As part of a refresh in our approach here at Social Media Today, we've introduced a new SMT Influencers program to help share the insights of the brightest minds in the social media industry... and answer your social media questions. As an introduction to our SMT Influencers, we asked a selection of them to respond to the question: "What's the biggest opportunity in social media marketing right now?" Their answers are below in our first ever Ask SMT column. In the future, we'll be looking to our Influencers to answer commonly asked community questions and provide their expert insights and analysis for your benefit..
Question: "What's the biggest opportunity in social media marketing right now?"
"You have a remarkable opportunity to produce and publish media. Any media. Instantly.
Every hurdle's been removed. Creating media isn't difficult or expensive.
Want to publish stories, opinion pieces, or educational articles? Blog.
Want to talk to your prospects? Podcast.
Want your audience to look you in the eyes? Create videos.
These are just three examples. You can do all of the above and much more.
In each and every case, you have to opportunity to invoke a dialog, create connections and build trusting relationships in ways that were inconceivable in the 20th century.
Some brands are excited about the opportunity and some aren't. The majority simply tinkers.
Digital media presents all kinds of new doors. Your opportunity lies in opening those doors, stepping in and stepping up.
Social media presents a spectrum of platforms you can tap into to establish a voice and make it heard. Do you have something to say?"
- Barry Feldman, Director at Feldman Creative
"I believe the biggest opportunity in social media marketing right now is leveraging companies' full employee base to amplify social media efforts.
Every employee has the opportunity to become a brand ambassador and each employee has a (generally) untapped network and reach. Too often, social media is still being performed by too small of a team within each organization - it's still too isolated and not being looked at as another part of the marketing mix, HR mix and even IT team.
The more you include all your employees in your social media marketing efforts, the more cohesive your team will become. This not only helps expand your social media reach, but it allows your staff to feel more part of the process and that what they have to say actually makes a difference (which it does).
And you'd be surprised how willing employees are to get involved. They most likely have had ideas and things they've thought of sharing, but perhaps haven't been made to feel like they have a voice, or that their ideas wouldn't matter, if they were directly working in marketing."
- Lucy Rendler Kaplan, Founder, Arkay Marketing and PR
"Video video video - we all know it, but not enough businesses are capitalizing on the opportunity.
With Snapchat active users surpassing Twitter, and Facebook video views smashing YouTube out of the water, custom video content is the number one form of easily digestible content that's resonating best with users.
Forget content in the form of articles and photos - only when marketers have fully endorsed video will their social media engagements soar, no matter how young or old their audience is.
And the great thing about video? Everyone has the ability to create Oscar-winning content through their smartphone in 2016."
- Chris Kyriacou, Managing Director, iSocial UK
"The biggest opportunity in social media marketing right now is customer service. It doesn't sound like a marketing opportunity, but the sooner marketers change their tune on this the faster they'll be able to benefit. Social media is the only channel where customers can actually talk back, and when you market to them, they do just that. And believe it or not, they don't always talk about your latest marketing campaign. They want help - often for issues that the company itself has created through a substandard customer experience. And they want it now. Your advertisement showing up in their feed reminds them to reach out to you.
Brands that do customer service on social media well (such as those featured on my Focus on Customer Service Podcast) have quickly learned that solving customers' problems is actually one of the best marketing opportunities out there. Happy customers engage more with your brand, and tell their friends and followers about you. Yet social media marketers often focus only on "community management," or engaging with people who are responding to their marketing, leaving the Customer Service department to handle complaints and other sticky situations. This is a mistake.
Marketing and Customer Service must work hand-in-hand to make the social media experience great. In fact, if the social media marketing team would take a look at the engagement rate of one-to-one customer service posts, it would blow their minds - 30X or more of even the best marketing campaigns. That's because customers appreciate it when brands interact with them in social media, and they're happy to share it with the world."
- Dan Gingiss, Co-Host of the Focus on Customer Service Podcast
"I see video as the biggest opportunity in social media marketing right now.
Video has long been a way to make your content and your brand stand out - nothing grabs and holds audience attention for training or marketing better than a well done video. But, right now, there's a confluence of technologies that are making video a 'must add' to all content marketing strategies.
Creating videos is becoming easier and more accessible, you no longer need a studio and a crew to make video. Good videos can be produced with as little investment as an iPhone, a tripod, and a good micrphone. On top of that, there are a number of good video editing packages available for low cost or no cost.
Beyond YouTube, the traditional social network to showcases videos, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat have all added video content options over the last two years. Social networks like Vine and Vimeo have influenced the style of videos, demonstrating how video of varying lengths and production quality can have impact. In fact, brands like Tasty are now synonymous with impactful video content marketing.
In addition, live-streaming with services like Meerkat, Periscope, and now Facebook offer a new spectrum of ways for brands to extend reach and engage audiences. But to make the best of live streaming, you have to understand how to do video. Brands need to build video capability now to differentiate their content, and take advantage of this ongoing social media innovation."
- Bob Carver, Principal Consultant, Carver Technology Consulting LLC
The days of asking people to fill out a form with several required fields in order to download an ebook are numbered. I do realize each of those fields have a purpose and are there to qualify leads; however, you won't need them if you use nurture journeys combined with even basic marketing automation.
Let your customers' reactions to your content and their interactions with key sections on your site do the segmenting. Users will have better, more personalized experiences, and you'll get better results."
- A.J. Ghergich, Founder of Ghergich and Co.