Try these data-driven approaches to stay ahead of the curve when building your social media marketing strategy.
For social media teams and marketers looking to get ahead of the curve, knowing how to spend time and resources and what opportunities are available can be half the battle. The Buffer State of Social Media Report analyzed survey responses from more than 1,200 marketers to understand how businesses of all sizes are approaching their social media marketing strategy:
1. Evaluate why you use social.
The vast majority of marketers are using social media to build brand awareness, support community engagement, and distribute content. However, only 54 percent use social media for sales and lead generation, and 21 percent for customer support. If you are looking to distinguish your brand from others, using social for customer support is a way to stay ahead of the industry.
No matter how you leverage social media, be intentional and explicit about what you want to get out of social usage. Set up a meeting with your social media team, plan ahead, and let your goals drive your tactics, instead of trying different approaches at random.
2. Expand resources for video content.
More than 80 percent of marketers said they would like to spend more time on video. As more brands start to incorporate video into their social media marketing strategy, simply having a video presence can make a difference. Video productions can be intimidating—with many marketers feeling that videos are too time-consuming and costly to produce—but even simple videos shot with a high-quality cellphone camera can create an authentic, relational experience for your users.
New technologies, such as live and 360-degree video, can help enhance the video experience even further. More than 70 percent of respondents to the State of Social Media Report had not created any live video. Facebook Live, Periscope, and Instagram Live all make it easy to not just tell users about an event, but make them feel a part of it.
3. Use social media marketing strategy to build business value.
Nearly 60 percent of marketers said their main social media challenge was driving traffic to their website, and almost half reported their main challenge as generating leads or defining ROI and measurement. By building a strong, structured social media strategy geared towards measuring and improving the monetary value of your social media presence, you can put yourself ahead of other marketers.
4. Think outside the social media box.
In addition to working in social media, marketers overwhelmingly had their hands in other areas, including content marketing, email marketing, SEO/SEM, customer support, sales, and account management. Only 15 percent only dealt with social media management in their jobs. This makes sense when you consider how broad social media can be—YouTube is a social platform, but if you do not know how to create quality video content, your presence there may flounder. A social media manager who writes and promotes blogs on Twitter has to have a strong grasp of content to succeed.
By building a social media team of T-shaped marketers—professionals with a little knowledge about many areas of marketing (the horizontal crossbar of the “T”) and deep expertise in one or several disciplines (the vertical upright of the “T”)—you can build a social media presence that incorporates a wide spectrum of goals and opportunities for growth.
5. Facebook is still in, while other platforms are on the decline.
Although Facebook is seeing a decline in organic reach, 93 percent of respondents still use Facebook, and about 75 percent are posting as much or more content there as they did in the past year. Facebook ads are still used by 91 percent of marketers. Facebook Live is the preferred video method for marketers, over options such as Periscope and YouTube.
Google+ is the channel receiving the least amount of marketer love, with almost 30 percent of those surveyed saying they are investing less time and money in it over the next 12 months. 23 percent of marketers are moving away from Twitter. Stories on Snapchat and Instagram have yet to take hold with marketers, as nearly 40 percent are not dedicating more time to creating more in 2017.