If there’s one thing social media professionals are tired of, it’s the implication that social media is a less important part of the marketing mix. One that exists in a silo and doesn’t work with other strategies—and shouldn’t have to. It exists all on its own. In a world of digital connectivity, that’s a misconception we need to retire.
Consumers are more connected than ever; to brands, to products and to each other. It’s tempting to assume that’s all happening in a silo of social media, but it’s not. Social isn’t confined to platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram anymore.
At this point in our digital life, a variety of sites that aren’t considered social media have a social aspect built in. Shama Hyder, entrepreneur and social media expert, points out that commerce sites like Amazon encourage connectivity through reviews, for example.
This new way of connecting online highlights something very important that many marketers miss. Social media doesn’t exist in isolation. “Social” is an ever-expanding, ever-changing medium. Smart marketers must adapt in order to use it strategically.
Misunderstanding the modern consumer is only one problem that results when companies silo social media away from other marketing strategies. When marketers examine ROI on social media alone, it can seem a worthless endeavor. After all, attribution is already difficult in marketing. A digital aspect only makes it more difficult.
Most social media marketers use things such as key performance indicators (KPIs) including likes, comments and shares to measure the impact of social media on their audiences. But, social engagement doesn’t tell us the whole story. That’s why social media is so much more powerful when it’s viewed as part of a larger marketing strategy.
Rather than trying to calculate the exact ROI of a post like or a retweet in isolation, consider how social media can impact the customer journey. How does social media integrate with your email marketing, blogging, website efforts, paid campaigns and direct marketing? That’s information you need in order to develop KPIs for your social media.
When you have that information, you can identify where social media fits into the customer journey and how that affects what your goals on different platforms should be: using social media at the beginning of the journey to create awareness for your brand; measuring engagement. How many people are connecting with your content? Want to use social to trigger conversions later in the funnel or journey? Consider developing social lead magnets that drive your users from your Facebook page to your blog and then to download a great and useful piece of content, such as a catalog.
In the fast-paced world of marketing, it’s tempting to section off parts of a strategic plan and let items like social media play out on their own. Take a breath. Reevaluate. And stop thinking of social as separate. It integrates into every smart, strategic marketing mix/plan.