These days, discussing marketing inevitably leads to a conversation about social media marketing and how to translate online engagement to measurable success. Social media adoption by Fortune 500 companies has surged in 2012 and has proven to have a measurable impact on brand awareness and sales. In a study conducted by Bazaarvoice, 56% of Americans have a profile on a social networking site, demonstrating that these social platforms provide an audience and a unique angle for business executives to nurture leads and convert customers.
For c-level executives, the trepidation with which many approach social networks is understandable. In order to see results from social media, it requires time and commitment which can often be overloooked as too much time.
However, the benefits of social media go beyond company growth and sales and must be acknowledged for the awareness and loyalty that it produces within target audiences. In fact, 82.3% of CMOs believe social media has a measurable impact on brand awareness while 81.5% believe the same with regards to brand loyalty. In order to have a serious conversation about social media and how it can benefit a business, there are a few key factors to keep in mind.
- Make the objectives and goals of social media clear. As with any undertaking in a business, it is absolutely critical to fully understand the objectives of a task, and what steps are necessary to achieve them. Defining objectives will also help narrow the social networks appropriate for a particular business.With nearly 850 million Facebook users and 1 million new Twitter users signing up daily, it is important to approach these audiences with concrete goals. Approaching social media from an organized and structured framework will ensure that time and efforts aren’t being wasted.
- Define the strategy. Once the end goal of using social media marketing is identified, the next step is to plan how to achieve them. Creating a social media strategy involves a number of different aspects; determining the social media tone on the various social platforms for business, what topics will be covered in order to tie back to the business, how to integrate these efforts with an overall marketing plan, etc. For more tips on how to approach a social media strategy, read our previous blog on the topic.
- Identify the use for social media. According to a recent survey, CMOs trust social data, and this data impacts 89% of decisions for CMOs. 83% of CMOs believe social data is at least somewhat effective indicating trends that will impact business. It is important for businesses to share this information with all c-level executives in order to truly integrate the efforts with the company as a whole. Social media will help a business in terms of sales, loyalty and brand awareness and it is necessary that c-level executives are aware of these opportunities.
According to Erin Mulligan Nelson, CMO, Basaarvoice used the term “customer champions” in discussing the findings of the survey, saying “In a consumer-obsessed C-suite, the CMOs are the chief customer advocates and social (media) data is their ultimate weapon. Social data lets CMOs truly know their customers and predict consumers’ future needs before they even have them. Nearly all CMOs now use this data to drive decisions. As the business world re-centers around serving and delighting consumers, social data is turning CMOs into customer champions – and heroes within the C-suite. And as an industry, we have just started to tap into the potential of social data.” The amount of information that is possible to collect from social media is only now being realized – consumers create as much information every two days as was created from the dawn of civilization to 2003 – and therefore the opportunities it will create are vast.
CMOs and other c-level executives are fully giving their support to social media marketing, as indicated by recent research, proving that social media marketing is an invaluable tool for businesses to learn about consumers and therefore more acurately market to them. It is important for business that social initiatives work cohesively with the rest of the business strategy in order to make the most of the information that it provides and be successful.
Source: The Globe and Mail
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