Tips for Connecting with Millennials

It seems that every generation is misunderstood at some point in time, but few have received the massive amounts of negative attention that millennials have.

Adjectives most often applied to the group born between 1981 and 1997 (today’s 18-34 year olds)? Spoiled. Entitled. Lazy.

But like most stereotypes, they really aren’t fair or accurate.

If marketers want to reach millennials they first need to understand them. That means looking past the generalisations to understand what makes them tick, then using that insight to create a connection.

Millennials are not easily fooled by marketing and advertising tactics, and the development of an authentic relationship is vital. Which is why we rounded up these 19 best tips for connecting with millennials.

Take time to figure out your unique millennial target audience.

1. “Millennials are not a homogenous group. Many marketers make the mistake of developing Millennial stereotypes. In reality, Millennials are diverse. You can’t expect to target them and come away with a streamlined strategy. Such a strategy is, in effect, not a strategy at all. Your marketing net is too wide. The antidote is social listening. Social listening allows you to understand the nuances of your particular Millennial audience as distinct from the Millennial generation as a whole.” – Neil Patel for Inc.

2. “Adult life isn’t linear for millennials, and advertisers have to adjust accordingly. Instead of focusing on life stages, target millennials based on social groups. For example, you can focus your attention on population segments that are drawn to social causes, those who are in alternative lifestyles or those who avidly follow specific social media personalities. Millennials are much more likely to have a strong attachment to these social identities than they are to strongly identify with a specific stage of life.“ – Sujan Patel for Entrepreneur

3. “We’ve narrowed it down to three key strategies that brands should keep in mind when engaging Millennials. First, understand and speak to the values that drive them – happiness, passion, diversity, sharing and discovery. Second, understand their realistic lifestyles and experiences and find ways to amplify their reality. And, finally, make sure they feel informed and involved, not just marketed to. By following these three strategies, brands will find more opportunities available to them to gain this generation’s affinity.” – Katie Elfering, as quoted by Patrick Spenner for Forbes

4. “Marketers get frustrated with this generation because they don’t understand them and have to work harder to reach them. Move away from misguided stereotypes. Millennials are not lazy and inattentive; in fact, often they’re trying to be attentive to too many things at once. When you understand the differences you will be delighted by these brand-loyal, conscious, and engaged consumers.” – Marla Tabaka for Inc.

Tailor strategies and tactics to their wants and needs, not yours.

5. “Keep it short. Despite the value of long-form content, 41% of millennials said the main reason they abandon content is that it’s too long. Keep the context of your content in mind – are they on a mobile device looking for a quick distraction or researching for real, in-depth information?” – Amber van Natten for News Cred

6. “Millennials want to feel connected and involved when it comes to their purchases, and traditional marketing does not encourage this. Outbound marketing methods, like magazine ads, direct mail campaigns, and radio spots, do not impress Millennials. In the mind of a young consumer, these campaigns are impersonal and company-focused, filled with logos and void of any real substance. This generation demands more customer-driven, personalised marketing.Meaghan Moraes for HubSpot

7. “If you aren’t thinking mobile first to reach millennials, you won’t be successful. This group is spending more time on their mobile devices than any other platform and are making their decisions utilising their mobile devices.” – Andrew Howlett as quoted by Young Entrepreneur Council for HubSpot

8. “Having a solid “event strategy” lets you appeal to millennials’ need for spontaneous, unique experiences and their desire to look good in front of their peers. Branded VIP parties, exclusive sneak peeks and selective, influencer-only events are all great ways to make millennials feel like trendsetters among the crowd, and also appeal to their sense of adventure.” – Christie Garton for Forbes

9. “Marketing with millennials does not mean paying celebrities. In our recent SocialChorus Millennials as Advocates survey, celebrities were trusted by only 7% of millennials as a credible source of product information. It also doesn’t mean paying Millennials. What it does mean is that brands need to find creative ways to appeal to Millennials and empower them to share the brand’s story. Turning a millennial consumer into a brand advocate opens up the opportunity to create a lifelong customer.” – Greg Shove as quoted by Patrick Coffee for AdWeek

10. “[…]Millennials want to be immersed in high-quality, entertaining content — 72 percent even said they “tend to find themselves lost in a vortex of entertainment.” That may sound like the makings of a horror movie, but it actually means that there are plenty of opportunities to put quality, engaging content in front of millennials […]” – Gabe Rosenberg for Contently

11. “No one wants to be told what to do, what to like and what to think. That is especially true of Millennials, who have an instant aversion to anything that smacks of ‘marketing’. They want to believe that they have uniquely discovered the things they like.” – Millennial Marketing

Encourage them to talk about you.

12. “Millennials define themselves by the products they use, the beer they drink and the glasses they wear. And, most importantly, they love to talk about those products. When millennials fall in love with a product or an organisation, they tell the world — through social media and face-to-face conversations. The millennials who love your product are your best marketing tool. These evangelists will sell your product for you if you give them a forum and the means to do so.” – Joel Kaplan for Mashable

Give them an active role in the relationship with your brand.

13. “Perhaps because they came of age in a time of economic and social uncertainty, Millennials value transparency. They tend to distrust businesses that don’t respond to feedback, or companies that are secretive about their activities. To gain Millennials’ trust, make sure you engage them on social media and share company news. Millennials value being heard and consider companies that communicate openly more trustworthy, so gain their confidence by engaging with them directly.” – Dave Hawley for MarketingProfs

14. “Millennials tend to be more receptive to brands that make them feel like they are a part of the process. They like being in the loop and appreciate being partners, co-curators and co-creators, not mere spectators.” – Tanya Dua for Digiday

15. “This may come as no surprise, but as the first generation that had social media as children and young adults, Millennials are a social set. They grew up connected not only to individuals in their schools and communities, but with connections across the country and, indeed around the world. As a result, Millennials value relationships and connectedness, not only with people but also with brands. They want to feel a real connection with the companies they buy from.” – Lindsay Tjepkema for Business2Community

Be honest, upfront and transparent, even if that scares you.

16. “Millennials grew up in a connected world. They know the difference between quality content and marketing promotion. If you want to break through and attract their attention, you must deliver the information they actively seek and be ready to help them when they want you to.” – Heidi Cohen

17. “As trust is so important to millennials, brands should make it a point to practice greater transparency in their marketing efforts. Showing consumers how the data collected on them is being handled and using it to offer them more, will lead to brand loyalty in the long run. Making the data exchange mutual for both parties involved can be a critical step. When collecting and using customer data, give customers something beneficial in exchange, like a significant discount offer on a future purchase.” – Kimberly Whitler for Forbes

A warm, human touch wins.

18. “Although occasionally misrepresented as self-centered, millennials are actually a civic-minded and group-oriented generation. Many millennials are understandably cynical about companies and institutions, having come of age during a period of social, political, and economic turmoil. They tend not to believe traditional advertising claims. But they do believe in the power of working together to effect change, and millennials are more likely to associate with brands that reflect such personal values. For those reasons, companies that operate sustainably, or show serious commitment to giving back to the community, tend to attract millennials’ support.” – Hernan Vicuna for MarketingProfs

Remember that you are not “on fleek.”

19. “Too often we see brands attempting to be cool by using slang or clever hashtags and failing to get a grasp on what is really driving culture trends. Not to mention, the speed at which these trends change is almost too fast to keep up with. The goal is to know where to place your bets and understanding where you fit naturally. This stems from building a strong brand authority that will guide the direction of your voice, messages and cultural impact. If you try and participate in a conversation that you have no business being a part of, millennials will not be afraid to call you out on it.” – Leah Swartz for Millennial Marketing

 

This article was written by Stacy Firth from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

 

Fashion Forward: Social Media Strategy from a Fashion Blogger

Note: Jena Gambaccini from ChiCityFashion will be joining Shirley Yang from StyleHaul and Riana Dadlani from Meltwater at Social Media Week in Chicago on November 18, 2015, on what B2B marketers can learn from fashion.

What do fashion and social media have in common?

  1. Social media is fashionable.
  2. Fashion world has pioneered brand-building on social media.
  3. Keeping up with either can feel like a full time job. The reality is that both fashion and social media are constantly changing, and just when you think you’ve landed on the next big thing, it’s moved on. So how has Jena Gambaccini from ChiCityFashion been so successful as a social media arbiter of what’s hot?

Jena started building her brand on Twitter. Today she has a successful blog and more than 18,000 followers on Instagram. As the title of her blog would suggest, she showcases Chicago fashion. But she does more than that. You could say she’s the city’s fashion ambassador, showing off what Chicago has to offer, but also travelling to NYC and Europe to bring home her latest finds.

While the blog still sparkles with the same enthusiasm that she started off with, Jena has turned her blog into a business and now partners with global brands. During a recent chat, I asked her to explain how she knows when it’s time to pick up a trend, whether in fashion or as a brand. As bold as her personal style can be, Jena uses her shopping habits to explain that she can be cautious: “I try not to adapt to trends too quickly, especially if it’s going to be an investment piece. For example, I loved the Celine luggage tote when it came out. I was so excited to get one, and I saved up for months. By the time I got mine, everyone had one. I hated it. If something seems overly trendy, like sneaker wedges, I usually don’t buy into it. I ask myself, ‘In five years from now will you think of it as being dated and embarrassing’?

Luckily, she was able to sell her Celine tote, and even made a profit. But when it comes to investing in a social media presence, her trust that the world of fashion is a pioneering force has helped guide her. As she explains, “When it comes to branding, the fashion industry is always ahead on social media. Instagram is a great example. When I started reading about Instagram on fashion blogs, my friends had no idea what it was. I joined at least a year or year and a half earlier than my friends. Fashion people are ahead of the trends in many ways.”

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Even though Instagram doesn’t allow her to link back to her blog, it’s where the fashion folks are right now. Jena has focused on building a presence here in order to reach a new audience. She’s even been able to develop partnerships on Instagram that created opportunities she never considered. Here’s her take on the grid.

The world of fashion is known for not being afraid to try new things. This fall, Misha Nonoo was the first designer to debut her collection on Instagram. In fearless fashion world style, Jena offers a prediction, “I’m sure most brands will use Snapchat eventually.” Though, without missing a beat, she acknowledges, “For a company that’s been around for a long time, it’s difficult to have to change drastically because of social media.”

As a B2B PR specialist, I agree with her and wonder, is it just a matter of time before business software or services get their launch on Instagram, or even Snapchat? What would that look like? Pondering these questions, I steer the conversation to her partnerships. After all, collaboration between bloggers and global brands was completely uncharted territory not too long ago.

I ask how she works with her partners (including Burberry, Neiman’s, and Macy’s) and how she’s managed to keep them from taking over her site’s very personal, curated sensibility. She responds, “I appreciate that you can’t tell what’s sponsored on my blog. I try to organically incorporate my partnerships. I value my readers, and I don’t want to write about things that I don’t care about. The money isn’t worth it if it means not being myself.” She tells me about one of her favorite partnerships: “It was with Chambord. I loved working with them because they let me do whatever I wanted. I had a really fun photo shoot with my photographer. I was wearing a hot dog costume and jumping with the bottle. I took a picture talking on a banana phone with the bottle.” On the other hand, staying authentic isn’t always simple. She’s also worked with companies with strict guidelines, who didn’t seem to get that connecting with Jena’s audience means doing things the way Jena would do them.

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Fashion fun with a favorite sponsor.

What lesson can Jena teach to brands trying to connect with their audience on social media?

Social media has made trend following, spotting, and making into a kind of sport. In the same way that Jena gets her readers excited about a new look, she has helped her partners understand that trying something new is a blend of personal brand building and purposeful investment. She gives brands an important lesson too: Know your style, and stick to it. It’s just as important to connect and engage with influencers like her, as it is to be authentic. Don’t just ride the wave; put your unique spin on it and don’t lose your voice. After all, the 70s might be back (and as Jena points out, the 90s too), but if you don’t give them “an updated twist,” you risk getting caught wearing low-rise culottes.

image 3

Jena’s take on the right way to wear culottes. As she recently reported in her blog, “I love my clothes big, so why wouldn’t I be into extra wide pants? So now that we’ve established I no longer hate culottes, let’s see how I like to wear them.”

4 Key Ways to Use B2B PR to Get Leads

Is your B2B PR a perpetual fixer-upper? That is to say, is it something you constantly pour money into, without seeing your business grow? If so, then it’s time for a complete rehab – right down to the very studs.

The end goal of all B2B PR, among others, should be lead generation. Let’s talk about a few effective ways to accomplish  this – with paid, shared, earned, and owned media.

What is Paid, Earned, Owned, and Shared Media?

Paid Media

Paid media is a simple concept to understand: It’s PR that you pay for. This includes Google AdWords, retargeting, social media ads, and other advertising. It boosts the performance of your “free” media.

Earned Media

Earned media includes word-of-mouth (WOM), online reviews, influencer relations, blogger and press relations. This is perhaps the most enviable type of media since others are essentially doing your PR for you.

Owned Media

Owned media is content your create. This includes blog posts, whitepapers, videos, ebooks, and all the other goodies on your website.

Shared Media

Shared media primarily encompasses social media – using Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and other social platforms to distribute content.

LEAD_GENERATION-2

Misconceptions About Using B2B PR for Lead Generation

Occasionally, when you strip a fixer-upper down to the studs, you’ll find structural issues; a crack in the foundation here, a termite infestation there. Before you proceed to correct aesthetic issues, you’ve got to clear up these major ones.

The same goes for your B2B PR. You need to fix any misconceptions or roadblocks in your PR that are hindering a beautiful end product: lead generation.

Let’s clear up a few of those right now.

Misconception #1: You need to only try one channel at a time.

This may be tempting if you’re on a tight budget. You might think that pouring all of your resources into say, paid media, is the best way to go.

The reality is that paid, earned, owned, and shared media need to work in harmony to see a significant boost in lead generation.

Misconception #2: Shared Media isn’t important when it comes to B2B PR for lead generation.

You may think that since your B2B brand isn’t glamorous, no one will want to hear from you on social media. However, this just couldn’t be further from the truth!

No matter what your service or product, the bottom line is that people, not businesses, are buying your product or services. And people are on social media. It’s where we research, it’s where we get product assistance, and it’s where we socialize. It’s our culture.

Misconception #3: Content is not that important in my industry.

In fact, B2B marketers who use blogs generate 67% more leads than those who do not. Notice we’re not talking about B2C, but B2B. Yes, your prospects are asking you for information. Will you give it to them, or dismiss them so they can move on to another business that will?

Now that we’ve cleared up those structural issues, let’s move on to how to increase those leads!

4 Ways To Remodel Your B2B PR For Lead Generation

1. In Owned Media

This is perhaps your prime opportunity for utilizing calls to action and landing pages. You have total control over the bread crumbs. A word of caution regarding owned media:

Owned media exists to educate, inform, and even entertain your prospects. It is not your branded Home Shopping Network, where you hock your wares and services.

Whitepapers, ebooks, blogs, and other content should have education as their main thrust. Your end game is, of course, to convert, but you need to give your prospects the dignity of making that decision themselves. Your content should compel the viewer to want more, to take action.

This is where calls to action and an effective landing page become your digital salesperson. 

What will a good great landing page include? Neil Patel, has eight tips for you to write great landing page copy:

  • Use customer testimonials
  • Emphasize the benefits, not the product or service
  • Spend time writing a killer headline
  • Keep your writing simple
  • Write like a human
  • Use numbers and get specific
  • Ask for readers to take action
  • A/B test your copy
2. In Earned Media

Although you have little control over what others say about you or your business, you do have much control over the fodder they use.

Being notoriously generous with your resources will earn you a reputation others are drawn to. For instance, making your original content easy to share, such as we’ve done with the above mini infographic, allows others to easily spread your message.

Make sure the content is attributed correctly, as we’ve done by branding it with our logo.

3. In Shared Media

Again, here is where compelling content, effective calls to action, and motivating landing pages come into play. Being active on social media is not enough. Simply sharing content for the sake of visibility will not in itself generate leads.

No, social sharing should connect your audience with a call to action.

For instance, I recently began following Company X on Facebook. They posted a congratulatory message to a new team member. When I clicked on the link, it simply took me to a bio of that person. And… boom! I’m dropped in the middle of nowhere. Nothing to click on, no way to explore their site any further. How could this have been improved upon?

Ideally, this link should have taken me to his bio, with a call-to-action to connect with this person. The call to action button should have lead me to a landing page where I would fill out a form to get more information on what this person is offering. This, in turn, should lead me to a thank you page, where additional suggestions for content are offered. At the very least, the bio should have been hosted on their website, with links so that I could explore their site.

4. In Paid Media

Paid media is a great way to increase visibility of your earned and owned media. Save it for last once you know what content you’ve created is performing best. That content is what warrants putting some dollars behind it.

Be sure to test  your paid media. For example, LinkedIn and Twitter often perform well for B2B media. But start with a small budget and see how you do.

`Also evaluate paid syndication sites like Outbrain to see if it’s worth the cost. You can also try syndicating your content yourself by knocking on the virtual doors of sites in your industry that you know prospects read.

Using Content to Create A Mean Lead Generation Machine

If you struggle with creating original content, you are by no means alone. According to the Content Marketing Institute, B2B marketers face a number of challenges when it comes to content creation:

And as Robert Rose says, “The reinvention of marketing is a road, not a door.” Do those statistics hit close to home? It might be time for a content boost!

This article was written by Wendy Marx from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

 


5 Easy Ways to Brainstorm Blog Topic Ideas

As a social media marketer, content is at the core of my practice. Without insightful, educational, or interesting content to share, I don’t have anything to talk about online.

While curating content is an important part of social media marketing, I’ve found that producing my own content on my company’s blog has been a great way to build credibility for myself and my company. The business blogs that I’ve contributed to in the past have proven to be instrumental in my social media strategy, as they help me meet business goals by driving targeted traffic back to the business’ website.

The trick, however, is blogging often enough to make an impact. Regular blogging has clear benefits to your business: first, it helps your website get indexed more frequently by search engines so that you rank higher in search results; second, it drives a steady flow of traffic to your website to help new prospects discover your business; third, it keeps you top of mind for returning visitors; and finally, yes, it can even help you generate leads.

But, sometimes, it can be difficult to come up with enough blog topic ideas to keep the content coming; this is a common problem.  Allow me to offer five tips for brainstorming blog topic ideas so you can publish on a regular schedule.

Blog Topic Ideas | #1 Newsjacking

One of my favorite methods for coming up with great blog topic ideas is to newsjack, or write a blog post about a recent news story. For example, when Facebook announced its algorithm changes, everyone was writing blog posts about what the changes were, what impact they might have, what they liked, and what they didn’t like, etc.

When I’ve done this in the past, I always tried to add value above and beyond the basic announcement, providing insight on who the news would affect, how it would affect them, and what they could do about it. This helped my posts stand out from the other articles.

Blog Topic Ideas | #2 Create Reaction Posts

Oftentimes, I’ll read a blog post that really gets me thinking – and I’ll want to contribute to the conversation. Rather than writing a novel in the comments section of another blog, I’ll write a reaction post on my own blog. This gives me the freedom to provide an in-depth response to something that intrigued me, and helps me come up with blog topic ideas that at least one other person might be interested in (i.e. the original author)!

Blog Topic Ideas | #3 Share and Discuss Infographics

I often get blog topic ideas from infographics that are related to my blog’s focus. If I see one on Mashable, Pinterest, or another blog that I think would be interesting to my community, I upload the image and do a short write up on it. I usually include something I found surprising, or I’ll pick one of the main points and elaborate on it.  I recently did this on my article How to Get More Followers on Twitter. I found an incredible infographic with tons of great tips for increasing your Twitter following, and wrote a blog post about my four favorite.  If you want to take this tip to the next level, create your own infographic and write up a blog post about it!  (Note: this tip also works for videos you find interesting.)

Blog Topic Ideas | #4 Interview Someone

Rather than trying to come up with a 600-1,000 word post, I will sometimes come up with a few questions that I can ask a customer, thought leader or business partner and have them create the majority of the content. In the past, I’ve done simple email interviews with various thought leaders about industry trends; I send them the questions, and they email their answers back. This was a fun way to collaborate with others in my industry, and they helped me promote the interview to get broader reach. I’ve also seen people run live Google Plus hangouts for these types of interviews, which can be recorded and embedded on your blog, and uploaded to YouTube and Vimeo. It’s a nice bonus to come up with great blog topic ideas that can be reused in other types of content.

Blog Topic Ideas | #5 Get Ideas from the Google AdWords Keyword Planner

Each time I write a blog post, I type my post’s keywords into the Google AdWords Keyword Planner to see if I can optimize my post for search engines. By doing so, I get alternative, suggested keywords, complete with metrics on the degree of competition for the keywords and the number of monthly searches. This is full of great blog post ideas! For example, when I typed in “Twitter Marketing,” I found that “how to use Twitter” had low competition and 135,000 global, monthly searches. That’s definitely low-hanging fruit from an SEO perspective, so I add that to my list of future blog topic ideas.

I also try to think up some related blog topics ideas, like “How to Use Twitter for Lead Generation,” “How to Use Lists on Twitter,” and “How to Use Twitter Search to Keep an Eye on My Competitors.” Rather than trying to come up with blog topic ideas in a crunch, I’ve found it extremely beneficial to have a list of ideas already at my disposal.

What are your favorite ways to brainstorm blog topic ideas? Share them below, and they may be featured on a future post!

6 Steps to Proving Your Worth: Social Marketing ROI

Are you or is someone in your organization suffering from social marketing ROI confusion? Understanding where social marketing touches customers on the happy path to conversion is the key to ending the blank stares and furrowed brows of senior management, who may not yet understand what this social media thing does for the company.

Quality can be hard to quantify

If you’ve ever had someone in your company say something like “What does social media marketing do for us, anyway?,” this is the article for you.  Really, if you’re in any marketing discipline that isn’t measured on an immediate sale and engenders questions like “Where is the ROI in [insert your area of expertise]?” and, consequently, leads to your budget being hit first when things are tight…

I have been one of those beleaguered folks looking for meaningful KPI’s to show senior management that things like The Twitter had a viable business purpose.  Those of us in “softer” social marketing disciplines (PR, brand, community, events, social media) have traditionally had a very difficult time quantifying our efforts to prove our worth, as it were, to higher-ups accustomed to the cut-and-dried metrics of direct marketing disciplines (SEM, direct mail, display).  Traditional PR and socially-driven program measurements like “ad value” and “impressions” are guesses that media outlets have applied to their real estate in order to provide numerical value to earned media, and these metrics can cause a raised eyebrow among C-level execs who want clear, quantifiable ROI.

Relationships aren’t best measured by a single interaction

Those softer metrics are fine for what they are, and “awareness” is actually a perfectly valid business goal: customers don’t usually give it up on the first date just because you winked at them.  But in the case of social marketing metrics, we have the technology to measure actual engagement.  First, though, we must differentiate between a direct marketing discipline and a relationship marketing discipline.  Direct marketing leads to single-sale conversion, and its metrics are very simple.  You send an email or post an ad with a prompt to buy, and a certain percentage of those people will buy.  The customer journey is clear, linear and trackable.

Now, established brands can use social media channels for quick, direct sales: Clif Bar, for example, once used Twitter to sell an overage of bars at a reduced price.  But one might be of the opinion that this effort was a direct marketing campaign that happened to be on a social channel rather than a social marketing initiative, and that’s another article (and it’s covered in our social channel strategy overview).  For the purposes of this article we’re going to talk about the fuzzier side of marketing, which is to say the relationship marketing discipline.  Social marketing is, at its core, about building relationships.

A typical sales funnel starts with awareness and ends in purchase, but an ideal customer journey ends in advocacy. Relationship marketing disciplines like social marketing typically touch the customer at the top and bottom of this funnel.

 

Advocacy can’t happen without awareness

No matter how you view your sales funnel, we can hopefully all agree that awareness is at the beginning and purchase is at the end, the latter of which ideally leads to the happily ever after of customer loyalty and advocacy.  Relationship marketing is a nurturing model that heartily embraces awareness as the beginning of the customer path to sale, and carries with it an understanding that most customers will need multiple touches, or impressions, before they buy something from you.  Put more pithily,

Relationship marketing disciplines are nurturing models that serve a multi-touch awareness effort.

Click to tweet

In exploring the difference between traditional monologue marketing and social dialogue marketing, we’ve discussed the importance of action-based social marketing metrics (read: a click).  These metrics are important not just because the ultimate goal of social is word-of-mouth marketing, but because this sort of measurement allows us to both follow a customer and set up a reporting process that will please the people wondering why they’re paying someone to fiddle around on Facebook.  With that in mind, setting up a workflow to make sure that every social marketing effort you undertake can tie to solid social media metrics looks about the same.  So, without further ado:

6 Steps to Having An Answer to “What Does Social Media Do for Us, Anyway?”

1. Make sure that your social marketing effort is servicing a larger business goal

As we discussed in our deep dive on social media campaign strategy, your social marketing needs to be crafted with a solid business goal in mind.  Once you know what you’re trying to accomplish, it’s a lot easier to measure it.  Don’t try to get more Twitter followers; look to engage social communities that make sense for your brand, and craft a Twitter campaign that leads to more followers as the cherry on your social sundae.

2. Use an action-based metric for your first round of social marketing tracking

In social media, this amounts to a click.  You’ve gotten their attention; now, what do you want to do with it?  Do you want them to share?  Click off to a landing page?  Actually purchase something?  Participate in a contest?  Figure out what sort of action works toward your business goal.

3. Route your happy clickers to some sort of lead capture form

Clicks are lovely, but Facebook and Twitter aren’t going to tell you who clicked what.  Facebook is more amenable to lead capture, as you can set up custom Facebook tabs and promotions (something Meltwater Connect, among others, allows).  For Twitter, you can set up an offsite landing page.  Whatever you set up, you’ll want some sort of a form field that encourages people to give you their information so that you can carry on wooing them toward a sale.  By and large, most people prefer to stay within the native app (i.e. they don’t like to leave Twitter or Facebook just because a Marketer wants them to), so you’re best off doing lead capture within the native app itself if possible.

4. Prompt your leads to the next step of engagement

Now that you got his number, it’s time to use it… wisely.  Yes, you should wait at least 3 days.  If you have an email nurturing queue set up to add teeth to your social marketing program, so much the better.  If you don’t, you might consider getting one set up.  It’s up to you to determine how engaged and interested your leads might be in your product.

5. Follow these leads through the funnel

Your leads may ultimately convert off an e-mail or a sales call, and it’s up to you as the Social Media Manager to make sure that multi-touch attribution is considered and counted toward your own social marketing KPI’s.  Most affiliate models credit the originator of a new lead with the sale; your company may have a last-touch model.  Whatever your revenue attribution model is, it’s important for everyone that might touch a customer to understand where that customer has been touched along the sales cycle.

6. Report up in a format that helps your boss understand what you’re doing in social marketing

Senior executives are busy, but they do like to know what’s going on in your social marketing world, especially when revenue is down.  You might not have to do a Power Point deck, but it never hurts.  (Well, the doing of those slides hurts those of us generally pained by such exercises, but they’re almost never a bad thing to have.)  Make your reporting consistent, both in format and in schedule.  Some things I’ve learned over the years are summarized for you, brave social marketing catalyst, in the somewhat crude but entirely heartfelt matrix below:

Executive Thumbs-Up Executive Thumbs-Down
Data visualization Vague explanations
Short bullet points Reading expository statements
Real numbers compared against KPI’s Made-up metrics without hard data
A traceable path to ROI ROI?  *Shrug*

 

Manage up and stay strong, fellow relationship marketers

At the end of the day, it’s important that your higher-ups understand that getting people to click on a Twitter link is easy, but unless you’re a known brand with lots of followers and you’re having a deadline-driven sale, chances are that your social marketing has more to do with awareness and nurturing relationships than closing the deal – and that’s as it should be.  Social marketing programs usually have an indirect but strategic connection to business goals, and proving your value doesn’t have to mean an immediate sale off a click.  However, you must understand and demonstrate how your social marketing encourages the prospective customer along the purchase funnel, and set up a flow that nurtures the customer relationship in a such a way to assure a sale, loyalty and – if you’re really lucky – advocacy on behalf of your brand.