Putting Social Media Marketing in Context2016-04-08T14:44:39+00:00

Social media takes up a huge share of marketers’ attention, and with good reason. More than 900 million people worldwide are daily Facebook users. Add in the numbers of peoplesocial-media-image300 using Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, and whatever the next hot social media channel is, and it’s easy to see the potential for social media to make a major impact on marketing strategies.

The trouble is, it isn’t realizing that potential – that is, not reliably and not for all companies. New data from Custora as reported in AdWeek suggest social media accounted for 1.5 percent of last-click purchases. While the study focused on overall figures and not specifically B2B sales, all businesses face a problem when deciding how to invest their energy into social media marketing. Directly monetizing social media is a goal for the future, but marketing automation technology that takes a more nuanced view of attribution is something you can do now to get a clear picture of your ROI on social media spend.

Following the Chain of Attribution

Take another look at those survey results, and you’ll see the key to using social media marketing effectively: Those figures relate only to last-click buying decisions. Leads rarely use social media as their last stop before a decision to purchase, in other words, but that doesn’t mean they don’t incorporate social media signals into a larger framework of decision-making.

That’s where more sophisticated attribution algorithms come in, allowing marketers to understand more about how and when their leads make pivotal decisions along their buying journey. Social media is the mode of travel, not the destination, and marketing automation software accounts for that when assessing the value of social media channels.

Tuning in to Your Most Valuable Channels

Social media’s one of the most cost-effective marketing options available, but that doesn’t mean every channel is worth your investment of time and effort. An understanding of your target market, reliable metrics on performance, and prioritization of the media streams that get you the most impressive results ensure a minimum of wasted effort when implementing your social media strategy.

If you run a film production company, for example, YouTube is a natural choice, whereas LinkedIn might be the best bet for B2B organizations that offer productivity software solutions. Until you see the metrics, though, you’re only guessing, which is why marketing automation tools that give you precise figures play a key role in focusing your social media activity.

Defining Goals

What counts as a success for your social media campaign? How you answer that question depends on your goals. Awareness campaigns, branding, up-selling, cross-selling, loyalty building – they’re all distinct, and each requires a different approach on social media. For an awareness campaign, for instance, you want your reach to be wide and relatively shallow; for a loyalty program, you need to reach your best customers and demonstrate how much you value them. Automation works beautifully with setting timely, measurable goals. With it, you can set desired benchmarks for click-through rates, conversions, or other KPIs and have a concrete idea of how many leads you must reach meet them.

Developing a Customer-Centric Strategy

Social media is a means to an end for your leads, not a destination in itself. Your customers use it to get a quick glimpse of industry news, find out about your latest content, or contact you directly with questions and comments. The cardinal mistake many B2B organizations make with social media is treating these channels as advertising streams. Instead, they should ask themselves how their audience uses social media and deliver what they want. Marketing automation excels at coordinating omni-channel marketing programs, so save the advertising for other platforms and use your social media presence to build better relationships with your leads.