Oftentimes, if not always, business decisions are based on how much money is being devoted to an asset and what that asset is returning to the company. After all, this is a business world we live in; it’s all about proving worth.
Ever since social marketing’s emergence, marketers have been faced with the same questions: What is a Facebook “fan’s” monetary value? Why should we be “tweeting,” “pinning,” or “liking?” While the answers to these questions (and associated dollar amounts) may not always be crystal clear, one thing is for certain: Social media is a booming digital marketing channel, and a digital data goldmine awaits marketers willing to dive in. In fact, survey results gathered at the end of 2012 show 65% of United States Internet users are active on social media channels.
While, at a broad level, it’s a great idea to start a social marketing strategy to establish virility or to engage with your targeted demographics and communities, social marketing software and proper analysis can bring your efforts to the next level, significant impacting ROI.
Making the Case for Social Marketing Software
A press release from the International Data Corporation (IDC) shows social software adoption will accelerate through 2016, growing from $0.8 billion in 2011 to $4.6 billion in 2016.
Michael Fauscette, group vice president for IDC’s Software Business Solutions Group, says, “It is critical for social software solutions to keep up with the pace of change to meet emerging business needs. IDC expects acquisition activity to continue apace and that social solutions will rapidly evolve and converge around business critical workflow. Vendors should change with these trends, and users should act in anticipation of them.”
The expected increase in social marketing software spending could be attributed to the current struggle amongst marketers to effectively measure social media’s effects on businesses. Survey results show 69% of social marketers are dissatisfied or somewhat satisfied with how they currently measure social media.
Social marketers trying to establish success need to follow a series of steps to get the most out of their social marketing software, and this begins with initial engagement with through social channels with customers and prospects.
Encourage Social Engagement Through All Channels
The first step toward leveraging social marketing software, and thereby impacting ROI, is to begin tracking social users as individuals. This means using collected data to transform the user from one of just a million in the social sea to an established individual within your database. This can be done in a number of ways, but permission is a key factor. Unwanted communication through social media can have negative effects much like spam emails or text messages.
Social platforms like Facebook make it possible for marketers to easily ask for permission to access social data, which can be a gold mine of valuable customer interests and a solid foundation for building out an accurate customer profile. Social log-in buttons, email opt-ins on social pages, or adding social profiles within brand emails are all great ways to begin social interaction with the customer.
Make Your Customers Feel Unique
As Internet users, smartphone owners, and mail subscribers, consumers are being inundated each day by messages from brands trying to get their attention. Let’s face it: We all like feeling unique, not just “part of the pack.” Social marketing software can play a major role in ensuring your customers feel like individuals, with features like personalized Facebook brand pages.
The responsibility of social marketing software is to turn anonymous fans of products or services into known, addressable individuals, which, in turn, could lead to long-term, profitable relationships. By pulling from the customer profiles that have been established through social log-ins, dynamic messages can be created.
For example, two Facebook users could be viewing the same page while seeing completely different content. One could be viewing a page with an up-sell offer based on a recent purchase or activity on the brand’s loyalty card, while another could simply see a reminder about a promotion the individual may have received through email.
Break Down the Silos and Integrate
Compiling data from all marketing channels to create singular, data-rich customer profiles is vital. Social media is one of the most opportunistic channels for marketers looking to learn about their customers on an individual basis, in result, marketers can create messages and campaigns unique to each, with a greater opportunity to convert.
Using data gathered through social media interactions and one-on-one conversations gives an all-access look into the customer’s interests and purchasing patterns. Integrate the data gathered through social software into the rest of the marketing software to enrich and expand customer data across all existing channels.
Using social data to learn about your customers is one of the best ways to improve conversions and, as a result, increase ROI. Social marketing software allows marketers to not only store extremely valuable social data, but turn this data into dynamic experiences across networks, such as unique pages or messages based on interactions and interests on social platforms.
The social marketing software industry is expected to expand through 2016 much in part to markers’ needs to better track social media’s effects on business. Marketers that leverage social marketing software the best will encourage social engagement, use social interactions to create a one-on-one experience with the brands, and leverage social data across all channels throughout the overarching marketing software in place.