Social media marketing came of age in 2014 with Facebook named advertising medium of the year and big brands doubling down on their paid media investment. Marketers have begun realizing that these channels have huge potential to drive results when done right. It’s a good time to take stock and think about what brands could be doing even better going forward and here are four suggestions I think should shake up the industry a little in 2015.
1) Deprioritise some Of that data:
You’ll hear a lot about big data, but while statistics can be revelatory they’re more commonly the scourge of social media marketing. Just because you can follow every like, comment and retweet doesn’t mean you should – in fact the kinds of activities which pander to driving these digital actions tend to be the worst kind of digital marketing. So-called engagement metrics are at best measuring the tip of an iceberg and give only the slightest indications of whether your content is truly driving actual business results, offering surprisingly little correlation with actual return on investments (ROIs). The data that matters shows if you’ve truly affected the hearts and minds of your consumers, or ultimately driven them to purchase, and today any businesses can use simple online survey tools to monitor their ongoing brand metrics.
2) Realise that less is more
If engagement data has driven marketers to cats, babies and competitions then the seeming pressure to post something every day has driven them to stock photography and possible insanity. Consumers have no expectations of hearing from brands every day and actually probably a strong feeling that they’d rather not. Creating less content means brands can realistically put paid media behind every single post and ensure a meaningful number of people are reached with their message (something which correlates far better with ROI and sales). The answer to how many posts should I create is often pretty simple – how many can you afford to put paid media behind?
3) Tell true brand stories
Getting off the treadmill of daily creative executions means brands can put more effort into what they do post and they can stop jumping on every event and meme just to find something to say. Great social media content isn’t about tricking someone into clicking like, it’s about being remembered by that person days later. That means telling powerful stories, while staying true to your brand’s essence, and increasingly it will mean higher production values and more video. Remember that more people can now see a heavily-promoted Facebook post in a day than would see an advert you ran during the X Factor final.
4) Get more personal
If reaching millions of people with great content sounds too much like traditional broadcast media then personalisation at scale is where unique digital creativity comes in. In 2015, there’s no reason to be reaching all your potential consumers with the same piece of creative when you can use simple targeting and basic adaptations (even just tweaking video thumbnails or lines of copy) to make it personally interesting to them all. Don’t take it too far though, as people aren’t ready to be stalked by adverts that address them by name.