Marketing Week Live, the annual two-day marketing event, concluded on the 7th March after having welcomed over 100 exhibitors and more than 70 speakers across four stages. The event covers topics which span all areas of the marketing mix, providing marketers with a mixture of practical, hands-on advice from industry experts. Among them was our Social Media Account Director, Marin Daley-Hawkins, who took to the Marketing Transformation & Strategy Stage to present her topic 'Why your social media strategy still isn’t working' to a full house. These are just some of the takeaways from her session.
Social media today
Marketers are aware of the power of social media and its incredible power to keep people glued to their screens in an age where attention spans are shorter than ever – if anything, that’s why brands have been so quick to pay more attention to social and quickly jump on the many bandwagons that have come and gone over the years. That being said, today we’re seeing brands invest more budget then ever into their social media activity, but there aren’t as many cases where we see brands getting their social media strategy right. More often than not, it’s a case of brands running before they can walk, and the purpose of Marin’s talk was to underline the value of taking a step back to get the basics right, setting up key goals, and then defining a strategy that has data and creativity at the heart of it to ensure it’s truly relevant to brands’ audiences.
Why social media strategies fail
- There isn’t a strategy
There’s often a lot of confusion around what a social strategy actually is, with some brands mistakenly believing that having a content calendar equates to having one. It’s important to remember that a strategy should always be geared towards achieving an objective (or objectives) for core audiences in a way that’s relevant and engaging from start to finish.
- It’s made up
It’s imperative that marketers understand who their audiences are, what their interests and behaviours are, and how they engage with your brand – from there, insights and inspiration can be taken from audience data to develop an audience-focused strategy. Essentially, marketers need to create solid building blocks that are founded on audience data, and integrate that information with experience and creativity to execute something unique yet relevant.
- It’s assumed that people care
People don’t sit around just waiting for a brand to post something new or to share a photo – yet a lot of brands forget that. The key is to avoid posting for the sake of posting; instead brands need to focus on creating great content. Furthermore, no matter how good that content is, it’ll need support, so consider investing in paid advertising or influencers (as long as they’re carefully selected) to amplify a message, product, or promotional offer.
- Don’t take it too seriously
Lastly, it’s important to remember that people aren’t on social media to like, share, or comment on branded content, but to interact with friends or share their pictures. As such, marketers shouldn’t interpret social in any other way, and should use their better judgement when executing their social media strategy. People are more likely to engage and relate to brands that are relevant to their own interests, and are less likely to pay attention to posts that are demanding attention from anyone. Keep things focused, relevant, and personal.
Questions and answers from Marin’s session
Following Marin's session, participants had the chance to ask a few questions – here are some of the most upvoted ones:
When is it best to use video vs static imagery (or no imagery!) on social?
No imagery should be avoided at all costs. Engaging imagery is important when creating content and should be used consistently and adapted to the right formats for the social channel (in terms of size and duration). However, using video is ideal as its consumption continues to increase and is one of the preferred ways to consume content, with 43% of consumers noting they’d like to see more video content this year.
What metrics or tools should marketers use to measure the success of their social campaigns?
The metrics used to measure the success of a campaign depends on the campaign’s objective, so, for example, if the objective of a campaign was to increase brand awareness, you’d want to use engagement metrics such as shares, reach, and mentions.
What percentage of your marketing budget should be allocated to social media content/campaigns?
This depends on multiple factors and on what the overall campaign objective aim is. However, it’s important to remember that to achieve good results, you don’t need to spend huge amounts – as long as marketers are making use of their data and applying that information in creative ways, they can achieve great results with little spend.