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5 ways marketers underutilise social media

Social media can play a key role in your marketing mix. Social sits at the intersection of great digital content and the interconnected networks of people interacting with (and influenced by) that content. This provides the powerful ability to interact with customers at all stages of their journey.

However, all too often social media is considered within its own silo.

Because of this, here are five ways many marketers underutilise social within marketing strategy:

Apply social listening insights to other channels

Social listening provides a unique opportunity to hear what is being said about a brand and its competitors. It allows you to understand key social media conversation themes, see trends and especially volume spikes, gauge customer satisfaction or sentiment and create a feedback loop to other channels. In our observations over the years, a frequently missed opportunity among brands is using these insights only to adjust social media strategy without also informing strategies within other channels.

When you see positive conversations in social media, this suggests a topic for which you can create content in other channels. Similarly, questions or negative reactions may indicate a communication gap that you can address through your integrated marketing efforts.

For example, do new users of your service have difficulty understanding how to use a particular feature?  That’s a great topic to address via early engagement communications in email, SMS or your mobile app. 

Is there a particular product feature that consumers love? That feature could be a great topic for your next short-form video.

How do the social media conversations about your brand compare to those of your competitors? Those points of differentiation mined from listening efforts could be strong messages in your acquisition marketing efforts.

The key to success here is understanding social listening insights as they apply to other marketing channels and ensuring that lines of communication are open around the marketing organisation to enable the team to take advantage of these opportunities.

Apply insights from other channels back to social media

Flipping the first idea on its head, many marketing teams also miss the opportunity to quickly use learnings from other channels to drive success within social media. Other digital marketing channels provide great insights into what content your customers choose to interact with.

What content do customers click on in emails? Which search keywords are driving the most traffic? Are there any long-tail keywords presenting interesting content opportunities? How do users navigate your website; are there particular pages or pieces of content that seem to be driving unexpected interest?

Trending keywords (especially long-tail ones) could indicate under-leveraged products or customer trends for which your customers are craving new information – and help improve your SEO in the process. Secondary pages on your site with long on-page times also indicate opportunities for new sharable content.

All of these data points provide great insights to drive social content strategy. Brands are successful when they create content that their followers want, not when they push out the same old marketing messaging.

Coordinating targeted content across channels

It’s easy to forget that social media is an “addressable” channel, meaning that you can target specific groups of known users.

Any audience segment you create for your email, SMS, direct mail or other channels can also be used for social media targeting. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube can all match and target specific user lists. Some platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest, also allow you to create audiences based on specific behaviors customers have taken on your website and/or mobile app.

This means that all of the hard work you’ve spent personalising your other channels (and I don’t just mean adding “Dear firstname!”) can be applied to your paid social advertising, too. Whether you segment your customers into denim vs. dress buyers or adventure vs. beach vs. urban travelers, this gives you the ability to put the right content in front of the right customers.

Even if you’re promoting the same summer sale across audiences, positioning it in a way that is uniquely relevant to each segment will drive response rates up – and by being more relevant, you’ll also drive advertising costs down.

Provide insider access

Do not underestimate the value you can create by providing followers with an inside scoop. Social media is at its best when you provide followers with engaging, unique and sharable content. What better way to do that than by giving them a peek under the hood, so to speak?

The next time you’re talking about a new product launch, use one of your social media channels to show how it was made or why your team is excited about it. New location opening? What a great opportunity for a pre-opening tour!

These exclusive looks provide great content which compliment your messages in other channels. More importantly, you’ll give your customers a sense of brand ownership and get them excited to spread the word.

Mine and amplify customer reviews

One area that typically doesn’t get the consideration it deserves is ratings and reviews. Many social listening tools today can mine customer reviews at scale, and again view trends and key themes. Of course, this creates a great feedback loop for your product team – quickly pointing out product strengths to expand on, and any potential issues that may need to be addressed.

Positive reviews are great credibility drivers for your business and deserve a thoughtful strategy on how to amplify this content in other channels. Can you leverage reviews to reinforce your next display ad message? “Products you love!” would make a great email. “We heard you - How we’re getting better” could be a strong blog topic.

Bringing it all together

When you build out your marketing strategy, social media should be an important part of the mix, not an afterthought. With the right tools, social media is the perfect way to not only speak to your audience and include them in your brand, but to learn from them. Social media is a two way street and the learnings you take from social listening should be used to optimise communications across all channels. Never underestimate its importance in your overall marketing strategy.