Marketing Managers are already beginning to take note of how 2016’s social media data will shape their strategy for 2017. Social media challenges faced in 2016 were more extrinsic, with things like reaching out to influencers (cold) and hosting live Q&A sessions, ranking high for many marketers.
But, without a doubt, many businesses would list ROI for their social media efforts as the number one challenge coming into 2017. Marketers should be prepared to know that there are, in fact, a few major challenges coming their way. These challenges aren’t all bad though; they give insight into social media opportunities that competitors may not have taken advantage of.
Few marketers would be willing to give up on the potential of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for attracting customers, which means the ones who want to continue to use social media opportunities for business growth need to understand what’s to come and how to hit their KPI of generating leads.
You can read more about the potential for converting warm leads into sales in the Ultimate Social Media Marketing Kit.
So what are the main social media challenges that strategists will face in 2017 and how can they rise above them? Here’s a few ideas, based on some quick research:
Re-aligning ourselves with the purpose of social media
Sujan Patel, the co-founder of ContentMarketer.io, has this to say about social media: “These days, consumers primarily use social media for connection and entertainment; if your message doesn’t fulfill one of those two requirements, chances are you’re wasting your finger strength.”
Understanding your channels and their audience means that you won’t slip into business jargon with your Facebook followers or sharing feel-good memes with LinkedIn connections.
Bu the answer is to go deeper with your research into social media audiences. Find out what they read, who they follow and what they comment upon. Invest in content creation and broaden the style of your content to improve its reach. Consider video, an online quiz or mini-blog. Each of these tick the box in terms of interactivity and entertainment.
Coming to grips with micro-moments
Micro-moments happen when we your target audience reaches for their mobile device and activate Siri with a question or need for directions. Micro moments also happen when they message a colleague on LinkedIn about a conference, or turn to YouTube for a how-to demonstration.
When a customer reaches out via social media, brands need to be there to respond. For content strategists and marketers, the social media challenge is to anticipate those moments and create lists, tips, reviews, product demonstrations and video how-tos: and to promote them through paid search and social advertising.
Harnessing the role of influencers
Influencers have an interesting and powerful presence on social media. They are individuals with an established online presence and their own loyal following. Some have expertise or are known for their credibility on a particular issue. Many are bloggers or active members of online forums.
Finding and starting a conversation with a key influencer in 2017, needs to be one of the goals of social media marketers. The main thing to remember is to be thorough in exploring the affiliations, attitudes and threads of potential candidates before you align your brand with their voice.
One tip that can really help you do this is to study their audience:
Why do they engage? Are they looking to be informed or affirmed in their beliefs? Are they curious or mostly skeptical? It is also worth noting how events (an election for example) can change the role and focus of an Influencer.
Getting serious about social selling
Social media isn’t only about entertainment and connection, it’s also about selling.
Research by HubSpot found 42% of buyers surveyed said they communicate via social networks such as LinkedIn and Twitter for business purposes.
Furthermore, they found sales teams that were growing by more than 50%, were much more likely than any other group to identify LinkedIn as a valuable sales connection channel.
Social media strategy needs to grow beyond the goals of brand awareness, growing website traffic and generating leads and this can only happen through close collaboration between marketing and sales teams (AKA: smarketing). Engaging with the knowledgeable, empowered and well-connected customers who are active online means closing the gap between the social world and the business world.
Coming to grips with ROI
The top challenge for inbound marketers according to HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2016 Report is generating traffic and leads. The number two challenge is proving the ROI of marketing activities.
Both have bearing on inbound marketing budgets which govern the way companies are able to meet the challenge.
Social media marketing demands an ever changing, fresh and relevant supply of content in different forms for different channels in order to be effective.
It needs sensitivity to consumer trends such as the micro-moment and readiness to join in conversation with Influencers.
As marketers we must convince our sales team counterparts to jump right in to social media where potential customers are exploring opportunities, solving problems and sharing their frustrations.
To help you build your business through the mounting social media opportunities and get ahead of your competitor, download the Ultimate Social Media Marketing Kit for tools and tips needed to shape your social presence in 2017.