Developing Effective Social Media Campaigns

http://us.123rf.com/400wm/400/400/cienpies/cienpies1211/cienpies121100179/16585173-people-profile-in-social-speech-bubble-shape-vector-file-layered-for-easy-manipulation-and-custom-co.jpgSome of my GSG colleagues and I recently attended the GSMI Social Media Strategies Summit in New York – a conference packed with speakers from various companies sharing their insights and strategies for implementing effective social media campaigns. The focal point for many presentations was the importance of social listening and understanding one’s audience. Both of these topics deeply resonated with my background in opinion research.

As one of the presenters, Peter Shankman, angel investor and founder of HARO, so rightly put it, “social media is not about you.” Social media is no longer a tool for conveying the message you want to convey. In order to be effective, companies must engage in social listening and develop campaigns based on what their followers want to hear. The most commonly used social listening tools, Sysomos and Radian6, allow social media strategists to observe trending topics and form relevant messages to capture their audience’s attention. If a brand wants to be successful, it must be willing to listen and develop a deep understanding of what people are saying about the brand and its competitors.

That being said, social listening has extended beyond simply listening to the conversation. It now requires the adoption of tools to personalize content and engagement strategies. For example, there are now tools available, such as the Engage Sciences platform, that track a person’s engagement with a brand campaign, uncover specific socio-demographic information, and provide information on how to engage that user moving forward. These tools ensure future campaign efforts are personalized and targeted for each of the brands’ followers. It is no longer about marketing to the masses – it is about marketing to the individual.

Data driven analytics allow marketing strategists to develop targeted campaigns based on the best performing content. Adam Hirsch, SVP of Emerging Media and Technology at Edelman Digital, remarked on one of the latest trends – multivariate optimization, which is used to test content and determine the best approach for future campaigns. Multivariate testing is a statistical procedure for data analysis, where multiple elements are tested at one time. The outcome of the multivariate test illustrates which concepts will produce the best results. For example, a brand could test headlines, images, body messaging, and other content variables – the result of the multivariate test would indicate the best combination of those elements based on the desired objective i.e. click through rates, shares, etc.

In addition to statistical analyses, extensive competitive analyses are also being conducted using social media data. Kaelin Zawilinski, Digital Editorial Manager for Better Homes and Gardens, revealed that her team dissects competitor performance data on a monthly basis to understand what campaigns worked, what did not work, and why. Compared to just a few years ago, social media analytics now allow for more predictive analyses resulting in more effective campaigns.

Often times marketing strategists have access to data, but are faced with the challenge of not knowing how to use and learn from the data. There are a number of steps teams can take to effectively use the data in developing their next campaign – however that is a blog post in and of itself (stay tuned).

A final note: Something that was not touched on enough during the conference is the rapidly-expanding conversation about the need to balance gathering insights with protecting consumers’ privacy. I predict that the intersection between privacy and social media will become a bigger issue in the future. This will require companies to be transparent and ensure followers’ privacy is being respected and protected.

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