In 2018, a lot of us older millennials (some consider themselves Xennials, but I am not one of those people) who came of age in the digital revolution are now [gasp] parents ourselves. That’s right, the younger members of our generation and even those in the generation below us (Gen-Zers) are officially cooler than we are – they know about the latest slang, the coolest fashion trends and the hottest social media networks before we open our eyes in the morning after a not- long-enough night of much needed sleep!
But just like the social media networks that I ‘grew up using’ (cough, Facebook, cough), I refuse to proclaim that I’m outdated and believe that I still have many relevant messages for those older generations in the C-suite, in-house or at those large, global monolithic agencies that still haven’t gotten the picture.Guys, after 10+ years, I will let you in on a little secret…social media marketing is here to stay. However, let me be clear as day, it should NEVER be siloed. I’m not sure if everyone’s gotten the message since it seems like every time I turnaround another social media agency opens its doors, and I often hear about full-service ad agencies who are still creating “social media departments” instead of ensuring each of its creative teams understands how, why and when to use these networks.
Here are 3 reasons to pull your business out of the stone age stat and into the Future of PR where social media isn’t siloed:
1. Say it with me, “INTEGRATION.”:
ICYMI: over 60% of a consumer’s buyer journey happens digitally, and it takes about 7 to 13 touchpoints to land a qualified sales lead. Those two stats combined with daily changes to social media algorithms + ever-increasing pressure to provide direct ROI from PR and marketing efforts + shrinking newsrooms = a unique environment in which a few tweets, Instagram posts or snaps won’t move the needle on their own. So, for that CMO who thinks that only investing in a few LinkedIn ads pushing your article in USA Today in Q2 will help you to hit your sales goals. BREAKING NEWS – it won’t. What will help you hit your goals is a complete communications evolution; from creating brand awareness and buzz of a headline all the way to delivering nurtured, qualified leads from that very article to the sales team.
Pop Quiz: You have B2B buyer A who clicks on a Facebook ad that brings him/her to a contact page. The customer has never heard of your company before. B2B buyer B sees a top tier vertical trade publication article that your solution is mentioned and hyperlinked in. He visits your website and decides to follow your LinkedIn page and sign up for your monthly newsletter. A week later he receives his first newsletter and then stumbles upon a LinkedIn ad that you guys are running promoting a special offer on the solution. Which one is more likely to become a sales lead? (hint: It’s buyer B)
2. Do you Know What Your Overarching Business Goals and Objectives Are?
When it comes to social media marketing, education and expectation are Just as important as integration. Once you fit your social media campaign into the bigger integrated picture, you will need to ensure that the c-suite can translate social media success as it relates to the overall business strategy. This piece absolutely cannot be accomplished if you live in a silo’d world simply reporting follower increases and engagement percentages. Just as you would set clear budget, goals, objectives and expectations for how, say, a television commercial will affect sales, so should you set these quantifiable metrics for social media marketing campaigns. Knowing the measurable objectives, or analytics of your social media network(s) and how they align with your overarching business goals is a must. These are the pillars of your reporting success story.
3. Learning Never Ceases
It’s one of the spirited ideals that the Uncommon Crew eats, sleeps and breaths each day, but it’s also something that should become an overall social media mantra to ANYONE who dabbles in these channels. In fact, according to this Meltwater post, in April 2018 alone there were at least 9 big updates to popular social media networks that would change the way to you do business on them successfully. There is no other medium in the world that changes as quickly and sporadically as social media networks. You’ve got to be an extremely curious and passionate practitioner in order to keep up. So, what do you do if you don’t have time? Phone a friend! That’s the beauty of teamwork, right? And it’s why at Alloy we each come to the table with a different skillset that can combine, and like captain planet, come together to successfully implement a digital marketing campaign that really does #DriveLeads for a business.
The conversation of how to avoid silo-ing social media at agencies and even in-house will continue for a while, and it will be interesting to see where we land with this in 10 years. It can often be a chicken or the egg conversation. Does it start with how we are educating marketing and communications majors in college? Or, could it simply be an organizational structuring issue –dividing teams to avoid groupthink? Honestly, it’s probably a little bit of both. Do you have other innovative ideas, best practices or insightful thoughts about how to incorporate social media marketing into the Future of PR? Contribute to the movement!