SUMMARY: The fear of falling behind in the latest social media trend may be causing another problem entirely -- wasting time and resources for your organization. Stretching your resources thin with social media can also dilute your organizationís message to your core audience.
A recent MarketingSherpa webinar, "Stop Wasting Time and Money on Social Media," sponsored by Eloqua, guides marketers through four tips for developing the most valuable social media strategy -- in time, money and a better overall message.
Deciding which social media network will best work for your organization is a struggle for many marketers. Even worse, some may worry that the entire channel will be an overall destructive diversion of resources.
In a recent MarketingSherpa webinar, which you can view in full below, Matt Bailey, President, SiteLogic, weighs different social media outlets, and provides insight into how to best express your company message through them.
This webinar was broadcast free thanks to sponsorship by Eloqua.
Tip #1. Decide if social media is right for your organization
A big part of discovering which channels are working for your organization, according to Bailey, is in asking two simple questions.
"My marketing is always focused around the how, and the why," he said. "How do I make money, and why do certain channels make more money than other channels?"
A detrimental way of thinking for your social media strategy is to blindly follow the latest, trendy platform.
"Every year, [a] brand new social media [technology] comes out, and [social media experts] tell you, ĎYou have got to do this.í And really, the social media graveyard is overflowing with apps, technology and names of things that have just gone by the wayside," said Bailey, adding that a lot of time and portions of the budget go into these social media blips.
It is easy to get carried away with the latest social media frenzy, he said, but that is not necessarily in the best interest of your organization.
Bailey cites news headlines that have companies like Dell making $3.2 million in Twitter-related sales, which send companies scrambling to set up their own accounts without researching if the site will reach enough of their consumers, or provide enough of a profit to justify the extra time and effort.
He cautions marketers to see beyond the big number to the actual profit. When put in context, $3.2 million is only 0.01% of the companyís total $61 billion revenue. Even though headlines make it appear to be a huge profit, it is actually a very small revenue source.
"So the question you have to ask yourself as a business," he cautions, "is how much time and money and resources Ö are you willing to put toward a revenue of 0.01%?"
Tip #2. Match the medium with the message
"Regardless of what social media you use, the focus should be on your message because your message will never change. The social media will always change," said Bailey.
About choosing the proper social media channel, Bailey said, "Iím going to use social media, not be used by social media. If it doesnít fit my message and whom I want to reach, then itís not in my strategy."
Companies that are successful in using social media to express their corporate message have four things in common, according to Bailey:
"The first part of a narrative is to know who you are," Bailey said. "Before you can present a clear message to the world, you have to know what makes your company unique Ö what makes you valuable to a customer."
The final part, planning, is usually a factor that separates the pros from the amateurs in social media, according to Bailey, saying, "The more you plan, the better your campaign is going to be."
Some social media is going to be better to present these elements more thoroughly than others, Bailey said.
"The basis of building a social media campaign is knowing which social media [network] is going to do the best job in communicating who you are to your audience. Trying to do all social media and treating it equally will just drain your resources," said Bailey.
Tip #3. Explore the aspects of every medium
"I love blogs," Bailey said. "Blogs to me are one of the best ways of communicating information and also attracting a lot of search visitors."
Blogs are much more active and compelling in conveying information, and search engines can find them much more easily, according to Bailey.
Depending on how you use social media, and the channel you choose, your message can present one of the following to your consumers:
"How you use a medium will greatly determine the interaction that you can develop through that medium," he said.
Bailey suggests using blogs to:
Increase search visibility
Build for long-tail content
Interact with a community and educate the market
Build lists, conversions and reach
Build brand value and equity
"Itís ideal for communicating high-trust content. Ö I love that ability of communicating clear information and providing a great network of resources. Itís great when your goal is to build lists," he said.
Bailey advises using YouTube when you have to "see it to believe it," and when content is highly visual.
A positive to using YouTube is its portability, where "you can grab a piece of code and put a YouTube video on your blog, on your website, or put it on Facebook," he said.
YouTube also influences search results, and videos generally have high search rankings, he said, adding, "It is easier to get a video to rank on the front page of Google than it is to get a website."
Pinterest will work best for your organization if you have a highly visual product, according to Bailey. Itís value is in reaching "a niche group of people," he said.
Bailey gives the example of Cabo San Lucas for a travel agency -- only people who have been there, or want to go there, will re-pin the content.
This quality, along with being highly visual, makes Pinterest ideal for those who wish to discover motivations of certain niche groups or narrow their focus.
"Especially for B2B, it is one of the most powerful ways to create networks and reach people in the industry that youíre targeting," said Bailey.
He also pointed out that LinkedIn is international, with 161 million members in more than 200 countries, and is the most affluent membership of any social media platform.
"You can so highly target an audience on LinkedIn, and the return on investment in a highly targeted campaign is one of the best youíll find," he said.
People follow brands, according to Bailey, for four reasons:
To give feedback
Get insider information
Get freebies and discounts
Bailey said what these reasons show him is that people want to consult with brands through Twitter, and to voice their own opinions, and in turn, be thanked for their feedback.
According to Bailey, Twitter should be used for:
Direct consumer contact with the brand, and experts
Samples, discounts and freebies
Bailey said he loves Twitter as a platform because it is "the most effective way to get information out quickly. It has that immediate time element."
Most people are using Facebook for connection, self-expression and entertainment, said Bailey.
"Itís the perfect discussion medium. Ö Its power is in the conversation it produces. Itís all about the conversation," said Bailey.
Bailey cautions that just because someone is a fan of your brand on Facebook does not mean that they want to be marketed to by you.
Something to be aware of as you move forward with social media is that almost all social media companies have written into their user agreement ownership of whatever is posted up on the site, cautions Bailey.
"They own your content -- and thatís why I love my blog, I own everything I put on my blog. Facebook, as they have in the past, could change tomorrow," Bailey said.
Tip #4. Track growth and measure success
To properly develop a marketing strategy for social media, according to Bailey, you must understand three things:
What do people want
When do they want it
Learn from what you did
Keyword research is important to figure out what it is your audience is searching for, and what they want.
"What words do people associate with your product or services, what do people want to know about?"
After using keywords to answer those questions, "Then I start my list of information I can write about and create," Bailey said.
The second important aspect to be aware of, according to Bailey, is figuring out the timing of your audience, and when they want certain information.
"Just because a keyword has a high search volume doesnít mean itís going to be high all year long -- there are trends you need to be aware of," he said.
From there, according to Bailey, planning is made easier, and you can build out a chart of when people want certain information.
This is a strategy for long-term planning, such as knowing that a certain word or phrase will be more prevalent in the summer than winter. However, it can also be applied on a daily basis on a smaller scale.
"What is trending for that day Ö you take and apply that," Bailey said. "If you can bridge that topic into your business, itís a great way to get people that day."
Experimentation is a necessary part of social media strategizing, and it can be very enlightening if the time is taken to examine trends throughout time.
Using Google Insights, Bailey said he has been able to associate the keywords being used in one month with the primary demographic visiting that month.
Doing this works threefold:
Changing social media strategy with new information
Focusing on getting the message to the right people at the right time
Making sure the website backed up the strategy
"Your social media cannot be an independent part of your marketing," he concluded. "It has got to be mixed in, and itís got to be identified with specific user segments that are profitable to your company."
Watch the Replay
For more information, watch the full replay of "Stop Wasting Money on Social Media" below:
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