Content Discovery Smackdown: Hootsuite vs. Buffer vs. KloutContent Marketing Minds: Ingredients of the Tastiest Content [Nutrition Label]From the Corn Field to the Digital Era: Content Marketing Starts with TrustContent Marketing: Is 2014 Really Shaping Up to Be the Year of Video?
Your Customers Aren’t Listening! How to Create Consumer Dialogue that Converts4 Tools for Nonprofit Social Listening and Reputation ManagementThe Promising Role of Social Listening in Treating Health IssuesThe Importance of Social Listening for Brands
- Public Relations
Facebook Testing a Way for Users to Buy Products on the Platform7 Website Tips to Attract More Shoppers to Your PagesHow eCommerce, Augmented and Virtual Reality Will Redefine the Retail ExperienceSearch Query Analysis to Increase eCommerce Website Conversions
- Content Marketing
Technology & Data
Social Startups: Bizible Connects All the Dots from Marketing Contributions to RevenueCreating the Perfect Profile for Your Social Media Marketing EffortUsing GPS and Localization for Social AnalyticsAnalytics and Prospect Intel: Discovering Your Ideal Prospect
- Big Data
- Tech & Innovation
3 Security Risks You’re Taking Every Day While Using Social MediaShould the President Have the Power to "Pull the Plug" on the Internet?How Safe is Your WordPress Website From Hackers and Other Malicious Attacks?
- Software & Tools
- Small Business
- Social Organization
Celebrating the Grand Re-Launch of Social Media Today! SBH Podcast Episode 8Why Should You Care If Your Employees Are Thought Leaders?Beyond Engagement: The Art of Managing Social-Media Risk in Employee Advocacy
Why All-in-One Social Media Management Systems Don't Cut It for Social Customer ServiceWhat You Should Know About Customer, Digital, and Contextual ExperienceSurging into Q3: How to Make It Better Than Q2Is How You Serve Your Customers Costing You Business?
Join us September 15th in Atlanta for The Employee Advocacy Summit and learn how to unleash the power of your employees.
Post your event here and we'll share it with our community. If one of our members is featured, we'll promote as well on their profile.
- Marketplace & Webinars
The SMT Marketplace
Your resource for exclusive content and insights from Social Media Today, and opportunities to reach our community of professionals.
The Social Business Book Club brings you books, discussions, and insights from today's to business thought leaders.
Join interactive talks and and panel discussions with leading thinkers and practitioners on social media and networked business, or browse the catalogue of recorded sessions - all completely free.
Reach Social Media Today's community of marketing and communications professionals in an editor-approved context with a native advertising package.
Social Media Marketing Hype is Finally Challenged
Posted on June 26th 2014
Recently the Wall Street Journal ran an article titled “Social Media Fail to Live Up to Early Marketing Hype”. The article goes on to say that brands and agencies are altering their social media strategies to focus on “real business objectives.” This is just one example of a growing narrative about marketers’ frustrations with social marketing.
Our view: it’s about damn time.
The single biggest obstacle that we see in the market right now is the distortion caused by people with bad data and misinformed approaches to success. Of course social media usage for brands needs to focus on real business objectives. The fact that this even needs to be said is perhaps testament to the ability of hype to distort something valuable well beyond what is defensible or sustainable.
So if you’re going to discount the hype, what’s left?
The key is using data to systematically help brands, agencies, and publishers reach the huge audiences on social platforms. I suggest that you consider these three points in thinking about your approach to social marketing:
1. You can't simply buy your way into any conversation.
Consumers have worked hard to curate their social streams. They have done the work on whom to follow, and what they want to see. If you're going to try to insert your message into someone's feed, but you have no context as to whether or not you'll be successful, then you are part of the problem. With considerably more than a billion participants on social networks, the people you want to reach—who also want you to reach them—are out there.
You can use contextual clues found in the data to be considerate, and to find consumers when they want to be found. Blurting out your message simply because you have money to throw behind your brand message isn't creating a good user experience, and isn’t helping you. And you are doing something even worse than wasting money: you are investing in future resistance to your message by teaching people you are frequently off-topic and inconsiderate of the social value of your messaging.
2. Demographic targeting alone will not get you the results you want.
You can have the right demographic targets and still be wrong. This is one of the more common problems we see in companies’ approach to social marketing. The social feed isn't banner advertising where there's an implied agreement as to which part of the screen is the reader's and which is the advertiser's. In the social feed you are effectively borrowing peoples' time, and as such, you must be mindful of their context in order to get their attention. Demographic or geographic modeling alone in a social setting can feel discourteous, cold and forced. If a subgroup of users are engaged with content about a funeral, for instance, a message about sports cars is not likely to resonate—even if all the demographics are correct.
If they aren't interested in what you have to say, your audience won't engage with you, no matter how accurate your demographic research. There are signals out there that can inform what people are interacting with. You ignore those signals at your peril.
3. Influencer marketing is often a flawed strategy.
By tailoring your message to a perceived elite tier of “influencers”, you are targeting (aka, restricting) your message to a subset of users in the hope that their engagement will then get you greater distribution.
Instead, it makes more sense to create quality messaging directly for the audience you want to reach—especially the audience who found you because they wanted to connect with you. You can then use the broad reach of social to find other, similarly interested users.
Don’t start with influencers and then try to create a relevant message. Instead, start with a relevant message, and use that to create influencers.
Social media marketing truly can be effective. People are frustrated because the standard of practice has largely been to ignore the data; to use the social channel in ways which are inherently discourteous and not very social; and to rely on assumptions which can be disproved with a bit of critical thought and analysis.
Social media marketing is not easy, but it is incredibly rewarding when done the right way. The people you'd want to reach are out there and the customers you want to acquire are willing to pay attention at least some of the time. But if you do not respect what and when they're willing to share, consume and talk about, it is nearly impossible to succeed with a social campaign—and any success you have is likely to be the result of luck, and not scalable or repeatable.