And the winner is... Lilach Bullock!
Author: Lilach Bullock, Social Champion
Congratulations Lilach Bullock, our winning Social Champion! It was a close call, but Lilach won by the number of views and shares of her blogs, the number of views and ‘supports’ for her microsite profile, her Google Hangout performance and her all round social influence.
We’d like to say a big thank you to all the Social Champions - Dick Raman, Gregory Pouy, Ira Reckenthäler, Steve Welsh and Henrik Sandberg - for taking part. We learned a lot from everyone - check out all the Social Champions in action in our video!
Here, Lilach shares her insight on the last four months and on the results of our report.
Over the last four months I’ve been honored to be part of the #TheSocialInfluencer, initiated by Oracle. It’s been an interesting and exciting journey where we have discussed four core pillars of social media best practice: Listen, Create, Publish and Influence.
It was also great to see the results of what European marketing professionals really think about social media marketing. Oracle’s report, which polled 530 of Europe’s marketers on their confidence levels in various social media strategic scenarios, provides some thought-provoking insights.
Let’s dive into the findings.
Many businesses nowadays aren’t able to deliver to their target audience what they want or need. The main reason for that is the fact that they are not listening to them.
This is sadly not a surprise, especially when you consider that nearly 10% of European marketers said using social media data for customer insights is “not important”.
Brands are missing out on fundamental data that would help improve customer acquisition, retention and advocacy. Not only that, but many of them don’t understand the data and aren’t sure what (or how) they should measure.
Data aside, businesses need to understand the value of listening (rather than simply broadcasting and “selling” to their customers).
As the report highlights, the four key aspects of the ‘Listen’ phase are:
- Defining your target audience.
- Engaging in social listening.
- Putting the correct levels of resources and investment in place.
- Engaging with both internet and external influencers to aid in social media campaigns.
It was reassuring to see that companies understand that social media must be treated as a vital part of a communications strategy. However, it was disappointing to learn that the UK had the lowest percentage of respondents who thought that adapting content across channels was important.
Nevertheless, it was comforting that respondents agreed that “salesy” conversations should be avoided where possible in any social media messaging. Brands struggle to get this balance right but the 70/30 approach is a useful rule of thumb.
The four primary findings that came out of the ‘Create’ phase are:
- Creating appropriately targeted content for your social media strategy.
- Putting in place the right team for the creation of suitable content.
- Choosing the right content for the right social media platform.
- Ensuring that the content both informs and entertains, while avoiding “sales” talk.
It was disappointing to see the UK lagging behind (at 78%) when it comes to knowing when to post social content. The Netherlands is taking the lead with 93% of the respondents either “confident” or “very confident” in this area.
On a positive note, it’s promising to see that respondents see the value in responding and engaging appropriately in a timely manner.
As we all know, mobile viewing is increasing and it’s great to see that content publishers are considering the mobile viewing experience when publishing content. Mobile optimisation is key for any kind of content – think about it from the reader’s perspective, not yours.
The findings highlighted the four main points as:
- Tailoring social media posts for targeted audiences.
- Researching the best publishing times depending on the social platform.
- Responding in a timely manner to customer queries or complaints.
- Investing in and deploying software-based automation tools to aid in publishing content and tracking key metrics.
The question of how to measure social media ROI is common and often asked by brands. The findings, for me, were slightly unexpected: one would imagine that “Very Important” would be significantly higher than “Important” for this metric.
However only 33% felt that it was “very important”, whereas just over 50% felt it was “important”. Unsurprisingly, over a quarter of those who took part said they were “not confident” about measuring ROI. This is possibly a combination of a couple of factors: social media marketers ignoring the importance of ROI and marketers not able to measure or demonstrate - often because they don’t know how to.
The fundamental insights from the ‘Influence’ phase of the research are:
The future of social media marketing
- Creating consistent brand messaging across all channels.
- Measuring the impact of social media in lead generation.
- Calculating and demonstrating social media ROI.
- Involving all departments from Customer Services and Sales, through to Product Management and Human Resources.
Clearly we still have a long way to go with getting the fundamentals right, but the findings are encouraging.
The four pillars – Listen, Create, Publish and Influence – play an instrumental role within social media marketing. Ignore them at your peril.
We need to be listening to our audience; not selling to them. We need to know how to measure what is working and what’s not. We need to be able to understand the data that is now so readily available to us. We need to use that data to our advantage and stay one step ahead of our customers. We need to demonstrate an ROI – this is vital and should be an essential part of all social media marketing. Social media is constantly evolving; we need to adapt to survive in the online world.
Thanks for being part of #TheSocialInfluencer! Download #TheSocialInfluencer Report “Your Guide to Becoming a True Social Influencer