If you do nothing else with social media this year, make sure you implement a Social Media Monitoring service. It’s your job as a marketer to understand what’s interesting & important to your audience, and the chances are your customers are already online talking about the issues that relate to your sector. It’s your job to understand how this relates to your brand!
Understanding what’s going on across the social landscape is the first step towards understanding the opportunities to engage with your audience through these new channels, & it doesn’t have to be complicated.
I’ve run social media monitoring and landscape reviews for several brands including Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance, TNT & Lufthansa, to understand the opportunities & implications of deploying social media tactics for these companies, building a business case for Social Media Marketing Engagement Plans along the way.
The first step is understanding what your audience is up to in the Social Media space. Proper analysis of Search Engine activity is a good place to start, & sound knowledge of the Search Terms your audience is using means the intelligence is based on real understanding of the topics & trends important to the customer, the cornerstone of all good marketing!
Once we’ve highlighted the key Search Terms we can start drilling into the Social Media channels. There are a number of Social Media Monitoring software tools out there designed to measure social media activity, and with intelligent use of these tools we can build a pretty good picture of the themes running through the social media landscape impacting on your sector.
Like any analytics software, in the right hands, it can revolutionise your understanding, but all the same data is not the same as intelligence. That’s why you need a team of Social Media Specialists, to add the real value to the data reports the software tools produce. What’s measured empirically is backed up with desk research, & most importantly married up with your business objectives, to define the opportunities & risks to the brand offered through Social Media.
The final report should be a combination of empirical data, analysing audience behaviours, competitor activity & the trending topics running through the Social Media landscape. This is followed by a balanced assessment of the strategic opportunities for the brand to engage through Social Media channels to achieve its marketing objectives. The report should cover Social Media Campaign opportunities, as well as possible Crisis Planning & Risk Management strategies.
Social media platforms can be a relevant communication medium across a number of business departments, from Marketing & PR to Customer Service Teams, New Business & HR, & you can focus in on these opportunities depending on your business priorities. This could include obvious areas like maximising digital marketing efforts & customer brand engagement, as well as reducing marketing overhead & engaging with prospects to drive sales leads, to less obvious uses like using social channels to augment traditional customer service channels, internal corporate communications & raising brand engagement amongst employees through social.
Ultimately, investing in a Social Media Landscape review is about driving an understanding of the social space as the first essential step to creating a roadmap for your brand to engage in these channels. It’s about providing a strategic focus to Social Media activity that can be clearly linked back to your business & marketing objectives, & the needs of your customers. This investment has provided brands like Lufthansa, TNT and Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance with a business case to open the debate with senior management around investment, & return on this investment through strategic use of Social Media Marketing techniques.