As a digital marketer, I’m constantly thinking about how brands are providing their customers with the best possible experience on digital channels, whether that be on social media, through chat tools, on popular e-commerce websites, or their own branded website. To that end, a few of the trends I’m seeing that will inform my 2017 strategy are as follows:
Social media data is no longer the secondary dataset
Social media had been growing in prominence for years. You’ve heard that before, right? After the Arab Spring, social media was recognized as a powerful means to reach and connect with one another. In fact, on a recent webcast I did with VaynerMedia and Marketing Land, Matt Sitomer described social media as just "the media." Want more proof? Take the recent U.S. presidential election. The campaign was waged as much on social media as anywhere else. And like political strategists, brands can no longer treat social media as an afterthought or an extension of their traditional marketing campaigns. Many are questioning their data sources as the election polls proved typical datasets may be disastrously inaccurate. There’s no denying that social can be a powerful means for brands to monitor consumer sentiment and perceptions in real time and gather feedback on products, services, and campaigns. But they need to engage in a meaningful way, and not just broadcast. To that end, we expect to see social media management tools and analytics become much more integrated throughout marketing departments in 2017, benefiting not just the organization but the customer as well. While there is a fine line between creepy and targeted, research continues to show that consumers expect brands to recognize them as the same individual irrespective of channel. And, with consumers seeing social media as a go-to channel for everything, I expect brands to realize that customer support over social and the seamless integration of social data throughout the business will be essential in 2017.
2016’s most hyped: AI
A few big companies said it, and I see it on brands’ sites that have nothing to do with AI but are seemingly trying to catch a wave of relevancy and SEO. In 2017, we anticipate more brands will investigate and integrate with automation. But despite the buzz about one of 2016’s most hyped topics, the code of how to use this and when to deploy a bot vs. human, for example, will not get cracked. And that’s a good thing, for now. Many customers will still be left dissatisfied with these automated experiences. This will be similar to when customer service call centers moved almost entirely to automated systems and the brands that ended up benefiting were those that offered a human on the other end of the line. While there are some cost and resource efficiencies to deploying automation like bots, the key will be balancing this with the human touch.
Social steps up for the business: The ‘Amazonification’ of social commerce
Another trend we expect to have larger significance in 2017 is what we like to call the "Amazonification" of social commerce. As brands recognize the power behind social media, a greater emphasis will be placed on successfully integrating social and commerce. This means we’ll see more customer reviews and product information sitting directly alongside the shopping cart and social and commerce becoming completely integrated. People will use their own social network as a proxy to purchase decisions, and the brands better get on that or risk losing a whole generation of customers.
This article originally appeared in PR Week.
... View more
Social is the place to be to connect with customers, share your brand’s story, and deliver exceptional customer service. We know that to sell a social strategy in your organization, it helps to be able to show how others are using it to drive success.
In this year’s edition of our Customer Success stories, we’re featuring 13 amazing brands who are driving exceptional results in social marketing, community, and social customer service. They’re taking social to the next level, streamlining marketing and customer service, and truly delivering on real business results.
In this social media success eBook, you’ll learn:
How StubHub drove a 300% improvement in response time
How Covered California experienced a 250% increase in positive sentiment conversion
How StarHub generated S$2.8M in sales revenue through community
How Alteryx improved social marketing efficiency and a faster speed to market
And many more stats and strategies that prove social ROI for brands just like yours.
I invite you to download the eBook and see for yourself what is possible when you put social strategy front and center in your organization.
Get the eBook now
... View more
Planning for SXSW 2017 is well underway! SXSW is known for bringing the best and brightest industry leaders from around the world to discuss a variety of topics, ranging from brand marketing to tech to social impact. This year’s lineup includes NBA legend “Magic” Johnson, New York Times author Dan Lyons and internationally renowned TV producer Adam Savage. On the Lithium end, we’re excited to have three sessions up for consideration in this year’s PanelPicker by our very own @MikeW and @KatyK.
Let Your Big Data Drive Your Next Big Win: Data science is a business discipline that’s challenging to understand. At the same time, the importance of big data to business is undeniable. How can you make the most of big data and leverage data science? Hear from Lithium’s chief data scientist, @MikeW.
Science & Social: The Internet's New Power Couple: Social is an increasingly powerful tool, but there’s also a science behind it. What’s the relationship between the two, and how can you benefit from this power couple? Learn from @MikeW on how brands can use science to reach and acquire customers effectively.
Throw a Badass Customer Conference: Customer conferences are the perfect opportunity to launch products, build relationships and attract new customers. How do you bring that conference experience year-round? What tactics and elements make a successful conference? @KatyK explores how to bring relationships beyond an event.
Interested in these sessions? Help us get to SXSW by casting your vote! If you have sessions in the PanelPicker, let us know so we can return the favor.
Here’s how to vote:
Visit the 2017 PanelPicker at http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/
Create an account
Review our sessions and vote by hitting the ‘thumbs up’ icon:
Remember to comment and Tweet your support!
PanelPicker voting will close on Friday, September 2 .
Will you be at SXSW? Do you have sessions submitted in the PanelPicker? Let us know in the comments below.
... View more
@geoffreyamoore kicked off day 2 of #LiNC16 quoting Aristotle: “Man is by nature a social animal.”
Indeed, we are. Not only has the advent of social media changed the way we interact with the world around us – via a very real sense of collaboration at scale – but it also has disrupted the ethos surrounding how we innovate, essentially transforming what was once either scarce or expensive and making it readily available and cheap. As Moore so aptly put it, “Digital is changing our design rules.”
But getting back to Aristotle. When we think of man as a truly social being, we need to think a bit more about what that actually means. Moore explained that “our very identity is socially constructed,” from language to culture to beliefs to values. In essence, “it’s how we create meaning for ourselves and the world around us,” Moore continued, “our core is social.” So taking this into consideration, you would think that the rabid proliferation of social-driven experiences would amplify our social essence. Though, Moore warns that even though the “digital world extends the reach of our relationships, it also has a way of trivializing their impact.” In other words, social media has turned human actions into simple transactions. The infamous “like” is now just a commodity.
Moore doesn’t believe it has to be this way. While it may be easy to simply accept social as the great “commoditizer” (so to speak) of human life, as marketers we have a responsibility to not let that happen. In fact, we need to strive for the opposite. Moore encouraged, “We need to go deeper with social: real meaning, real conversation, real relationships.” Reading between the lines, that basically means we need to use social media for what it was designed to do: to be social. Though, in doing so, we need to be mindful of one very important thing: “Although social is an inherently human activity that can be approximated by algorithms, it cannot be replaced by algorithms.”
So what do people need from social? Community? Help on demand? Great content? Opportunity to help others? Creating shared purpose? All of the above (and more!). The opportunity associated with social is truly remarkable, only if we leverage it to its full potential. But even this is a double-edged sword because, at the end of the day, we need to make it fit within the wholly transactional world in which we live. So Moore suggested that we frame our approach to social in terms of two levers: Performance and Power.
“Performance” is all about how we use social to build community (“acquire”) and then “monetize” the community in some way. However, Moore warned that social experiences appearing to be too transactional in nature can cause wear out in the community, quickly making people lose interest in what your brand has to say or offer. That’s where the “Power” levers come into play. Once you build community, it’s important to “engage” them in your message or value proposition and then eventually – and yes, this part can take some time – “enlist” to be an advocate or even give back to the community. It’s really about striking a fine balance – which is something that doesn’t necessarily just happen overnight. And that’s just scratching the surface.
Check out #LiNC16 via Twitter and Instagram to see what else Geoffrey Moore had to say – and to see what else happened during last week’s conference.
... View more
@nate_elliott kicked off his breakout session at #LiNC16 last week with a pretty bold statement: “The rise of social has fundamentally changed advertising as we know it.” The only problem is, he continued, “Brands aren’t sure if their social marketing efforts are effective.”
And therein lies what Elliott calls the “Social Marketing Paradox.” Brands know they need to be actively a part of the social ecosystem – because that’s where more and more people are flocking every day – but they just aren’t sure if all of their hard word and effort is actually paying off. Especially given that engagement can be as low as 0.01%! Though, Elliott underscored that “engagement is the primary goal.” Brands want to build a new kind of relationship with their customers, and they are looking to social as the place where that can happen (even amidst dropping engagement rates across all of the big social networks).
To overcome this hurdle, Elliott explained that brands need to put the right social marketing tools in place to help streamline and optimize their social efforts as much as possible. Long gone are the “post and pray” days when brands could simply throw something up into their social channels in hopes that organic traffic would follow. Today, people’s attention spans are being pulled in every direction. So marketers need to become much savvier at understanding what their customers want and when they are likely going to be most receptive to brand messages. This is where powerful social marketing tools come into play.
So what should marketers look for in these tools? Here’s Elliott’s advice:
They must offer functionality not available on social networks (scheduling posts in advance or cross-posting across various networks)
They must save time and effort (organic targeting, post tagging, accessibility via mobile apps)
They must mitigate security and risk (the ability to manage permissions and create review-and-approval on posts before being published)
They must help brands perform better (optimizing for trending audience topics, time of day analysis)
To wrap things up, Elliott explained that brands aren’t leveraging their communities to their full potential. They need to get in the mindset of not only publishing great content that engages their customers, but also, and more importantly, responding to their wants, needs, and expectations in real-time. Doing so, as Elliott put it, will move us away from counting “likes” and “share” as our primary engagement metrics and, instead, get us to focus on measuring “clicks” and “conversions” – more clear indicators of just how successful our social marketing efforts truly are.
Weren’t able to make the conference last week? Follow our updates on Twitter and Instagram via #LiNC16 to see what you missed.
... View more