Key Takeaways to Top Ten Social Media Questions
- Someone has to own the relationship with consumers.
- Content is both king and queen, and it is essential that you have a strategy driving what you are sharing.
- A picture is worth a thousand words.
- Facebook reach is down 42%.
- Two-thirds of consumers influenced by a blog when making a purchase decision.
- You need the right partners and staff to succeed in social media.
1. Who owns the relationship with our consumer?
You’d be surprised. We’ve heard, “We’ve got our intern managing all of our communities.” Just because someone does a bang up job managing his or her own social assets, it’s not a slam dunk that they can do so on behalf of your brand. That intern might not have the sophistication to know what’s brand appropriate and remember that content is indelible.
Others tell us that no one department or person is ultimately responsible for managing this relationship—probably not a great strategy.
2. Do we have a content strategy?
Content is both king and queen, and it is essential that you have a strategy driving what you are sharing is the answer to this social media question. You need an overall strategy and platform of specific strategies. You need to be crystal clear why you’re in social in the first place—is it to generate leads, build awareness, or remain competitive?
Keep in mind that what you want to talk about may differ from what your communities want to talk about or what you will want to share. Remember that social needs to be just that—social. Your assets are not vehicles for pushing out marcom but rather all important real estate where your loyalists and advocates can converse with you and each other.
Robotically pushing out content or repurposing content from one platform to another will certainly save resources; however, in the long run, it might hurt you.
Take note that the adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” is “spot on.” There’s been a real shift toward visual content generation and sharing—one of the reasons why Instagram is the fastest growing social network with north of forty million pictures being uploaded every day.
3. Does my team know how to navigate Facebook’s algorithm changes?
Facebook keeps fine-tuning their algorithm, all in the name of ensuring that fans are getting content with which they will want to engage. Many contend that the changes were designed to maximize ad revenue. Regardless, it is essential that your team knows the ins and outs of what works and what doesn’t from your “negative score” to the share-worthiness of your content. In fact, some content that used to perform is now deemed not share-worthy and will actually negatively impact your reach. A recent study, in fact, confirms that overall reach is down 42%.
4. Are we optimizing native consumer behaviors?
Consumer behavior is right there for us to observe. For example, do you know if consumers are organically pinning your product or tweeting about your brand? This information is like manna and can and should inform your strategies.
5. Do we have a crisis management plan in place?
Another big social media question pivots around one clear truth about social media—something will go wrong. And, it will happen at 3 AM, long after that intern managing your communities has left the office. Someone will have a bad experience which they will recount in full detail on your Facebook wall, tweet about, etc. What’s your plan of action? Do your leave the posts up? Do you issue a public mea culpa? Have you identified a plan of action should things need to get elevated up the decision tree? Assume the worst and plan accordingly.
6. Is our brand consistent across all consumer touch points?
Don’t let your potential and current customers see that the emperor has no clothes or cross dresses. You can be sure that they are not differentiating between their in-store experience and what’s happening across your social assets. Any and all experiences with your brand contribute to their overall perception of you. Make sure that their experiences are seamless and that your brand voice is consistent.
7. Are we listening and learning?
Again, consumers are very generous in sharing their likes and dislikes about our brands. There are a plethora of tools and technology designed to help you garner the greatest intelligence. Listen, learn, apply. Rinse and repeat.
8. Do we make it easy for our loyalists to advocate for us?
Consumers are opting in to become members of our communities. They value, trust, and advocate for those brands with whom they feel an affinity. Are you making it easy for them to share content? Do you know what they’ll get behind? Are you asking them to advocate on your behalf? Are you thanking them for their support?
9. Is my team up to speed on best practices across all platforms?
Another factor on our list of social media questions is that it’s constantly evolving. Are you confident that your team is up to speed on best practices across all the platforms, e.g. should you follow everyone that follows you? When should you use a hashtag? Are twitter parties still delivering ROI? What types of images are getting the greatest traction on Instagram?
10. Are we leveraging bloggers to share our brand stories and drive commerce?
Consumers trust blogs; in fact, two-thirds of consumers have been influenced by a blog when making a purchase decision. Be careful here not to fall into the mode of pushing out marcom via digital press releases and sitting back and waiting for the great press. Bloggers need to be nurtured, and managing relationships with them during and in-between campaigns takes time. Bloggers, like consumers, want compelling and relevant content. Lure them in with your rich brand stories and superior relationship building skills.
I think we can all agree that social media is not only here to stay but it will continue to expand in reach and impact. The real social media questions to ask yourself are:
“Do we have the appropriate resources and partners to succeed? Have we properly aligned financial and human resources to ensure that we are growing and optimizing our collective communities vs. decaying the base we’ve built?”
It is clear that marketing as we once knew it is a thing of the past and ‘socialized’ marketing is our new reality and future. The proverbial train has left the station. All aboard!