We all know social media is a well-established part of the marketing mix, and the latest estimates are that it makes up a quarter of total marketing budgets. There’s a growing body of evidence, however, that most marketing execs still aren’t optimising their social channels. Many are effectively using it as a digital ‘loud hailer’ to broadcast messages, or simply falling back on the knee-jerk reaction of leaping onto the latest hashtag.
But where did this persistent perception that social is primarily a broadcast medium even come from? That’s the question The Drum Network’s editor Chris Sutcliffe put to Mark Abrami, the principal consultant at social media management platform Hootsuite, who admitted: “I often say that social media’s worst enemies, or social marketers’ worst enemies, are social marketers themselves. We haven't done a good job over the very short history of social media in terms of really delivering what the purpose is.”
And that’s where Hootsuite’s new Social Transformation Report comes in. More than a snapshot, the survey (produced in partnership with Altimeter Group) was conducted using extensive in-depth interviews, including comparative analysis, with over 2,000 market leaders across organisations that already invest heavily in social. And it was armed with these findings that Abrami and Hootsuite’s industry marketing strategist Dominique Elsey took Sutcliffe and The Drum Digital Summit through an in-depth presentation, exploring the ways in which this new data can be used to devise sophisticated social strategies.
The panel discussed how social media drives maximised value within organisations in three distinct ways. One, through deeper relationships. Two, in brand values and operational efficiencies. And three, with digital culture shifts. Together, these can provide a template and an opportunity for all organisations to demonstrate genuine brand value across appropriate social platforms.
Click here to register for the full, free re-broadcast of this invaluable panel from The Drum Digital Summit.
Watchouts to watch out for
Areas where attention is needed in order to avoid crucial pitfalls have also been highlighted by the panel and the report, including incomplete data in relationships, selling social short and social being stuck in marcoms tactics.
Following Abrami and Elsey presenting the Social Transformation Report, Sutcliffe led the panel on a discussion around social media’s unique power to help organisations build stronger relationships. Areas touched on were avoiding disconnected brand experiences, putting organic learnings into paid social and creating custom audiences.
Sutcliffe then asked Elsey for one thing that social media can enable as we move into 2021. She was very candid and enlightening, saying: “I don't think the social channels would like me saying it, but I think people need to stop posting. I think too often we jump on and post about what we're feeling. And we need to stop posting for a moment and just listen.”
Abrami was similarly asked what he would recommend we focus on going into 2021. He expanded on Dominique’s thinking, saying: “Take that moment to look at what you were doing on social media, and almost ask yourself the question, ‘is it still relevant?’ Is it relevant for your audiences? For your customers? Is it relevant for your business objectives?”
The Hootsuite strategist wrapped the panel discussion by again stressing the importance of having a joined-up plan in place – one that truly resonates with customers and matches their needs, to ensure every social media initiative delivers against business objectives.
It’s been a dark year. Hootsuite's 2021 social trends will light the way forward. In their fifth annual Social Trends Report, Hootsuite surveyed more than 11,000 leading marketers and executives to find out the most effective ways to boost traffic, get leads, and bring new customers in the door in 2021.