Categories : Social Media

Your 2019 Social Media Index: Everything You Need to Know

Your 2019 Social Media Index: Everything You Need to Know

Our partner Sprout Social surveyed more than 1,000 social marketers and more than 1,000 consumers with the goal to understand how social media can provide the most value to brands. Here are the five topics I think you need to know you should know about from the latest Sprout Social Index.

 

The Value of Social Continues to Grow

Data shows the popularity of social only continues to grow, for both brands and consumers. Facebook continues to be the market leader overall, but it’s important to remember how specific audiences use different social platforms. For instance, while 77% of Generation X says Facebook is their primary platform for liking or following brands, 69% of Generation Z says Instagram is their platform of choice. Regardless of the network, a majority of people who follow brands on social are likely to visit those brands’ websites and physical stores, recommend those brands to friends and family, choose those brands over competitors and spend more with them. This is especially true of Millennials: 84% said they’re more likely to buy from a brand they follow on social compared to one they don’t. So, basically, social media is a big deal right now and is only getting bigger. If you want to grow your brand, you should consider the platform your target audience uses most.

 

Brand Awareness is a Top Priority

While most brands say increasing brand awareness is their #1 goal, the majority are focused on metrics associated with engagement. Only 41% of social marketers focus on amplification and brand awareness metrics. Metrics such as reach and impressions – in other words, the number of eyeballs seeing branded content – are more important to brand awareness than engagement metrics such as likes and comments. There appears to be a disconnect for many brands regarding what social metrics to measure and how.

 

Consumers Demand Responsive Care

Consumers follow brands on social to learn more about their offerings, be entertained, and generally stay up to date on what’s new, but they tend to unfollow them because of poor customer service. Failing to provide responses also leads to more “unfollows.” In fact, 29% of consumers unfollow brands on social due to ignored posts and mentions. The majority of consumers will like, comment on and share entertaining and inspirational content, but they’ll leave brands behind if they experience underwhelming customer care. To sum up, DON’T underestimate the power of a simple response on social media! If you are curious about improving your response and customer care on social media, you should explore how Chatbots can help deliver fast, reliable customer care.

 

Authenticity Matters more than Celebrity

Celebrities and influencers can help brands boost awareness and interest among consumers, but authentic posts from company leaders and employees are more impactful. In fact, the use of influencers to help sell products can sometimes backfire and cause consumers to stop following a brand altogether (think Nike and Colin Kaepernick). That’s why nearly three-quarters of all social marketers use their employees as social media advocates. Employees make great brand advocates just ask Zendesk and the City of Las Vegas. Employee advocacy programs are an awesome way to grow your social media presence and brand, but they can also be hard to get started. That’s where these new employee advocacy ideas come in! If you’re worried about finding the right celebrity or influencer to represent your brand, don’t worry anymore and give your employees the chance to represent you.

 

Plenty of Business

More than half of C-level marketers and one-third of VPs say proving the value of social to teams outside of marketing remains a challenge. Beyond sales, 76% of social marketers don’t share social data with their product and R&D departments. Not applying social learnings to departments outside marketing is a huge missed opportunity for brands, as the insights obtained through social can help optimize everything from sales tactics to product development. To learn just how much social listening can benefit your brand, check out these case studies: James Hardie and VTWO.

Categories : Online Marketing , Social Media

The 3 Rs That Measure Your Social ROI

The 3 Rs That Measure Your Social ROI

Do you know what kind of return on investment, or ROI, you’re getting from your social media strategy? Measuring your social ROI is essential because it tells you whether your social marketing strategy is working — or not. (Let’s face it: You can always tell your clients all about the importance of investing in social. But, are you actually going to convince anyone of anything without some real proof.)

This is where the three big “Rs” of social media come into play: research, retention, and referrals. These are the main analytics that you can use to prove the value of your social media efforts.

So, let’s look at them in detail, shall we?

The Research You Need To Guide Brand Development

It’s simple. Social is a tremendously effective method of collecting demographic data on your customers. Demographic data is the key to inform any smart business strategy.

Unfortunately, most companies aren’t making use of the goldmine they’ve got in social media. A Kalypso study found that fully 70 percent of brands start out with the intention of using social as part of their research and development process. In the end (which is where it counts), only 33 percent of those companies actually have any kind of plan that will let them follow through on those intentions.

That’s a big waste. There are tools that can help you analyze the info you’re gaining on social. Google Analytics is a great (and free) starter point that can help you sort through that pile of social media demographic data. Ultimately, that data is the key to understanding the specific characteristics of your audience — and learning more about what they want and need.

Your brand is going to thrive best when you learn to be responsive to your customer’s desires — and social can help you make it happen.

Customer Retention Through Direct Engagement

Social is how you give an otherwise faceless brand a personality. Your brand’s expression on social will actively shape the way that people feel about what you make or do — and that may be the ultimate key to retaining customers. (If you don’t already realize how important that is, consider this: It costs anywhere between 5 and 25 times more to get a new customer than it does to keep one you already have.

Developing a solid brand personality is important for several key reasons:

  • A brand identity can effectively guide all your company’s output — no matter what team produces it or through what medium. Effectively, your brand’s personality provides a consistency that your customers can come to rely on.
  • Your brand’s personality is how you can effortlessly set your brand apart from every other company selling something similar. Customers frequently seek out brands that they strongly identify as being like themselves. The “face” your brand presents to the world plays a pivotal role in the customer base you attract.
  • Properly-Crafted brand identity will help you reach your target market. Consumers do seek out brands that they identify with already. Yet, consumers will also seek out brands that reflect who they aspire to be — whether that’s urban, edgy, sophisticated, or sleek.
  • Social also gives your customers the ability to feel like they can directly connect with you and your business. Whether they have a compliment or a complaint — they can reach you on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram — or any other social channel. Consumers want to be heard. Social gives you the opportunity to reassure them that they’re listening.

How important is that two-way connection on social to customer retention? When customers actively engage with a brand on social, their spending increases by 20 to 40 percent!

Referrals That Will Grow Your Business

Word-of-mouth referrals have been the lifeblood of the business world since the dawn of commerce. Today, instead of getting a recommendation from a neighbor over the backyard fence, consumers are far more apt to hop online and look for a referral. Word-of-mouth is what ultimately influences as many as 50 percent of all purchases.

Maybe even more importantly, happy customers tend to share their thoughts with others. When a customer is happy about your brand, your product, or your service, they’re more inclined to get back online on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram and tell others! One positive tweet from the right customer could go viral. That alone could gain you more new customers than all the advertising dollars in your entire budget!

Final Thoughts

Social doesn’t just take customers on a journey with your brand. Social interaction also builds a relationship that can last for that customer’s lifetime. While each social campaign naturally has its own value and own metrics, research, retention, and referrals are the ultimate analytics you need to master to get the most out of your social media efforts.

 

Categories : Online Marketing , Social Media

Social Media & The Evolution of Transparency

Social Media & The Evolution of Transparency

Transparency is the new normal. In general, we trust people we know and hold their recommendations in high regard. So we often believe that they will be more transparent. For decades, earning the trust of consumers has been a central goal for marketers. This is more important today.

People are more connected, and thanks to the Internet, ideas spread like wildfire. Almost anyone with an Internet-connected device can talk about your brand. Also, it only takes one unfavorable review to sink the ship. This is a concern for many companies. Social media has shifted power to the customer. Luckily, consumers are telling organizations how to conduct themselves in order to win their favor.

In fact, 86 percent of Americans want businesses to be transparent. That is according to Research by Sprout Social. Also, the same study found that consumers feel companies are obligated to be transparent.  (more…)

Categories : Social Media , Success

Grow Your Business with Social Media Advertising

Grow Your Business with Social Media Advertising

If you’re not utilizing social media advertising in 2019, your business is in for a rude awakening. With 37% of the world’s population (2.8 billion people!) using social media platforms, you cannot afford to ignore it any longer.

Google and Facebook have created a very successful business model for themselves by continually updating their search algorithms. Businesses are encouraged to invest more money in digital advertising with every update.

This year, it’s going to be pay-to-play, more than ever. Are your numbers still dropping? Why are you still not investing in social media advertising? Love it or hate it, in any industry you need Google and social media ads for active growth in 2019. (more…)