Many businesses still think of social media managers as “the Facebook person.” While the days of delegating social interactions to the intern or someone’s niece are passed (we hope), there is often a lingering perception that anytime spent posting or viewing online platforms is time spent being entertained.
As anyone who has even attempted to use the Facebook Business Manager can tell you, it is a far cry from fun. Then there is the growing number of social platforms, audience profiles, graphic sizes, posting limitations, and active posting times, all of which require additional research and planning. Of course, that is merely for actively pushing content. There are also the tasks of comment administration, real-time interactions, and online brand management. Let’s face it; social media management is an actual full-time job.
In fact, with over 2.7 billion users (Sysomos), social media is also one of the most likely places for current and potential customers to encounter your brand. It is with this massive responsibility in mind that we present these five insights into creating more effective social media marketing strategies.
It is easy for someone browsing the internet to forget that every business is operated by real people who have actual lives away from work. People become so out of touch through technology that 42% of consumers expect responses to their brand outreach on social within an hour of posting. Over half (57%) of those who contact brands expect similar response times at night and on weekends (Sysomos).
The response from many businesses is to treat management of their online presence as a 24/7, always-on system, which is fine and dandy when you have a large team who can split the workload and take “on-call” shifts. But most people need to eat, sleep, or stop working for at least a few hours a day to maintain sanity.
Setting expectations early and often can help alleviate consumer angst when it comes to response times. There are several ways to mitigate disappointment, including posting hours of online availability or creating automated messages stating when replies should be expected, such as “within 24 hours”.
Don’t over-saturate with ads.
Consumers follow brands to learn about products and services (50%), be entertained (48%), or stay up-to-date on brand news (40%). They unfollow brands due to poor customer service (56%), irrelevant content (51%), or over-saturation of advertising (43%) (Sprout Social).
Bottom line? There is a sweet spot between too much brand advocacy and not enough. It may take some experimentation, but success on social requires you make an effort to find it.
Understand social media reach.
While social media has long been understood as a platform for promotion of products and services, consumer use of the platforms are pushing the boundaries of that perception. Consumers now use social media as one of their go-to touchpoints for asking questions or voicing concerns. Over half of consumers (57%) say questions are the main reason they reach out to brands on social platforms. Social media has become so ingrained into the everyday that its uses now span across the business.
- Product & Service Development – Using social listening tools can help drive customer research at a larger scale. What consumers say online helps indicate what issues they have, how they are using current tools, and can even indicate features or services to which consumers wish they had access.
- Talent & Recruiting – Avid brand fans are far more likely to make enthusiastic employees.
- Customer Care – Social listening can help your business find and tackle problems before they become negative reviews, create faster response times, generate in-depth relationships, and turn current customers into avid fans. Can anyone say “customer retention”?
- Business Development – Converting followers is still an essential part of social media use for any brand. In addition to posting inspirational and entertaining content to draw viewership, businesses should sprinkle in postings which provide information and demonstrations of products and services along with offers for discounts or trials.
Tie social media strategy to business objectives.
Nearly half (47%) of all marketers struggle to align their social media strategy to business goals. Social media marketers can tackle this obstacle by taking the time to schedule conversations with other areas of the business to discuss departmental goals, overall business objectives, and how social media can help them achieve success.
Nearly three-quarters (71%) of social marketers believe brands aren’t taking full advantage of what social media has to offer. They think they can provide helpful insights to departments beyond marketing (Sprout Social). With the growing trends in consumer social interactions, it is up to the marketing department and “the Facebook person” to reach out and help the business leverage social media for greater success.