Social media has established a prominent presence as form of marketing utilized by companies in countless industries worldwide. There are a variety of inherent factors that can prove to substantially increase a company's brand equity and visibility, or possibly victimize a company's reputation. The way in which a social media strategy is implemented and monitored can go a long way in determining its overall effectiveness.
Today's market features a wide array of consumers who have certain expectations of brands, products, and services. Discontented and social media savvy consumers are simply awaiting any opportunity to voice their opinions via Twitter, Facebook, and associated social channels. This makes it even more vital for a company to thoroughly research and consider what methods of social media are most appropriate and beneficial to their needs.
There are a number of steps that can be taken in order to avoid the aforementioned social media disasters that occur frequently in today's online marketplace. The first involves being realistic and properly understanding the relationship between conversations on social networks and other types of customer interactions. The next step includes utilizing a multi-channel strategy for customer sales and service. While social media is quite effective, interactions taking place at brick and mortar locations, on toll-free lines, and during online customer service chats are also very important in providing a comprehensive view of consumers' opinions. The following step focuses upon viewing your data and evaluating the technology that is currently in place in order to understand consumer behavior and the voice of the customer. The final measure that can be taken to avoid social media disaster is to have a designated employee that specializes in the customer experience delivery chain.
A company that does not currently possess a strong presence in social media does not have to fear making a huge investment in social media. There are a number of low cost options that can be practiced to make that initial leap into the realm of social media marketing. Starting a blog about relevant industry news, trends, or intriguing applications of your product line is an excellent way to embark into the world of social media. Creating a LinkedIn group, Facebook page, Twitter account, a customers-only discussion forum, or a YouTube channel can provide unique opportunities to present and inform users and fans alike of current company highlights and information.
The key to a company's successful use of social media is all about the results and the ability to properly measure them. Industry analysts are publicizing self-service business intelligence as the so-called 'golden child' of 2011. In terms of marketing, one area that could widely benefit from self-service BI is social marketing. There are a number of best-practices that can be employed in order to measure social media effectiveness using BI solutions. Mapping out the ideal marketing process flow that will best transform prospects into quality sales leads is an exceptional starting point. Another practice involves determining the online marketing initiatives and campaigns that will be implemented to attract and engage prospects. Selection of the appropriate outlets to use is quite important in safeguarding the effectiveness of these initiatives.
Each initiative that comprises the marketing plan must then have a pre-established audience profile, outreach, value proposition, and budget that you are willing to spend. The most appropriate set of keywords must then be identified to ensure optimal website content that is designed for those specific keywords. Identifying and adjusting paths on social networks, aligning the website experience with specific landing pages, and setting goals for desired actions are all best-practice techniques in order to ensure continuity. It is also vital to measure all of the initiatives that are being used at a given time to display your activity, outreach, engagement, and outcomes. An even more thorough approach includes tracking all the way through to incremental sales, revenue and gross profit that is derived directly from online marketing. Business intelligence allows insight at the appropriate times during your social media campaigns. It offers the ability to instantly alter campaign focus and direction. Social media marketing can greatly benefit from the use of business intelligence as marketers can produce and exhibit greater value in their social media outreach campaigns.