Posts Tagged ‘strategy’

State of Social Media Marketing 2012We are excited to share our annual report on the State of Social Media Marketing – Top Areas For Social Marketing Investment and Biggest Social Marketing Challenges in 2012. The team at Awareness connected with 320 marketers from a cross-section of industries, company sizes and levels of social marketing experience.  Our annual State of Social Media Marketing report comes with insights from those leading the efforts at the C-level and those who manage the social marketing function within their organizations, as well as a number of business leaders who are helping to bridge the social gap within their enterprises.

Here are some interesting findings and insights that are contained in this report from our CEO, Brian Zanghi.

2012: The Year of Growing Social Marketing Maturity

Social marketing is entering a stage of maturity and with it, savvy, socially-oriented businesses are starting to embrace social as part of their companies’ DNA.  This transition comes with an understanding that siloed approaches to social marketing are not effective, and a realization that scale with social marketing comes with the adoption of new organizational structures, processes and technology infrastructure that can help the enterprise scale and optimize in a continuous fashion. Expect that in 2012 focus will shift to active social media management for increased lead generation and sales.

C-level Involvement with Social Marketing

We were excited with the response levels from C-level executives (39% of respondents) and the information they shared.  Top-of-mind for executives and senior managers is ROI, integration of social with lead generation and sales, and expansion of social presence and reach. It is clear that the C-level wants more proof before they allocate additional organizational resources to social marketing.  This is why only 8% of our respondents reported 2011 budgets of over $50,000 per year, with 12% of the organizations reporting teams of 5+ social marketers.  At the same time, executives need to realize that to give their social marketing initiatives a chance, they need to invest accordingly in the effort.  Our prediction is that to resolve the cost-benefit conundrum in 2012, executives will start to adopt new processes and technologies that will not only help them scale the effort, but get the data that clearly links to ROI.

The Right Social Marketing Infrastructure

Social marketing maturity will increasingly be defined next year as the practice of adopting new processes and technologies that will help the enterprise scale their initiatives.  2012 will see savvy social businesses moving beyond the “let’s allocate a few people resources to social” mentality to incorporating robust social media management platforms. These platform will provide the ability to monitor and analyze social conversations, while creating effective response and content mechanisms to increase customer engagement and ultimately sales. Our industry is reaching this maturity tipping point – 78% of marketers reported monitoring social media channels for mentions of their brand at least a few times a week, while 62% reported monitoring industry conversations with the same frequency. Although 19% of surveyed marketers reported using a social media management platform, these are the leaders who will be reaping the most benefit from their efforts.

Expanded Use of New Social Marketing Platforms

Experienced social marketers report that they plan increased usage of social marketing platforms beyond the Big Three (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) to include: Blogs (91%) YouTube (86%), foursquare (59%), SlideShare (43%), Flickr (50%), and Tumblr (30%). Driven by increasingly fragmented user consumption habits, companies clearly see the need to expanded social presence that will allow them to follow and engage their prospects and customers on multiple channels and networks.  This proliferation of channels and the corresponding need to successfully engage in all of them will make the job of social marketers increasingly more complex. This, in turn, will necessitate the adoption of robust tools to manage presence, monitor and report on activity, and tie efforts to the organizational bottom line.

The State of Social Media Marketing report contains additional insights on top social marketing investment areas, top challenges for 2012, top social media platforms used today, the role of LinkedIn in reaching the C-suite, along with a fun section on the top news and analysis resources marketers use to stay on top of the latest and greatest in our industry. For full, free access to the State of Social Media Marketing report, click here. If you would like to be included in the survey for next year’s report, click here. You can also access the 2012 Social Marketing and New Media Predictions, to hear from marketing strategists David Meerman Scott, Brian Solis, Erik Qualman, Paul Gillin, CC Chapman, and Steve Rubel what 2012 has in store for us.

We welcome your thoughts, reactions and feedback.  Let us know how the insights and findings presented in the State of Social Media Marketing report will help shape your thinking in 2012.  Don’t hesitate to ask us the tough questions – as we embark on 2012, we promise to continue to provide deeper dives into best practices, successes, and notable trends to help you, social marketers, do more and do better.

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Below is a post I recently wrote for Social Media Explorer.  Hope you enjoy!

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Social Media Strategy In Four Steps

Building a social media program is an exciting opportunity and chance to dramatically change the way you connect with consumers.  It is a tool that allows you to tap into conversations, learn more about how your brand is perceived, promote your product/service in new ways, and ultimately grow your business. Often the things you learn in your social media program can inform your more traditional marketing efforts, as you engage directly with your audience and learn more about what makes them tick.  Social media – while trendy – is a fully mainstream communications tool.

Properly preparing a social media strategy, including goals and measurement, will ensure you get the most out of your program.  Taking a simple four-step approach to prepare for the launch of a successful social media program can ensure that you’re set up to interact in social media venues before you get started. This process includes:

  • Identifying your goals
  • Finding your audience
  • Setting your key performance indicators
  • Scheduling and resource management

Program building gives you a chance to focus your efforts, and to determine what kind of man power will be needed to support those efforts.  It will also set up your criteria for success in advance by creating a set of metrics. This will take some of the uncertainty out of your social media program, enabling you to know when you are doing things right and/or when adjustments need to be made.

Step One: Identifying your goals

Just a few examples of your social media program’s goals are reaching new customers, capturing leads, increasing sales, and establishing your brand so as to build loyalty.  Each goal will help you to choose which social media platforms and audiences are the best fit for your efforts, and will allow you to set realistic and measurable metrics for the program.

Be sure to also be realistic, too, in terms of how much time and staff you’ll be able to commit to your program. Companies who try to do everything at the start are, too often, quickly overwhelmed by how much time is required to keep up the effort. If your company is trying a social media program for the first time and you have limited resources, starting with one or two key goals, measuring the effectiveness of your efforts, and then increasing your commitment once the initial program is established will be a more measured and more successful approach.

Step Two: Finding your audience

Finding your audience is key to a social media program. Each social channel has different types of audiences, and each one is used in different ways for different purposes.

For example, if you’re looking to build a group of brand supporters, Facebook could be the best choice. If you’re looking to reach potential customers who have never heard of you, or to become a thought leader in a particular industry, Twitter might be the better option. If you’re hoping to use social media for something like recruiting, a combination of Twitter and LinkedIn could be your best bet.  Once you’ve set your goals, you can start researching and determining the best social channels, tools and services to meet the needs or your program.

Step Three: Setting your key performance indicators

Once you’ve set the goals for your social channels and established your key audiences and the platforms they interact on, you can start setting the metrics and benchmarks.  Start by looking at some of the things that can be measured on each platform:

  • Blog traffic
  • Twitter followers
  • Retweets of your content
  • Interactions on Twitter
  • LinkedIn group members
  • Blog comments
  • Independent shares of your content
  • Trackbacks to your blog

While there are a lot of metrics that can be measured, remember that this is a benchmark. You’ll need to customize your goals and measurement tools depending on what you want to get out of your social media program.

Step Four: Scheduling and resource management

This stage is about setting timelines and determining how you’re going to staff and support your ongoing social media program.  There are some important things to think about when formulating a plan. Not all of these are relevant to every organization, but these are some of the core things to consider when formulating your plan – the time investment, the man power investment and the timeline that you’ve set for the project(s).

These options will naturally lead to other questions to consider that will address any specific challenges or opportunities your organization may see when implementing its social media program. In the end, this planning process will prepare you to embark on the next phase: tactical implementation.

While preparing my talk at the New Marketing Summit in October 2008, I had the opportunity to speak with several marketing thought leaders about how they see marketing evolving.  I cut down most of the interviews to 5-10 second clips that I combined along with some catchy music and used that during my presentation (you can view the edited video here).  After months of having this on my to-do list, I am finally getting around to releasing the full interviews as part of the launch of this blog.  I will try to launch an interview every couple of weeks over the next few months.

My first interview is with Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer over at MarketingProfs.  Profs is one of (if not THE) leading resource for marketers on the web.  Ann is also a terrific person who I enjoy meeting with from time-to-time to catch up with over coffee.  I’m also a big fan of her blog ANNARCHY (which I happen to think is an awesome name for a blog).

The full version of our interview is below.  As I mentioned, Ann and I typically catch-up over coffee at Panera, so please pardon the background noise:

Insights from Ann. Please note, for the purposes of the interview we used the term “New Marketing” to describe social media, new media and the channels and vehicles that define the space:

  • Marketers should view new marketing is an opportunity to engage with customers in a way they have never been able to before.
  • Old marketing is about broadcasting a product or service and “sitting to wait for the phone to ring”.  New marketing is all about creating a dialog with your market; discussing your product or service with them as opposed to telling them about it.
  • B-to-B marketers are struggling with new marketing because they view their customers as “markets” not as “people”.  Instead of viewing your relationship with a customer as a relationship with a “company” or “organization” view it as a relationship with an individual.  Understand that ultimately there is a human on the other end of the phone who will buy and use your product or service.
  • It’s important to note that while we did discuss the new technologies available for marketers to facilitate new marketing programs – the technologies are not the driving new marketing programs.  Rather, they are used to support of the overall marketing strategy.

What do you think New Marketing is?  How are you implementing new marketing strategies in your company?

Want to connect with Ann?  Ann is the Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs you can email her at ann[dot]handley[at]gmail[dot]com.  Check out her blog here.  You can also find her on Facebook, LinkedIn, but I have found that following her on Twitter is much more fun!