This post is by Seth Lieberman, CEO of SnapApp. Seth has more than 15 years of online marketing experience. When he is not immersed in social media marketing, you can find him at home in Brookline with his young family or indulging in one of his many hobbies, from gardening to photography to music to woodworking. You can reach Seth at @sethwlieberman or slieberman at snapapp.com.
Over the last twelve months, social media has evolved. What was a nebulous branding opportunity is now viewed as a powerful customer engagement tool and social media “results,” which were focused completely on likes, tweets, and shares—if they were measured at all— are increasingly focused on the impact on the bottom line.
What specifically do social media –savvy companies that are getting real, measurable value from Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and more understand and do well?
1. They have a plan. That plan is reasonable.
Companies that stand to gain the most from their social media usage are those with a thought out, executable strategy grounded in data. They aren’t just throwing darts on the wall, or “Tweets into the Twittersphere,” but instead can clearly articulate exactly what they intend to get out of their social media investment, how they are going to achieve these goals and how they will measure success. Goals may include things as diverse as branding, customer service / trouble shooting, or direct sales, but I am skeptical of any “plan” that expects to accomplish all of these.
2. They realize that who you know is more important than how many you know
The field of consumer marketing is heavily grounded in human psychology and sociology. Rather than emphasizing clicks, shares, comments, and tweets, brands should evaluate the “why” behind the numbers.
As Amy Jo Martin, founder of Digital Royalty explains in Harvard Business Review, the key to monetizing social media is to humanize it. Rather than building a large follower base, brands should focus on reaching influencers who can credible spread messages, as well as niche audiences that are likely to convert into paying customers.
In short, it’s not the clicks, shares, or retweets that drive sales — it’s the people behind them.
3. They “measure twice, cut once,” and then measure again and cut again…
The next generation of social media companies reflect the next generation of social media “needs,” and include the tools and measurement companies: SocMetrics, Klout, Kred, PeerIndex, Tweet Grader, Radian6, SproutSocial, and PeopleBrowsr to name a few. Plus Facebook and Google Analytics offer a growing cache of social media measurement tools—at no cost. The growing number of companies in this space point to the increasing emphasis of understanding and quantifying the value of social media. Why all these tools? Because there is a growing emphasis on the measureable value of social media interactions and investments, and a growing appreciation of the benefits of objectively evaluating a particular strategy/ results and then adjusting the plan to improve results. Of course the newness of the medium, in combination with the dynamic nature of social media means that measurement and adjustments must happen regularly—no easy task!
The key to a successful social media strategy? Come up with a plan, focus on what works, and review the data to make sure what you think works, does work.