Recently eMarketer released a new report that purported to cover Social Media Tactics and which work best. Though the report has a lot of valuable information, most is based on a highly misguided view of social media to begin with. In this post I am going to outline two of the points in the report and attempt to give you some straight talk about them that is intended to help you adjust strategy and be more effective.
Early in the report there was a statement that stood out to me as a huge red flag:
“the greatest percentage of respondents from both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) companies considered customer engagement to be the primary purpose of their social media marketing.”
With so many marketers seeing engagement as the primary purpose for their social media marketing, it is no wonder why the respondents answered the way they did on other segments in the report. Engagement should simply be a part of the process within social media marketing, not the goal or purpose for it. The goal or purpose should be a clearly defined objective that is different for every business, but that should include things like increased sales, revenue, customers, traffic, etc. Real results and measurable metrics that make the time-consuming activities in social media worth while.
A huge misnomer in the report is the repeated theme of the content creation requirement. Yes creating content is required. Photo’s, graphics, articles, blog posts, etc are optimum drivers when focused on the interests of your audience and delivers real value to them. However, there are two issues that need need to be dissected about this segment:
1) Average Small/Medium Businesses – Content creation can be an effective tool for driving social media marketing results, but the hard facts are that most SMB’s do not have the staff, resources or budget required to constantly create fresh creative content. In fact in most cases establishing a budget for this purpose for most SMB’s would not result in anything close to a return on investment. Larger companies and bigger brands are able to leverage their previous branding, resources and huge budgets without the need for real measured results and this is highly skewed in this report.
2) Content Sharing – Since the overwhelming majority of marketing professionals that responded, reported that the top tactics of “content creation” were also the most difficult to execute, this leaves many scratching their head for what to do in their social media marketing. Not once in this report was a reference to content curation, aggregation or sharing, let alone a strategy around sharing. The average business must have a content strategy that involves posting content that others have written; content that is interesting and relevant to their target audience, provides value to that audience and starts conversations.
Reports like these can be incredibly insightful for the largest brands out there, or those that work with large brands, the fact is that small and medium businesses just don’t have the resources to execute social media this way. Furthermore, many of the larger brands do social media marketing in direct contrast to how it should be done, therefore spending most of their efforts pitching their products, not responding to their audience and producing content that are more liken to commercials than content that adds value to their audience.
If you are not a large brand, don’t let this report discourage you. Use the information to establish an effective strategy of content sharing and do what level of content creation you are able to, focusing on delivering value to your audience and building real relationships. THESE are the tactics that actually get real results.