Social media actions, and even plans can exist on their own, but without having an understanding of the larger marketing and business strategy behind them, they could be acting in vain. The questions emphasize the consumer perspective which is especially important in social media. How did the business get started? All marketing action, including social media, must help support business needs such as sales, average spend, market share, leads, contracts, awareness, customer satisfaction, retention, referrals, volunteer, or donations. To do this, brand building must start with specific objectives clearly defined. Then look for gaps in product lines and offerings from the company, but also its competitors. Identify several top competitors by market share and sales in same industry and/or by replacement products and services outside the category. Where is the target market active in social media? What about messages and content? Answering these questions will increase your brand knowledge and help improve your social media strategy.
To excel at social media, you must be a social media expert, right? While this is true in some respects, having narrow social media knowledge can also be limiting. A social media-only focus can actually hold back your social media strategy from reaching its full potential. You are building more than a social media presence — you are building a brand. Social media is not an end unto itself. Vanity metrics — followers and likes — may be early indicators of good content, but the true test of social media is business impact. Management will eventually stop paying for social media activity that doesn’t lead to bottom line action.
Despite the hype, spending on social media has failed to live up to expectations. In 2017, actual social media spending was nearly half of predicted levels. This stems from a continued struggle to show the real impact of social media and to integrate social media with wider marketing strategy. CMO Survey results indicate marketers still rank social media low in its contribution to company performance (46 percent) and low in how well it is integrated with the wider marketing strategy (59 percent). Social media actions, and even plans can exist on their own, but without having an understanding of the larger marketing and business strategy behind them, they could be acting in vain. Are you putting the social media cart before the brand strategy horse?
To help understand how social media fits into the bigger picture of marketing and business, consider the following key questions to help develop a basic brand understanding of your business or organization. The questions emphasize the consumer perspective which is especially important in social media. Answering these questions can help create a broader understanding of a business, its marketing and how social media contributes. They can help you gain more of a branding perspective, speak the language of business and move towards integration and improving ROI.
1. Why does the business exist?
Vision and mission matter to today’s consumers. To make money is not a sustainable answer for customers or employees. What does the company behind the product or service stand for, and where is it headed? This could be a focus on solving a greater problem or spreading a bigger message. Maybe the business supports a cause, community or the environment. Perhaps the mission is simply being the absolute best at something specific.
2. How did the business get started?
A brand’s backstory is important. People buy for rational and emotional reasons that can come from an organization’s origin story. Show the human side of the business starting in a garage, the founders investing their last five dollars or making a childhood dream come true. Perhaps an event put the cause on their heart, or something they…