Social media has changed our world in many different ways. It has changed the way we communicate, it has created new industries and sources of employment, new professions, it changed the way we listen to music, the way we make buying decisions, even the way we make new friends or find a romantic partner.
Marketing and advertising are also changing dramatically with new media sources; the normal mass market approach has been replaced by segmentation of smaller niche activities. Those people who claim that advertising is dying perhaps don’t understand…. it’s not dying. It is simply evolving.
In order to successfully adapt as marketing professionals, we need to adapt to the new environment and thus change our approach. I have outlined five basic principles that will illuminate this transition process and help us all to create compelling marketing campaigns using social media:
1. Awareness: Marketing success in social media begins with becoming fully aware. Aware of your audience, the way they use social media and the message that is conveyed to them. Unlike mass marketing, social media is about engagement, it is about understanding what users are passionate about, and creating a compelling message that captures this passion and sparks engagement; via dialogue, viral marketing and perception about your product/brand. Awareness also translates into the understanding of how to present your message using different social media channels (Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, etc…), and adapting to each without changing your main goal or the essence of your campaign.
2. Optimization: Most of us are familiar with the idea of optimization. Optimization as defined by Webster’s dictionary is: the act, process or methodology of making something (a design, system, or decision) as fully perfect, functional, or effective as possible.
In terms of social media marketing this translates into the ability to test different messages, marketing channels and make a multitude of adjustments and tweaks to the way you present your product or service without changing your main objective. Social media optimization is very different to other types of media, since messages are more targeted, and users are more engaged—you therefore need to update creative frequently or it will become old and stale quickly. Dynamic creative and targeted headlines are the solution to this common problem. (Sample messages and ideas to follow)
3. Engagement: Eder Holguin (www.ederholguin.com), a social entrepreneur and the CEO of Ideal Media content discovery platform, suggests “Engagement is the key to success when marketing your product or service using any social media channel. Success in this new emerging media lies in the connection between companies/brands and the people who define the market of interest“. Here are some ideas that can drive engagement on these channels:
- Understand the social communities that your product or service aims to target and tailor your message accordingly. Via use of their specific language, choices and interests, you will increase engagement with your brand and create a positive perception.
- Find a problem, frustration or concern that is common to these communities and present your product as a possible solution.
- Become an active participant in the community you wish to target. – Learn from your successes and improve upon them.
4. Metrics: As companies begin to adopt social media efforts and understand the need to have a presence, the big question is: how do we measure ROI? How do you know how effective your social media efforts are? Most companies don’t measure ROI for their company’s social media programs, and the ones that do only measure the following 3 metrics:
- Amount of visitors and sources of traffic.
- Size (followers, fans or members)
- Engagement and perception about your brand/product.
These are the easiest to measure but they don’t really paint a clear picture of how effective your social media programs are. Here are some additional metrics I would suggest you measure:
- Leads: Assign individual creative IDs and other key tracking tools and measure their effectiveness; this way you can dissect attribution and understand where your leads are coming from.
- Duration: how much time are your members spending using your application, visiting your page, reading your materials?
- Viral activity: are your members or followers inviting others to join your page, to follow your brand? Are they sharing your tweets, videos?
- Interaction: Are your fans posting content or creating dialogue on your page? Are they actively participating on your blog?
To summarize: Social media has changed the way we interact and communicate. As digital marketers it is important to be aware of these changes and adapt to them. New channels of communication require a different set of tools, management and optimization and a different approach. As the famous quote by Charles Darwin says: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”