(Note: This post originally appeared on the Salesforce Marketing Cloud blog on November 12, 2013. It was awarded the gold medal as “Best Individual Post – Social Media” by the Content Marketing Institute as part of the 2013 Content Marketing Awards.)
Are you a social business? The evolution towards becoming a business fully entrenched in social media is in full swing. The International Data Corporation expects an annual growth in spending to hit 42.4% for enterprise social collaboration and enterprise social networking platforms between 2011 and 2016 according to a 2012 report. The time is now to make the move towards the fully connected social business and we’ve got a few tips to help make that happen for your organization.
1. Social Listening
Social media listening is the process of rooting out those posts, tweets, and status updates that matter to your brand among the millions that are generated every single day. Listen for what social media users are saying about your company, your competitors, your products, even your executives. Listen to find out why consumers love your products, or why they don’t. Listen for trending topics within your industry to spot new markets and new product opportunities. Listen for sales and lead generation opportunities. Everything begins with becoming a good listener.
2. Social Content
Quality content puts your brand’s knowledge, thought leadership, and services into formats that can be shared and bookmarked, and referred back to by both your clients and potential clients. As Jeff notes, “Social content needs to provide value and encourage action.” The best content is educational, actionable, relevant to business needs, and highly shareable. If you’re churning out top-notch, useful content, your online community will be that much more likely to become customers and, just as importantly, send more customers your way. For more on developing a content marketing strategy, check out this free ebook.
Active listening creates engagement opportunities around your awesome content, as well as your brand name, and any customer issues or crises that may arise. The rise of social media allows brands to engage with consumers in ways not previously possible. You can solicit customer stories much easier, help customers in a flash, and of course, use a CRM system to fully track your engagement activities. A strong plan for engagement will help solidify relationships with your clients/audience leaving them feeling more connected to your brand. Need help getting started? We’ve got an ebook for that as well, 20 Ways to Succeed at Social Media Engagement.
4. Social Ads
Social ads allow for tracking and measurement and can be targeted much easier than more traditional ads. Social ads can be targeted based on age, gender, location, ever users’ interests. Social ads are those ads that are displayed to users who have friends that are fans of the advertised brand(s) in question. According to research from Nielsen, social ads generate a 55% increase in ad recall compared to NON-social ads. Social ads can be utilized to promote your top-performing content and help entice your followers to share your brand’s message. For more, check out Everything you Need to know about Social Ads.
As Jeff Cohen notes, “Establish measurements of success for your activities before beginning.” The notion that social marketing practices can’t be measured isn’t accurate. You can measure just about everything, and you should. Social shares, SEO, web analytics, total leads generated, page views, ad conversions; all of it is measurable. This ebook, 5 Steps to Effective Social Media Measurement, will help get you started on tracking the effectiveness of your various social media endeavors.
6. Workflow & Automation
Take all the social data you’re collecting and keep it open and readily available to all of your departments. Workflow and automation bring the above five steps together. Grounding it all with a quality CRM platform, take the massive amounts of social data that’s available and combine it with real-time metrics and engagement measures to develop the type of relationship with your clients that will help make them customers for life.