Like everything technology related, social media marketing has evolved over the past few years. Where it was once important to just be present on the various networks, it is now important to know how to use social media wisely, creatively and efficiently.
Everyone has a social presence these days, which has caused the pendulum to swing from early adoption to creativity. Us, the keys to social success in 2013 is much different than they have been in the past.
Having worked in the digital agency world for quite a while, I have seen it all when it comes to social media: from the super-creative to the superfluous and ineffective. Here are a few of the important commonalities that I have seen recently in successful social activities.
Social is a Tactic, Not a Stand-Alone Campaign:
In years gone by, you could get away with stand-alone social media campaigns. In hindsight, they were terrible ideas, but we were all still experimenting and didn’t know any better.
Now, to be successful and get real results, social needs to be a part of a larger, integrated marketing campaign. Yes, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest could be a centerpiece of a campaign, but it needs to be supported by other marketing channels- online and off.
Know Your Marketing Goals:
I don’t know how many times I have looked at a social activation and wondered how the heck it fit into the brand’s overall marketing goals. In most cases, it probably didn’t. In accordance with social as a tactic, marketers need to define what their brand goals are, than the specific campaign goals and then figure out how social fits into the mix. Social should almost always be part of a modern-day marketing plan, but marketers need to get into the habit of thinking larger campaign first, then social.
Be Willing to Spend:
Want to get your head chewed off by a digital strategist? Tell them that social media is free, or worse, tell them that an intern can “do” social media.
Strategists know the truth. Social success is neither free nor a job for amateurs. If you want to be successful, you need to invest in advertising, analytics, monitoring and automation tools.
You also need to invest in strategy and campaign management. Yes, an intern could monitor your social listening channels or pull analytics reports, but why on earth would you want to entrust your brand’s digital voice and advertising budget to someone at has little to no accountability to the company? You are missing an enormous opportunity when you do not invest in experienced strategy, management, advertising and the proper tools for your social media efforts.
Know and Follow the Rules:
For years, social networks have been notorious for setting ground rules for business participation and then not enforcing them. It is tough to blame them too much for this. Some of these networks had millions of users and only a handful of staff. How on earth could they possibly monitor all network activity?
This slowly changing and marketers are starting to feel pain from enforcement. Facebook has tightened their advertising and page guidelines with their recent 20% rule. There are much that is wrong with Facebook’s recent dive into guideline enforcement, but it is clear that they mean business. The world of social networks is very much a follow-the-leader business, so once Facebook figures out enforcement, one can assume the other networks will follow suit.
You are investing in your social channels. The last thing you want is for a network to deem you in violation of their guidelines and shut down your account or advertisements. Social network purgatory is not a fun place to be in. Always make sure that someone on your team knows the guidelines for each network you participate in and stays up to date with any changes in policy.
These are just a few of the keys to modern-day social success. In future posts, I will be covering a lot more. Be sure to subscribe to blog updates (in the top right corner of this page) to be first to know about new posts. We are all in this marketing thing together, and I aim to help out as much as I can by reporting from the digital front lines and giving my interpretation of what I am seeing.