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Vision, Purpose, Value Define New Social Media Marketing

Pivot Social Media Study

If you missed last year’s Pivot study it is worth a visit before firming up social media marketing plans for 4Q. Brian Solis just wrote an excellent mid-year post about the study: STUDY: Social Business Strategy – Vision, Purpose and Value drive a new era of digital engagement Both the study and Brian Solis’  midyear thoughts are worth careful reads.

Here are 3 Tips from the Pivot Team’s Social Media Study:

Tip #1: Content More Important Than Deals

Internet marketers understand their customers want more than the never ending SALE. The Pivot team saw “Exclusive Content” win the race moving “Customer Service” into the third position. Online marketers understand a basic web marketing truth – don’t engage when visitors are on your website and customer service is moot. “Exclusive content” is engaging.

We would add “exclusive User Generated Content (UGC)” too because a website’s willingness to ask for and reward user comments, reviews, votes and interaction provide clear reinforcement. “This business cares what I think,” is a signal websites want to send (B2B or B2C). Ubiquitous social share widgets, comment areas, curated user content and regular features created from UGC help send the “inclusive” message.

There is more to becoming a “social business” than great exclusive UGC. Make sure your website responds to emails and @yourtwittter inclusions, links and references. Fully half of your online strategy must respect the conversation your marketing is creating. Here are five ways to respect your social conversations:

Five Ways To Respect Social Conversations

  • Public Thank You or Favorite Those Who @Include Your Marketing.
  • Look to repay the mention by linking to something from the @mention soon.
  •  @Reply Thanks (remember to be specific since they may get many thanks in a day).
  • Note what @Mention care about & share related content when you see it.
  • Insight & Content More Important Than Deals Chart
Content More Important Than Deals from Pivot Team Social Media Study

Tip #2: Sales Matter, But Engagement Matters More

Engagement is key now, but we need new Key Performance Indicators to understand how engagement contributes to the bottom line. I touched on the kind of new KPIs needed to understand engagement in 5 New Content Marketing KPIs on ScentTrail Marketing. KPIs can vary by business segment, but each “social business” needs something more than Google’s engagement metrics (time on site, pages viewed, bounce rate, return visitors).

Pivot Social Media Study Sales vs. Engagement chart

Tip 3: Learn To Surf Social Media Marketing

One of the most interesting charts in the Pivot Team deck was the one showing fewer Internet marketers understand their social customer than last year. It is as if the more social marketing we create the less we understand our customers. One immediate fix is to ASK our social customers what they want. Social businesses learn to include customers in their decisions.

Every business process from what you buy or make to customer service improve with more customer feedback. Social media requires Internet marketers to KNOW less, do more and listen better (to eventually do less). The web’s feedback is immediate (if you know how to listen). Learning to create with open flexible programs, respond in real time to feedback and pivot on a dime defines our social, connected and FAST real time marketing times.

This holiday season try to KNOW less and LISTEN more. Here are some tips for learning to surf social media marketing:

Tips For Surfing Social Media Marketing

  • Listen more than you talk.
  • Curate User Generated Content on a regular schedule.
  • Ask for and reward feedback in multiple places and in a variety of ways.
  • Create a special group of customers and advocates, a “buzz team” to help create content, programs and offers.
  • Create MORE unique content than Sales.
  • Have the right conversation in the right place.

The last bullet can be tricky. There is no RIGHT answer for where you should have the many different kinds of customer conversations social media marketing creates such as:

  • Q&A.
  • Feedback.
  • Reviews.
  • How to support you on social.
  • Helpful ideas (expansion of existing content).
  • Customer Service problems / opportunities.
  • Partnership requests.
  • Press inquiries.
  • How to talk with a human.
  • Where to mail a package.
  • Where to send a fax.
  • Who to email for what.

There may be another 50 “communication” needs your website must define quickly. Most “contact us” pages include an address and a phone number. What about social media? What if I have a particular kind of communication? The more clear your “contact us” page is the more bonus points your website receives for being EASY, FAST and KIND.

Most important idea in the two charts below is when in doubt ASK. Social business is about having a conversation instead of a lecture, so when in doubt ASK:

Pivot Study Ask Customers When In Doubt Chart

Tip #4: Listen More Than You Talk On Social Media

Saved the hardest tip for Type A Internet marketers for last. Insure you LISTEN more than you TALK on social media. When someone @Replies you respond. When someone includes your online marketing in their recommendations say thanks. Build LISTENING into your marketing. Create regular features from User Generated Content (UGC). Publish a schedule for “Comment of the Month” or “Best Visitor Idea of the Week” because doing so communicates how much you care about and depend on feedback.

Pull content from gurus or avid brand advocates into your mix and push that link across your social properties. Share without a sense of consideration or share because content is GREAT and you aren’t worried about making sure you get your “just rewards” and your marketing is acting like an “Authority”. Authorities are Google’s magical hall monitors. Authorities earn more trust and receive more links. You want your website and Google Plus page to become authorities.

Think about the Commons and act for the greater good and your efforts will be rewarded. This is a big TRUST ME we realize, but what alternative is there? Continue to speak to yourself about yourself and your marketing will be on an island alone. Open up, listen and curate and you will become an authority. Becoming an authority on some content important to your brand should be on every Internet marketer’s To Do list. The fist step to become an authority is making sure your Internet marketing listens more than it talks.

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