Is your organization using social media marketing effectively? According to a new report from Harvard Business Review, only 12% feel their organization uses social media marketing effectively. My guess is that even some of that 12% would find their actual results disappointing.
Effective social media marketing
So, what are so many of these organizations doing WRONG to achieve ineffective social media marketing.
According to the report, much of this failure lies in doing advertising on social media channels. Such 1-way communication is disastrous in social networks.
Firms just don’t seem to understand the fundamental difference between social media marketing and traditional marketing. Here’s what Avinash Kaushik, Google’s analytics guru, has to say about the difference between social media and traditional media:
Too many companies have not evolved from what I call ‘shout marketing’ — think TV,
newspapers, magazine ads — to influence by initiating and participating in conversations
with consumers. There needs to be a generational shift.
I’m not sure we need a generational shift (in fact, my college seniors have no better understanding of effective social media marketing than 40-something advertising execs), but certainly social media is a disruptive technology — one that calls into question the status quo and requires a different paradigm, not just a few tweaks.
Other factors show why companies have problems creating effective social media marketing campaigns.
- Three-quarters (75%) of the companies in the survey said they did not know where their most valuable customers were talking about them.
- Nearly one-third (31%) do not measure effectiveness of social media.
- Less than one-quarter (23%) are using social media analytic tools.
- A fraction (7%) of participating companies are able to integrate social media into their marketing activities
Again, factors hampering effective social media marketing mirror the situation in traditional media — where superficial use of analytics negatively impacts decision-making. It’s amazing how many firms — big firms; small firms — have few analytic tools to assess and guide social media marketing. And, many of the metrics they DO track are fairly superficial “vanity metrics” such as # Fans, # Followers, etc. In fact, I recently downloaded a social media analytics template from Hubspot and it was ENTIRELY filled with these vanity metrics instead of meaningful data necessary for effective social media marketing — things measuring engagement, content sharing, goal accomplishment, funnel measurement, etc. THESE are metrics designed to help you optimize your campaigns.
Factors preventing effective social media marketing
Of course, other factors interfere with effective social media marketing. Having the right people managing your social media marketing, for 1. Here’s another graphic from the HBR study.
Notice lots of firms use marketing folks to run their social media marketing. While I applaud the fact most firms recognize that, at its heart, social media marketing IS marketing, few marketing folks truly understand social media. It’s a different animal. However, firms who’ve invested heavily in community are already social and get the difference between social media marketing and traditional marketing. Firms like Southwest, who always invested in people willing to put passengers first and get a little goofy to make sure passengers had a good flight.
Also, face it, social media marketing involves technology. Hence, you should see more firms involving their web and IT teams in managing their social engagement. SEO also falls into the realm of the web team, so involving them is critical.
From my perspective, I’d expect to see a big commitment to content marketing in effective social media marketing. I’m not sure which functional area might produce such content, but I’d think R&D and operations have some interesting stories worth sharing on social networks. Similarly, firms MUST involve customer service in an era where customers are MORE likely to complain on Twitter or Facebook than in other forums. Customer service must listen to these conversations for questions or dissatisfaction so they can respond quickly to reduce the negative impact of such communication.
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