content.  Think of it as building in reruns…like with TV programming.  Add the reruns to your Calendar.

8.  Automate It

Use automation tools for your postings wherever possible.  It will save you time, eliminate frustration and procrastination.  It will also give you more time to be responsive and engaging.  Use built-in automated scheduling tools or Hootsuite, Buffer or any other tool that allows you to pre-post in your selected Social Media platform.

9.  Evaluate Results

Review your Social Media Marketing results and do more of what works.

Conclusion

You can’t ignore social media as it has become ingrained into our everyday lives.

Today, you have to create truly woo worthy content to generate engagement and overcome consumer skepticism.

You have to have an easy to follow system that allows you to optimize your ‘small’ and ‘responsive’ advantages.

Lastly, you have to take consistent action. Use every tool you can to make the process easier.

Sheila Hibbard

Sheila Hibbard takes the fluff, hype and confusion out of marketing and social media. She provides small business owners with straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results based on her 35 plus years in advertising, communications, research, strategic planning and social media. Author of Marketing Online Made Simple - WHO.

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