Social media is still a confusing marketing tactic in 2018.
With Facebook's changing algorithm and emerging platforms like Snapchat, Musical.ly and Live.ly that Generation Z is flocking toward, keeping up with consumer and platform demands can be challenging. In 2013, I wrote the Facebook Quality Checklist for Website Magazine and companies are still lacking quality in 2018, which is more important than ever. The evolution of social media is often discussed among Web professionals as part public relations and part advertising. What is glaringly missing, however, is social media as part of a company's whole digital strategy rather than some separate effort.
By recognizing the three items missing in most social media strategies today, however, organizations can be well on their way to a more complete digital presence.
Social media marketers should be part of all marketing meetings because social media provides direct-to-consumer communication faster than any other tactic. Social media professionals can add insight on creative development, crisis communication planning, influencer relations, event planning, experiential marketing, buyer personas and media planning into a digital marketing plan. As this list suggests, social media professionals are taking public relations, advertising and marketing understanding to respond and reach audiences, and their role should be valued as such.
2. Listening & Relevancy
Consumers are more honest than ever, commenting on posts, sharing negative experiences and creating viral movements. People are expressing their opinions and developing causes, which provides marketers a tool to be aware of trends. Many of us plan content months in advance, so if a new movement starts, it is essential to spend the time to revisit content to ensure the brand won't receive negative backlash based on current events.
Brands should set a weekly trends meeting to understand what is going on with current events and pop culture. There's so much out there that it is hard for one person to obtain everything, so make it a team effort and talk about trends, whether it is a viral dog video, a great advertising campaign or a cause movement, know what's going on to stay relevant. Note: This doesn't mean join the movement, but be aware of how consumers are thinking and what's important to them in real-time.
Every marketing tactic should be involved in planning a campaign, whether it is in-house or an agency developing it. An agency partner should offer the suggestion and guide the brand if they aren't responsible for the specific tactic, which could result in extra business for the agency. Of course, agencies need to be profitable, but the best agencies have the client's best interest in mind and create long-term relationships. Ask, could this support another campaign? For example, if marketing is running a webinar, social media managers should know more about the efforts than just the time and date to promote the webinar. They should be involved in every step to ensure their inbound and outbound efforts are supporting marketing's efforts.
Using these three tips, companies will create deeper relationships with customers and be set up to succeed in 2018 and beyond.
About the Author
Matt Hensler is a multi-award winning social media and public relations leader who has worked with notable brands including Hershey's, Marriott, Chick-fil-A, Wells Fargo, USA Today, National Healthcare and DISH Network.