STUDY: The State of Social Marketing 2012 – 2013
Social media exists in a state of constant change, which means community managers must evaluate and adapt their strategies often to achieve established goals. Implementing a stagnate social media plan can end up costing your company more than it benefits you. Simply because one tactic worked well when you first launched your social initiative does not guarantee that success will continue. It is imperative that social marketers are always learning and planning for the next wave of social media consumers.
In a recent survey by the Pivot Conference, 181 professional social marketers offered their opinions of the current state and future of social marketing. The results of this survey are always enlightening, and from 2012 to 2013, several trends emerged that warrant closer examination.
When asked about their organization’s or clients’ primary goals for social marketing in the coming year, respondents indicated a shift from a direct focus on sales coming from social media efforts, to working toward increasing consumer engagement and brand lift.
This response makes sense to true social media marketers because yes, we want social media to impact the bottom line and generate sales. However, we also understand that the foundation of the social movement was to humanize brands, foster relationships and open a dialogue between companies and their customers. By providing a channel for communication to flow freely, companies have an opportunity to increase brand awareness and loyalty while monitoring their customer satisfaction score. This enables companies to act swiftly to rectify an issue and hopefully prevent major reputation damage. A resurgence of focus on measuring engagement shows that companies are going back to the fundamentals of social marketing with the understanding that increased engagement translates into brand loyalty and increased sales.
When asked which benefit social marketers believe their consumers are expecting from their engagement, more than 60% of respondents answered exclusive content.
Creating original content and becoming a trusted and valued resource for your consumers has become a driving force for engagement. In this time where anyone can become a publisher, it is no longer enough to repost news or information from other sources. Consumers are seeking value-added information to maintain their visitation to a brand’s social timeline. If you are not providing your own blogs, white papers, recipes, or photography then you will likely see a dip in engagement as your consumers find what they are seeking elsewhere.
When asked if experimentation is a permanent fixture in social marketing, an overwhelming number (85%) of social media professionals said yes.
We couldn’t agree more. Experimentation is fundamental to social media management because social media is ever-evolving. Organizations cannot adopt one constant strategy and achieve social success. Companies should have a general guideline and stay true to the brand identity, but keep it fresh and exciting for their audience. Experiment with new content, but most importantly ASK your audience what they want to see. More than 50% of this survey’s respondents indicated that they have never asked their social audience what type of content would benefit them most. Sometimes the simplest, most straightforward of questions will provide the most insight.
As the social movement ages, we learn more about interacting with our audiences. Keep an open mind, reevaluate often and test different tactics to see what works best for you. Don’t assume that you already know the answers because often times, you don’t.
For more Pivot Conference survey results, click here: http://www.pivotcon.com/research_reports/SOS2013.pdf
June 13, 2013 - Posted by Joy Wise | 1, Digital, Interactive, Interactive Trends, Internet Marketing, Marketing Trends, Measurement, Metrics, Return on Investment (ROI), Social Media, Strategies | business goals, Customer Engagement, measurable goals, Pivot, Social Media, strategy, survey results
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