Brands Must Customize Their Social Media to Spark Sharper Conversations with Customers and Prospects

March 26, 2019

By Matthew Schwartz

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Inspired by organizing guru Marie Kondo, this is the fourth in a series of articles designed to help CMOs and marketers tidy up their workload, lose the extraneous material, and focus on the immediate task at hand.

Twitter introduced some major changes to its social media platform earlier this month. The changes, which are in prototype, are designed to make good on the company's promise to promote "healthy conversation" (and maybe burnish the brand's reputation in the process).

Talk about stripping things down. According to TechCrunch, as part of the overhaul engagements are hidden on people's individual tweets; that is "there's no heart (favorite) icon, no retweet icon, no reply bubble icon and no sharing icon, like you're used to seeing on tweets today," TechCrunch said.

Twitter seems to be taking a page from the Marie Kondo playbook. Kondo has become a media darling the last few years by showing people how to keep items that bring them joy and discard the rest.

By making significant changes to its platform Twitter is conceding that its user experience can be a lot less cluttered and much more meaningful. Perhaps Jack Dorsey and Ms. Kondo had a bit of a mind-meld?

CMOs and marketers would be wise to follow suit when it comes to generating more value from their social media channels.

As social platforms command more budget, brand managers are scrambling to monetize their platforms. Indeed, 40 percent of 162 publishing executives view branded content as one of the most important revenue streams, according to data from Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford.

Social media, of course, is a massive target, with the number of social media users worldwide approaching 2.9 billion, per Statista. Against that backdrop, marketers need to carve their niche on social channels and go micro, even if they work for a global brand with millions of customers.

Here are a few ways for marketers to declutter their social media marketing efforts.

 

Put Vanity Metrics Out to Pasture

Generating lots of likes and followers is akin to being congratulated for a job well done. Sure, the adulation is nice but it's not as if there's bonus pay accompanying the compliment. Same deal with vanity metrics. Marketers may feel a bit of a rush when one of their social media posts sparks hundreds of likes and/or comments, but how many of those people are legitimate customers and/or prospects? And how many are conducting the online equivalent of poking your head into your colleague's office for a quick hello and then going on your merry way? Likes and comments simply clog up the marketing arteries.

CMOs and marketers need to double down on the most salient social media metrics, such as time spent on the channel, share of voice (how many people mention the brand name in social conversations compared with competitors?), and how quickly marketers move prospects into the sales funnel. Hootsuite, a social media management platform, provides a great scratch sheet for marketers looking for better returns from their social media investments.

 

Cease 'Spray and Pray' Once and for All

It's been the default mode of marketers since time immemorial. But 'Spray and Pray' — or distributing branded content to the most eyeballs possible, never mind marketing strategy — remains a colossal waste of marketers' time and resources. Posting the same exact content on multiple social channels is counterproductive. It muddies the waters and lumps all your customers and prospects together. In order to maximize their social channels, marketers need to customize their content according to the specific platform.

To keep your constituents abreast of, say, general announcements, new products, business innovation, or changes in executive leadership, Twitter is the most effective vehicle. For a little levity — combined with light messaging — Facebook is the way to go. For hardcore business customers who are focused on lead generation and eager for content that can help them spike their bottom line, LinkedIn is the ticket.

By treating social platforms individually rather than as a collective, marketers get a much sharper sense of how their audiences differ, which content is resonating with people, and how to respond to consumers' needs with more alacrity.

 

Consider Taking Social Media Activity In-House

It's kismet. On one hand, marketers are trying to keep better tabs on their social media efforts from outside agencies. On the other hand, there's a groundswell among boards of directors and C-suite executives to take their marketing and ad agencies in-house. Perhaps there's a series of corporate weddings in the offing, worthy of Sun Myung Moon.

By dint of having the social media team in-house, brand managers obtain much better intelligence regarding how their social channels are performing. According to a recent ANA study, 70 percent of respondents have moved work formerly handled by an external agency to their in-house operation, including content marketing, social media, and influencer marketing. Marketers who have moved their agency services in-house range from Chobani to Clorox to PwC.

This is not a death knell for outside agencies. Rather, it's a way for brand managers to get a better understanding about the value of their social platforms.

Social media, of course, is going to get more pronounced in the years ahead. Marketers need a much more clear-eyed approach moving forward.

Next up in our series melding the KonMarie Method to better marketing efforts: marketing automation.


Previous articles in this series:

Applying the KonMarie Method to Marketing

Less is More When it Comes to Content Marketing

Marketing Meetings Are Seldom Joyful, but they Can Be Much More Efficient


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